Where Do Parents Notice College Advertising?

We asked parents to rank where they most noticed college advertising, and half the respondents chose social media as their first choice. While direct mail received the subsequent most first place responses from a quarter of respondents, more than a quarter ranked it as their last choice. Email, while the first choice for only 13% of parents, was the 2nd or 3rd choice for two-thirds of parents. Coming in last place is streaming TV (CTV/OTT), with 12% of parents ranking it number one and almost 40% rating it as least noticed.

where do parents notice college advertising infographic

Student responses to a similar question yielded different results, with the top spot occupied by email, with about a third of respondents choosing it. Social media was not far behind, with 30% of students saying they most notice schools there.


  • Social media should be the primary placement for campaigns targeting parents, with attention to emails aimed at parents as well.
  • Because students also ranked social media and email in their top two slots, emails and social media ads targeting students should be part of the strategy but will likely carry different messaging.
  • Direct mail is rapidly losing its hold as a cost-effective strategy to reach parents or students, however the responses from both surveys prove it’s still gaining attention among some households.
  • Streaming TV advertising may not have hit its stride just yet, and this channel may rise in importance in the future.
2022 Parent Survey

The follow up to our 2022 Student Survey whitepaper is now available!

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving education marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

Parent & Student Survey Whitepaper


The Annual PARENT & Student Survey

Advance Education conducted a nationwide survey to learn what students and their parents are looking for from institutions – and the right marketing channels to reach them.

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