September 4, 2019

3 key advertising trends in 2019

Advertising, strategy, technology

Blog banner - 3 key advertising trends in 2019 (2)

- 3 min read - 

As an Account Strategist who helps build advertising strategies for colleges and universities across North America at Glacier, I keep a close finger on the pulse in terms of what is working, and what is not. New advertising channels consistently pop up, and strategies evolve while some forms of media are phased out. 

For simplicity, these trends pertain to Gen Z, however, the same principles can absolutely apply to different demographics.

One: Holistic Advertising

Do your advertising campaigns work in synergy? Or are you still making one-off media buys?

More than ever, higher education advertisers are straying away from one-off media buys and are looking at ways to align all tactics as a cohesive strategy. 

In order to do this, you need to understand the goal and purpose of each tactic individually. Where do your current tactics play in the student recruitment journey? For example, traditional media should be used to build and maintain brand awareness, while digital tactics can be used to drive engagement and conversions. 

The key to a strong holistic strategy starts by establishing a goal. What are you looking to achieve? What is the purpose of this campaign? These are the kind of questions that must be asked before any media purchases are made. 

From here, start identifying the gaps in your current media mix. To identify these gaps, audit your marketing mix. This is something that can either be done internally or externally. Do your best to get an unbiased opinion. Based on these gaps, look at what tactics can help you fill these voids. 

You must establish cohesive messaging and branding designed to build trust and understanding through the application journey. Consistency is key.

Finally, formulate your plan. Based on the goal of your campaign and opportunities for improvement, start building a cohesive strategy. I recommend taking the approach of a ‘student recruitment funnel’. One tactic must build off the next, while maintaining consistent messaging and striving to achieve a specific goal. 

Two: Spotify 

If you aren’t advertising on Spotify, now is the time to start. As of April 2019, Spotify has over 217 million users! Of these 217 million, 26% are between the ages of 18 – 24

While Spotify is great for reaching the right students, its true power is in the medium. Advertisers get a unique combination of a 30 second audio spot paired with a 640 x 640 static ad. This ad can drive traffic directly to a website or landing page, offering deeper insights on the effectiveness of a campaign. 

Music is also extremely influential among Gen Z. Spotify recently released a report titled Culture Next. They tap into the defining traits of Gen Z and how music influences them. Check out the 5 defining traits of Gen Z:

  1. All the Feels: Gen Zers and Millennials are in touch with their feelings. They are not afraid to express themselves. Half of respondents said they feel a strong bond when sharing feelings, including sadness and loneliness.
  2. Band of Others: They believe music allows people to connect with one another and with different cultures, and they listen to more international music than any other demographic. What’s more, 40 percent of participants view themselves more as a global citizen than as a member of their own country.
  3. Subliminal Attraction: Digital life influences real life for these groups. With this, discovery – new experiences, hobbies, ideas – is key. One in four respondents said that culture isn’t influenced by just one force, but by all forces, such as politicians, brands and celebrities.
  4. PolyFly: Politics matter to Gen Z and Millennials. Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) said brands needs to promote more progressive values and play a more meaningful role in society.
  5. Surround Sound: According to 56 percent of respondents, they use audio as an escape from their screens. Audio also is a huge part of their everyday lives, rather than just background noise.

Spotify provides advertisers with the traditional power radio ads, the reporting of digital, with the ability to hyper-target specific demographics. Spotify is becoming a core component in any higher education media mix.

Three: Shorter Video Ads

The massive abundance of video content plastered over the internet creates endless competition for higher ed advertisers. Students have the ability to watch anything they desire, whenever they please. They will only watch an advertisement if it is relevant, attention grabbing and valuable. 

Blog image -youtube

As a result, people spend less time watching ads. So much so that in 2009, YouTube added a skip button to their 15, 30 & 60 second pre-roll ads. This has led advertisers to start testing short, six-second bumper ads that beat the skip button and serve short attention spans. 


We collected insights from 1,700 high school students on their media preferences for higher ed advertising. Access Report.


P.S. Here are a few creative examples to check out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpGrz0ByxGI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLlXZh4sJtb8FeCuXyZ90OyUCkpfzs1GtI&v=cF92NB4Pkl4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSCueBm_KOY&list=PLlXZh4sJtb8FeCuXyZ90OyUCkpfzs1GtI&index=10

Tagged: Advertising, strategy, technology