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Three best practice tips for display advertising to students


How to make young people pick your brand: part 4

The amount of internet users that are installing ad-blocking software has picked up momentum and thrown a spanner in the works for marketers, particularly for those looking to target students. It’s no secret that young people are the driving force behind the rise of ad-blockers in the UK. Research by Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that 47% of young people used ad blocking software. [1] However, this figure rises to even greater levels when the lense is focused on students.

With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that marketers can sometimes brush display ads aside in favour of new and more exciting communication options. So, let’s call a spade a spade here – display advertising has changed, but it shouldn’t be sidelined. Instead, marketers need to take a different approach and understand how students want to be communicated with.

We’ve created an infographic to highlight student opinions on ad-blocking software. The aim of the survey was to discover how brands can improve their methods in advertising to this demographic. You can download the infographic here.

Based on these findings, here are our three top tips on display advertising to help brands create campaigns that will be more attractive to students, increase brand awareness and improve click-through rates:


1. Be relevant

Our research showed that 63% of students found that advertisements online weren’t relevant to their interests. The place where students buy a product must be appropriate and convenient for the customer. It’s easy to forget with online marketing that ‘place’ is still of equal importance to as if you were promoting an actual product within a shop. For example, you wouldn’t sell bacon at a vegan food store – it’s completely irrelevant to the interests of that consumer and so they’re not going to buy it! The same would apply online.

By being relevant, you’re also more likely to be added to the student’s whitelist and mitigate the effects of ad-blockers, because they won’t find your display advert invasive.


2. Be stylish

You’ve got their attention, now you need to ensure that your ad doesn’t get drowned out by the website noise. Consider high contract imagery to make the ad eye-catching and stand out from the crowd.

The branding (colours, fonts and voice) needs to be consistent with your website and other collateral. Otherwise, how is the student supposed to associate the display advertisement with your brand? It’s an obvious one, but be sure to include your brand logo!


3. Be clear

Finally, include a clear call-to-action (CTA) so that the student knows how to behave and to entice more clicks through to your website. Include words that encourage the reader to take an immediate action, such as “Download now” or “Click here”. Your CTA should be easy to spot on a website and placed where the action is most likely to be taken.

Brands that are using digital display adverts to increase the amount of students clicking through to their website must also remember to include a relevant landing page. It’s all very well having an eye-catching CTA button, but if when the student arrives at your website it isn’t clear from here what they are meant to do, then they will simply click off just as quickly. For example, if you’re offering a student discount, take them to that landing page, rather than the homepage.

It’s easy to get swayed by the ‘bad reputation’ that display ads seemed to have adopted as a result of the media coverage around ad-blockers. However, just like any marketing campaign, the success of display ads comes down to creative quality. Instead of boycotting the channel completely, brands should see the increased regulations as an opportunity to improve their standards in the way that they communicate with students. They've expressed their opinions on the subject - now is the time for brands to react to it.



BigChoice Group gives three top tips on display advertising that will help brands create campaigns that will be more attractive to students, increase brand awareness and improve click-through rates.