Our research whitepaper ‘Where are the students we see’ revealed what students want to see in advertising (hint: brands that truly represent them), but the question still remains - should your ads be so obvious that they don’t blend into the platform they’re on? In other words, should they look like ads?

All too often, students can find adverts disconnected from the platforms they’re shown on which means one thing - they skip them. In fact, your audience only spends around 1.5 seconds looking at mobile ads, so if they aren’t seamlessly blended onto the platform, your ads won’t be seen. Do you understand the platforms you advertise on and how your students perceive your brand? Your ads might match the form and function of the platform, but might miss the mark in terms of transparency and imagery. We know that creativity boosts advertising performance, but here’s how you can make your advertising native while boosting brand perception amongst your student audience. 

How can you be native in your advertising?

1. Use video ​

tiktok video

Video is key when it comes to attracting students in a saturated digital sphere and will guarantee you results over copy alone. From the rise of TikTok, to new innovations in Instagram and Facebook with stories and reels, it’s clear that video works with Gen-Z. The key is to keep it short, be honest about your advertising by simply including an ‘ad’ message and conduct research into how your students are talking about the topic. Keep an eye on your social analytics to test what works and what could do with some tweaking. ​

2. Make noise 

The boom of audio-only channels like Spotify and Clubhouse is testament to the changing nature of social media. Students want to engage on the go, so it’s key that your adverts account for that. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends: from memes, to TikTok dances and filters that your students resonate with. In order to blend in with the format of other content on the platform, you need to stay on top of what is popular.   ​

3. Harness the power of user-generated content 


Who better to create your content than the students themselves? The growing popularity of vloggers, YouTubers and TikTokkers highlights how Gen-Z responds best to faces. Involve your alumni and current students to give your advertising a human touch. And this brings us onto the importance of diversity. ​

4. Curate an omnichannel strategy 

Engaging and attracting your students through an omnichannel strategy is crucial to giving your students a user experience that feels native and professional. Not only do students want to see your adverts rocking it on TikTok and Snapchat, but they also want to see diversity, video and musical content on your other platforms. From your website to your Twitter page, your branding and messaging needs to be streamlined. 

Remember, students want to see your institution making the most of the platforms you advertise on. Harness the power of your current students to create user-generated content that your students will resonate with, while giving a native feel to your brand. 

Akero award-winning AI scans billions of data points across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn (as well as Search platforms and more than two million websites) to create your personalised plan that will outline recommended channels, delivery, and spends to hit your international enrolment targets. If want to find out more about how we can help boost enrolment through native advertising, get in contact with us and we’ll help to streamline your strategy. 

Article by


Lois King

Digital Marketing Assistant