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How to Target Google Search Ads & Facebook Ads to College Students

College students represent a coveted demographic for many companies, and for good reason. While many college students don’t enjoy disposable income comparable to other demographics, they represent o one of the largest growing demographics. According to federal data, the number college students in the U.S. grew by 37% since 2000, with 21 million students enrolled in colleges and universities during the most recent school year of 2014.

This rapid growth presents great opportunities for online businesses. At universities with major athletic departments, sports team-affiliated apparel and school logo-themed merchandise represent some of the most commonly-sold items. Even if you’re not selling school-themed merchandise or products, college students are valuable to target on the web due to the fact that they’re typically very savvy with online technology.

Fortunately for online marketers, two of the largest PPC ad platforms, Google AdWords and Facebook allow marketers to pinpoint ads to students at a specific university, including geographic targeting to the exact perimeters of the college’s property.

How to Target College Students in a Facebook Ad Campaign:
Step 1: In Facebook’s ad platform, click the "More demographics option.
Step 2: Click “Education” and move your mouse to the options on the right.

Facebook-ad-target-college-students-step-1
Step 3: Click "Schools", and enter the college or university you want to target.

select college

Step 4 (Optional) To exclusively target college students who live on campus, enter the zip code where the college is located.

UF-Targeted

Step 5: Add a personal touch to the ad by featuring a campus icon in the ad, such as the football stadium, bell tower or any well-known statue or landmark, supported by call-to-action text directed at the student body. If you’re taregeting students intersted in sports, be sure to use the team mascot in the call to action. I.E.: Florida Gators, FSU Seminoles.

UF swamp example

How to Target College Students in a Google AdWords Campaign:

Step 1: Go to "Locations" and select: "Let me choose my own."
Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.03.40 PM

Step 2: In the box that reads "Enter a location" type the name of the college or university.
Step 3: (Optional) To exclusively target college students who live on or near campus, enter the zip code of the school, as well as surrounding zip codes, or the city where the college is located.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 2.04.07 PM

Step 4:  Add a personal touch to the ad by featuring a campus icon in the ad, such as the football stadium, bell tower or any well-known statue or landmark, supported by call-to-action text directed at the student body.

UF ad -belltower

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