College Students Apathetic About Brands’ Social Media Marketing Efforts

August 28, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Digital | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

Concentric-College-Student-Attitudes-Brands-on-Social-Aug2013While nearly all college students have a Facebook account and three-quarters a Twitter account, roughly 4 in 10 don’t like to follow brands and about 1 in 8 don’t believe brands should be on social media at all, according to [download page] survey results from Concentric Marketing. Those are just a couple of the surprising results contained in the study, which also finds that only a fraction of students feel that ads need to be more interactive.

Turning to the social media results, the study reveals that close to 7 in 10 respondents follow 3 or fewer brands across all social media. About 8% of respondents said they often start to follow brands but then unfollow them, while 7% reported having followed brands but that there are now too many brands on social media.

The chief complaint about brands’ efforts on social media? That they’re posting too often, a problem cited by more than half of the respondents. In terms of posting frequency, the majority felt that once a week or less was enough. (For what it’s worth, a recent study found that most top brands are tweeting at least 30 times a week.)

Students’ apathy towards social media marketing is surprising – as are their attitudes towards advertising media. Despite a pervasive notion that these “digital natives” are all about the online space, the study found that they tend to view traditional media such as TV and print as “entertaining” and “informative,” while characterizing online and mobile media as “annoying” and “un-engaging.” (While the study isn’t explicit in this sense, presumably those attitudes apply to ads across those media types, rather than the media themselves.)

Also interesting: 46% reported wanting more straightforward messages in advertising, while only 5% felt that ads should be more interactive. 32% do want ads to be more entertaining.

Close to 85% of the respondents indicated that they generally feel positive about advertising (a recent survey also found youth harboring more positive views about the ad industry than their elders). 1 in 5 feel that advertising helps them learn about new products, and roughly 1 in 4 believe that advertising makes a brand seem more credible.

Finally, almost two-thirds of the students surveyed said they pay as much or more attention to advertising as their parents.

About the Data: The study was conducted through an online panel consisting of 890 college students on 54 campuses across the U.S. Respondents ranged in age from 17-32. The sample was comprised of 60.45% females and 39.55% males. 82.86% of respondents were 17-22 years of age, 15.45% were 23-30 and the remaining 1.69% were above 30. All participants were college students residing in near-campus apartments.

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