Acumen Insights

Mobile Ads Go to College

Research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows college students are quite open to mobile advertising. Compared with 22 percent of the general population, 28 percent of college students say mobile is the platform with the most relevant ads and 55 percent say they take some action when seeing a relevant ad on their mobile device. But tapping the ad is not the most common type of interaction; while students are less likely to actually tap the ad than all other smartphone users (12 percent versus 16 percent), they are significantly more likely to search for information (13 percent versus 10 percent) and screenshot ads (13 percent versus 7 percent). Additionally, college students are significantly more likely to buy products or services on their smartphone than other smartphone users (73 percent versus 66 percent), and 23 percent of students say they often use their smartphone for online purchases.

There are some notable differences in the ways male and female students approach mobile ads. For example, male students are more likely than female students (33 percent versus 24 percent) to cite mobile as the platform with the most relevant ads, and male students are much more likely to trust brand-sponsored content than female students (38 percent versus 25 percent). Furthermore, about 22 percent of female students say they’ve interacted with mobile ads more than 10 times in the past week, compared to just 14 percent of male students. Finally, about 19 percent of female students say they most often notice tailored ads in social media versus roughly 12 percent of male students.