Brands crafting campaigns to reach college students in the fall have their foot between the gas and the brakes right now as we are all slowly peeking our heads out of our homes. Colleges and universities nationwide are trying to navigate an entirely new normal, in which traditional classroom settings may not be considered safe. That leaves brands who have relied on on-campus advertising seeking new solutions, as well. So what will advertising to college students look like in the fall, and what solutions are available to help brands navigate this time of uncertainty within the college target market?
First—what are colleges’ and universities’ plans for fall 2020?
As time has passed, colleges have weighed the decision to reopen in the fall, or if they should continue offering online classes in order to safely navigate the pandemic. Some colleges, like all classes in the California State University system, will remain online-only in the fall. Community colleges have also been reported to be the most likely to stay all virtual in the fall. Some colleges, like Kent State University, are adopting a hybrid model with some in-person classes and some remote learning. And some, like University of Notre Dame, are implementing a fast-track schedule in which students will start school in early August and run through Thanksgiving break.
There are many different solutions, but a majority of schools (75%) are planning on reopening in the fall with increased safety measures. Check here for a full list of US colleges and their plans.
Student enrollment is down—but 80% of students still plan to attend in-person classes
The traditional May 1 deadline to commit to schools came at a time when schools were still unable to determine whether they could open their doors for in-person classes in the fall. Because of this, many students have deferred enrollment. A recent study by Thinking Cap Agency found that about 16% of students have considered deferring due to coronavirus concerns.
However, that leaves over 80% of students still planning to return to campuses in the fall. Nearly 17 million students have enrolled for fall semester, and many have expressed a dislike for the online learning they experienced this spring. Colleges and universities have been pressed to reopen. A recent survey by Kennedy & Company of students at 12 large universities found that 92% intended to re-enroll if instruction were held on campus, while on 63% indicated they would re-enroll if colleges were offered fully online.
So even though student enrollment is currently down, students are much more likely to enroll if colleges are holding on campus classes and many students have committed to return in the fall.
Make an impact this fall with on campus advertising
Even given the considerations, the majority of college campuses are anticipating resuming in-person classes in the fall with increased safety measures, and college students will still need everything they have always needed to be ready for a new school year. On campus advertising campaigns have proven success rates reaching the college target market. Refuel’s College Explorer study showed that 68% of college students reported paying attention to posters and billboards, 64% paid attention to events, contests, and promotions, and 45% reported that if they received product samples during the school year that they would go on to purchase the product in the future.
Refuel Agency is an expert at reaching college students through on-campus advertising in addition to mobile retargeting, social media, email, and more. Contact us today for your college marketing strategy.