Online Ads Influence Collegiate Set

Higher education students are motivated by online advertising, and many close to graduating rely on additional channels to set up a post-grad life. Two reports, the “2006 Online Advertising: Habits” survey released by Experience, Inc. And Y2M‘s fifth annual college graduate lifestyle survey both detail online trends among college students and graduates.

Web adoption occurs early for college students, though Web habits are still being established. Over half (53 percent) spend up to two hours to research prior to purchasing a product. Seventeen percent spend up to five hours.

The time spent conducting research includes, in part, exposure to online advertising. Over half (52 percent) purchased a product or service based on viewing an online ad. Ads on the Web are viewed by 34 percent of respondents in the Experience study as the most influential channel of information when learning about a particular product or service.

Targeting is necessary to market to this demographic. If a sponsored link is relevant to the content on the page, 41 percent of respondents will pay attention. Thirty-four percent react to a promotion if there’s some value in it for them. Seventeen percent say banner ad personalization based on their profile or online behavior makes them more likely to respond.

Recent grads look to the Web to manage more aspects of their lives. The Y2M report finds 80 percent of respondents use the Web for purchases, up from 21 percent in an early study. Nearly half regularly download music, and 71 percent are active users of online banking.

This group has multiple email addresses. Sixty-eight percent of recent graduates use multiple email addresses, and 42 percent retain their .edu account. Graduates prefer to their alma mater newsletter in email form (73 percent). Already, 78 percent read news online; up 20 percent from an earlier report.

Networking through alumni channels is shifting to use of social networks. Socializing through alumni groups fell from 70 percent in 2003 to just 30 percent. In that time, visits to social networking sites rose 30 percent.

Experience conducted a survey on January 26, 2006 consisting of students who opted-in to receive communications the firm, 350 completed the survey. Y2M conducts an annual survey of recently graduated students through a panel of college students and recent graduates.

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