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Most Used Social Media Channels by Students

Heather Sumperl |Apr 07, 2021

With over 51%1 of Gen-Z reporting that they use social media daily, it’s no wonder that, almost unanimously, both four-year public and private schools ranked social media as the most effective marketing tool. And, of these daily users, teens are reportedly spending almost three hours a day among these platforms.

According to the 2020 Digital Admissions Report by TargetX, almost three-quarters of students surveyed had run across college ads on their devices. And of those students, 56% had clicked on an ad.2 So, it is safe to say that if you’re not actively posting and engaging prospective students through social media, you aren’t reaching them.

Here’s where your prospects are spending their time and the best ways to engage by platform.


While not as popular as it once was, approximately 40% of Gen-Z students are active on Facebook making it one of the social platforms you should utilize for reaching and engaging with your target audience.3

The best aspect of Facebook advertising is the ability to build and segment your audience to reach those that may be specifically interested in what you have to offer.


Gen-Z students prefer Instagram over Facebook with almost 68% active on the platform.3 Students are relying on Instagram to see what’s trending and to get quick information bytes through photo and video.

Instagram relies on Facebook’s advertising tools to set up and track campaigns and has precise targeting options to hone in on your market.


Students spend almost 3 ½ hours a day watching video content, with more than 75% of them consuming this content on YouTube.3 Engage prospective students through authentic video vignettes that showcase the best aspects of your school.


88% of Gen-Zers are reported Snapchatters.3 Coined as “the fastest way to share a moment” its success should come as no surprise with shortened attention spans.

And, with Snapchat ads, you can create, optimize and analyze campaigns that have the power to reach the overwhelming majority of your target audience.


This platform may not be as strong as its counterparts but still deserves an honorable mention. TikTok users are looking for creative expression so if creativity doesn’t come easily this may not be the platform where you want to focus your efforts.


Students aren’t waiting until they are looking for their first jobs to jump on LinkedIn. More and more students are joining the career networking platform to research an industry, develop their skills and establish professional connections that could help them secure future internships and jobs.

Additionally, prospective students may use LinkedIn to connect with college alumni to get a better feel for the schools they may be considering.


40%1 of rising seniors rely on social media to seek out information about colleges. We’d recommend boosting your school’s budget for paid advertising on social media platforms and creating hyper-targeted audience segments with focused messaging to produce the most qualified leads.

One thing remains consistent across all social platforms...video is critical and StudentBridge can help you increase funnel conversion on more channels with video optimized specifically for social media.

1. Carnegie Dartlet. (June 15, 2020). Rising Senior Report: A Study on Covid-19’s Impact on the High School Class of 2021. [Report]. https://www.carnegiedartlet.com/resources/rising-senior-report/

2. mStoner & TargetX. (2020). Digital Admissions: How Prospective Students Use Online Tools For College Research and Choice. [Whitepaper]. https://www.targetx.com/higher-ed-insights/research/digital-admissions/

3. Wagner, Jenniger. “Infographic: Millennials vs Gen Z Social Media Usage.” Ignite Social Media. https://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-marketing/infographic-millennials-vs-gen-z-social-media-usage/

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