Chegg Aims Discounts at Students, Shares College Demo Insights

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ADOTAS – Receiving a few press releases regarding developments at Chegg, an online student resource center and social marketing platform, I was amused that in one press release students were described as “big spenders” and in another as “penny pinchers.” (Maybe they’re high-rolling tightwads?)

But we have to differentiate between the academic levels — high school, undergraduate and post-grad — that Chegg caters to through services like textbook rentals, e-textbooks, course selection and homework assistance. High school students are big spenders of disposable goods — they tend not to have to deal with nasty things like rent or health care, which leaves more discretionary funds. Those toiling their way through higher education, on the other hand, are stereotypically more concerned with scraping enough change together to pay for a bottle of cheap booze once the thesis or dissertation is handed in.

In that sense, they’re likely to be deal hunters — which is why Chegg partnered with white-label deal platform and service company Group Commerce, which Adotas profiled a little while back. Currently available in Tempe, Ariz; Miami; Atlanta; and New York (all big college towns), Chegg Deals will deliver targeted discounts on products ranging from textbooks and educational supplies to eateries and furnishings.

“Existing deals programs tend to target young professionals,” commented Group Commerce CEO Jonty Kelt. “With over $200 billion spent yearly by students, we believe this is a massively underserved population — and one that Chegg knows incredibly well. Their strong relationships, coupled with our technology, make this program a no-brainer for students and the businesses they love.”

As we’ve written before, Group Commerce specializes in powering the back end of deals systems for publishers and networks with segmented and highly engaged audiences. Recalling my own college experience, I suggest they put together a lot of offers for wine sold by the jug and “tobacco smoking accessories” (rolling papers are cheaper when you buy in bulk!).

Jokes aside, reaching students isn’t about raking in massive conversions — it’s about finding influencers and new brand ambassadors. The young and loyal are highly likely to spread the good word about your brand (especially if discounts are involved, like we just mentioned — ever heard of a street team?). Hence, Chegg has initiated its brand partnership platform, with a potential reach of 40 million students.

During Advertising Week NYC, Chegg President and CEO Dan Rosensweig and Vice President of Brand Partnerships Elizabeth Harz shared college demographic research (from an impressive array of sources — check out the full methodology here) to show the marketing world it knows its clientele.

The chief finding is that brands are better off reaching this demo online than through traditional methods — Chegg’s research shows college kids spend 2.5 times more time online than watching TV. Only 44% watch network TV daily (compared to 71% of the general population), and that  they’re twice as likely to stream video than watch real-time TV broadcasts (19% versus 9%).

Just what do they do online? Eighty-one percent visit a social network daily and 38% watch online video daily. College kids are twice as likely to use Twitter than the general population, which should perk the ears of brands looking for social media ambassadors. Finally, 43% have purchased a smartphone in the last year — can you say mobile targeting?

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