What University Students Want in Ads

As a college student, I often receive emails from fellow students and alumni asking for survey participants (which I sometimes volunteer for if there is an incentive, such as being entered in a raffle). Rarely do I actually ever hear about the results of these surveys. However, I recently received an email from the CEO of a company whose survey I took. He sent the participants a link with an infographic sharing the results of the survey, which focused on social media, advertising, and how people connect with their products. A total of 500 university students participated.*

I appreciated receiving this infographic, as it allowed me not only to see the results of something I partook in, but also because the statistics speak strongly about what consumers like and dislike. When asked what word best describes advertising, 92% responded with “annoying/deceitful,” while only 8% responded with “helpful.”


The infographic provides a great deal of information, but here are some of the key conclusions:

  • People don’t want to be interrupted, so ads need to have real value to users.
  • Advertisers should not be afraid to give people more control (77% of respondents said they wanted more control over the ads they see!). They will respond best if you do so.
  • It’s important to find places other than existing social apps to connect people with their favorite products. The survey revealed that most people are not using social apps to connect with businesses.

Though it is indeed important to look to advertise in places other than social media (because there is a likelihood that users won’t respond), this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t advertise on social media at all. There is still much success to be found in doing so, especially through Facebook. Facebook strives to give users control over what they see through their ad preferences tool.

The company whose survey I participated in, R3lish, believes that a user should benefit from advertising and be in control of what others know about him or her. The app itself allows you to learn the story behind a product or restaurant through short videos, but the blog focuses on advertising news and trends. The blog is a great way to stay up to date on news and read insightful posts about the world of advertising.


*It’s also important to note that this survey targets only a specific audience: university students. It doesn’t necessarily apply to all age groups, but it is significant that 87% of people ages 18-29 and 73% of people ages 30-49 use Facebook (see these statistics and demographical statistics of other social media sites here).

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply