Top Student Housing Advertising Channels for 2024

  • 7 June 2024
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One of the biggest challenges in marketing for student housing is that the purchasing journey involves both the student and their parents, which entails very different marketing strategies.

We often see student housing marketers make these three mistakes when marketing their properties:

  • They solely market on channels popular with students, leaving out parents from their targeting strategy.
  • They only advertise on 1-2 channels, typically lower funnel channels, missing out on top-of-the-funnel activity that drives future conversions.
  • They limit their social strategy to organic activities, focusing only on growing their follower count and trying to “go viral”, as opposed to a balanced approach between organic and paid social marketing.

What should you do instead?

  • Develop multichannel marketing campaigns and reach both parents and students.
  • Invest in advertising alongside your organic activities to expand your reach and hone in your targeting.

In this blog, we share the advertising channels our top-performing student housing clients use to scale awareness, drive conversions, and pre-lease ahead of schedule.


TikTok has been rising in popularity year-on-year, especially among Gen Z consumers, who comprise 44.7% of the platform’s total users. TikTok offers a number of features that appeal greatly to those aged 18-29 years old: it lets them easily create content, find creators of similar interests, foster a sense of community with challenges and trends, and share videos outside the platform with family and friends.

Aside from being entertaining, TikTok has also become a huge source of brand discovery for this generation. According to TikTok for Business, 66% of Gen Z TikTok users discover new brands on the platform and they are 1.5 times more likely to convince their family and friends to get into a particular brand when they’ve seen it on TikTok. This makes the social video platform a great place to advertise to college students in the market for housing.

TikTok’s advertising platform offers a wide range of targeting options to ensure your ads reach prospects in your property’s location range who are interested in content related to the nearby university market you serve. Getting started on TikTok ads can be as simple as filming a 15-30-second mobile video of your property or leveraging video editing to convert a video you already have on hand into a clip formatted for mobile.


YouTube is another platform that’s popular among Gen Z. While the percentage of Gen Z users vs. overall YouTube users seems small because of the huge amount of users on the platform, the total number of those aged 13 to 17 using YouTube is still greater than the number for TikTok. YouTube also works for campaigns targeted toward parents as it’s one of those social media platforms all age groups prefer.

YouTube ads yield high success rates with various ad formats and targeting options. Marketers are able to launch long-form ads, such as detailed virtual tours and showcases of the community’s unique selling points, on the platform and target these ads based on demographics and interests. YouTube also allows ads to be placed on channels, videos, and categories that are popular among college students or relevant to college life and student housing.


Next to TikTok, Instagram remains popular among teenagers, with Stories (48%) and Reels (40%) as the features they use a lot. For marketers, it is important to note that Instagram is the top platform that Gen Z (and even millennials) rely on for content on brands. This is because the platform is their go-to for niche and personalized content, versus TikTok, which is their choice for viral posts.

Because it’s integrated with Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram advertising employs the same sophisticated targeting capabilities. This means that you can narrow down who gets to see your ads, making sure every ad dollar spent has a higher chance of converting. With Instagram’s flexible budgeting options, you are also able to start with modest budgets, scaling up as results come in, and you’re able to see which types of campaigns yield the highest possible return on investment.


Google search is a good advertising channel to leverage for student housing as it lets you reach both buyer personas, the students, and their parents. Ranking at the top of search engine results must remain one of the goals of any marketer — it’s one of the quickest ways to increase brand awareness since it allows communities to reach people actively searching for student housing. While brands can try to rank organically, it’s very difficult and rarely yields consistent results.

As with any paid search strategy, it’s important to tailor your ads to be as relevant as possible to what your target audience is searching for. Students are inclined to care about practical amenities that are important to them, such as high-speed WiFi, in-unit washers, and computer or printing stations. Parents, on the other hand, will be concerned about safety and proximity to campus. With these nuances in mind, student housing marketers should create ads and ad extensions that include these callouts.

When it comes to keyword targeting, university-specific keywords like ‘apartments near [college name],’ ‘[college name] student housing,’ and ‘[college name] apartments’ will often yield the best results In addition to this strategy, we recommend layering location keywords and the location of the searcher to adjust your targeting between out of state parents or students located at the campus depending on the time of year.

Facebook (Meta)

While Gen Z-ers are shying away from Facebook, student housing marketers shouldn’t discount the importance of this platform. According to the Pew Research Center, 75% of adults aged 30-49 and 69% of adults aged 50-64 say they still use Facebook, making it the best platform to leverage during the November-December campaigns when parents are mostly the ones “shopping” for their kids’ housing in the coming school year.

Facebook ads are highly effective, thanks to their detailed targeting capabilities, allowing you to connect with parents, based on their interest in colleges and student housing as well as other relevant interests.  We recommend you use this precise segmentation to communicate what’s important to parents when it comes to their children’s future housing: safety, conduciveness to study, and value for money.

Reach Your Leasing Goals Faster with Multichannel Advertising

Marketing for student housing requires a nuanced approach that caters to both students and their parents. By avoiding common pitfalls such as limiting channels, neglecting parents, and focusing solely on organic social media growth, marketers can create more effective, full-funnel campaigns.

Leveraging platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Google, and Facebook with tailored strategies ensures a broader reach and higher engagement. Implementing multichannel marketing campaigns with fine-tuned targeting can significantly enhance pre-leasing efforts and drive successful conversions. By addressing the unique preferences and concerns of both buyer personas, student housing marketers can build compelling, inclusive strategies that resonate with their entire audience.

Here are additional articles that will help you craft effective student housing marketing strategies:

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