Marketing Madness

Study Finds that College Students Actually Dislike Mobile Advertising

Most marketers have their eyes set on the same basic age group when it comes to targeting their advertising efforts, and college students generally fall smack in the middle of that demographic. Now, a majority of people are familiar with the college experience, having lived it at some level. Part of this college experience is a general lack of money, or at least a slight financial struggle throughout the duration of one’s college years. However, despite the money troubles those college students continue to face today, nearly every student on any college campus in the US can be seen carrying the newest and most exciting form of mobile technology, usually in the form of a smartphone.

An annual survey of college students at Ball State finds that smartphone and feature phone usage has flip-flopped since 2009. In a recent survey, 73 percent of students reported using a smartphone as compared to 27 percent in 2009.

It probably has to do with smartphones being much more than just phones these days, allowing students the freedom to leave their laptops at home on some school days. With social media and email having such an immense impact on this generation, college students feel that they cannot leave home without their smartphones. Therefore, it is college students who often receive particular attention from mobile advertisers, but this may not necessarily be the right method.

The recent report from Ball State University, a state-run university in Indiana that is well known for its impressive research capabilities, shows just how college students feel about the seemingly constant flow of mobile advertisements they receive on their smartphones on a daily basis.

According to the report, college students really do not enjoy mobile marketing that is directed their way at all. A total of 83 percent of the respondents in the university’s survey said that they do not see anything good about the marketing that appears on their phones. In last year’s release of the annual report, only about 68 percent of students said the same, which means that in students’ eyes, mobile marketing tactics are only becoming more annoying. It has even driven these students to the point that they are less likely to purchase from a company if they receive advertising from them on their phones, making said company’s efforts entirely counterproductive.

Now, of course this information will not make mobile advertisers drop the platform all together, but perhaps these marketers should consider the best ways to cater to their target market, instead of simply aggravating them with the same old marketing techniques. As with anybody that uses the web, college students would become more engaged and interested in these mobile advertisements if they contained a greater sense of creativity or something that these students could relate to more easily. College students can be seen browsing on their mobile devices more than any other age group today, and making advertisements work for them turns out to be quite important.

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Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Marketing Insider, and an experienced freelance writer. He writes content for a wide range of sites in virtually every niche, though he specializes in technical writing as well as creating content for the performance and internet marketing industry. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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  1. Yeah, exactly, the companies won’t stop spamming not only students but also every target audience. Common sense in everything is very welcomed! Thanks for that idea, nice post!

  2. I was wondering if they don’t wanna see ads why don’t make us of adblock? Isn’t a mobile version for it?

    1. You’d be surprised at the amount of people out there who have no idea about adblock as or any tools like it.

  3. Am not a college student but I definitely feel the same way. This kind of advertisement is more of spamming.

  4. Despite the money troubles those college students continue to face today, nearly every student on any college campus in the US can be seen carrying the newest and most exciting form of mobile technology, usually in the form of a smartphone.Yeah this is right , in my country too , students bring new mobiles , smartphones, iphone 5 , even f they are poor.How i don’t know.

  5. I don’t expect that people will ever like advertisements. But, just like the transition to online advertising I suspect there will eventually be a successful integration of advertising space in the mobile paradigm.

    1. That’s a good point. I wonder what the correlation is between consumers liking (or disliking) advertisements and the advertisements’ actual effectiveness. For example, I’m sure most of us hate TV ads but we can’t deny their effectiveness.

  6. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this study confirmed something pretty obvious – people don’t like to bombarded with ads. I think interesting and relevant content is much more likely to catch my attention than overt advertisements on my phone. They’re obnoxious.

    1. I agree that the results are pretty intuitive but it is nice (and important) to have real studies supporting these intuitions.

  7. Study Finds that College Students Actually Dislike Mobile Advertising!! This is really true! I know that college students dislike mobile advertising and this sutdy is needed n our days!!!
    Thank you for sharin this great information!!

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