Catch our latest webinar on-demand and learn how contextual marketing is taking campuses by storm. Watch now
native logo

Why should you market to students?

At native, we specialise in connecting students with brands they’ll love in an environment where they’re most receptive: on campus. If you’re a brand in this situation, you might be thinking: why students? Today, we plan to answer that question.

Today’s students are part of Gen Z

As a marketer, you’ve likely heard a lot about the value of Gen Z. As the up-and-coming generation on the brink of reaching financial independence, they should be on everyone’s radar. But what about Gen Z university students?

When a new generation goes to university, they create a student culture unlike anything we’ve seen before, and Gen Z students exist at a really interesting intersection. As digital natives, Gen Z students spend a huge amount of time on their phones – on average, 7.1 hours per day – which has re-rendered the student experience in a digital landscape.

Gen Zs are known for living by their values, and this manifests in student behaviour, too. 75% are making an active effort to live sustainably, and our research shows that they are motivated by a wide range of causes: most prominently, healthcare, the environment and equality. So if you invest in them, you’ll be investing in the future.

Finally, Gen Z students are hardworking. Just over half (50%) of 18-24-year-old students have a job, while a further 27% say that they are looking for one, and 9% have a business or side-hustle on the go. Gen Z students are well on their way to financial independence – and at a stage of life where they’re ready to build up brand loyalties.

Studies show students are more receptive

Picture this: you’ve just arrived at your university halls as a first-year student. You have a whole flat full of new people to meet, at least three years of study to look forward to, a new city to explore, and a new digital world at your fingertips. Everyday life is about to change – so it makes sense that you’d be more receptive to new ideas.

The 1,000 students native surveyed said they spent an average of 16.3 hours per week on campus. That gives brands almost 2 working days to interact with them throughout the week via a variety of experiential touchpoints. First years spend significantly more hours on campus than other year groups – an average of 25.2 hours – so it’s definitely worth tapping into that Freshers hype. And with 66% of students saying they like to engage with brands face-to-face, it’s an unmissable opportunity.

Of course, when students start university, their digital world expands along with their IRL one – their social networks will be reshaped, and the brands and influencers they follow will change in line with their new lifestyles. The students we surveyed spend an average of 4.8 hours on social – and brands play a huge part in their experience. 81% say that they follow brands, 71% use social media to discover new brands, and 41% are actually shopping on social media. It’s clear that students are receptive wherever they are – online or IRL.

Students graduate into lifelong customers

You could say that students are at the very start of the rest of their lives – for the younger, full-time undergraduates, they’ve made a huge commitment; 70% move out of their family home for university. Postgraduates from older demographics are also branching out into new walks of life – maybe kicking off the next stage of their careers, or pivoting into a new one. Regardless of stage or age, these students are investing in their futures – and it’s an investment that pays off. Government research shows that graduates earn, on average, £10,000 per year more than non-graduates.

If you’re able to engage with the student demographic while they’re still at university, your brand could become a lifelong staple that they return to again and again – by winning their loyalty now, you’ll be more likely to secure a place in their futures.

At native, we’re in the business of connecting brands with students – and we’d love to do the same for you. To discuss your student marketing journey, book a meeting today.