Flytedesk Empowers Advertisers to Reach Coveted Audience: College Students

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Millennials, college kids, 18–24’s—whatever advertisers may choose to call them, they are the most desirable demographic for companies large and small, according to Alex Kronman, founder and CEO of flytedesk.

Alex Kronman, flytedesk CEO

Flytedesk offers advertisers access to college campuses, mainly through college media organizations. “We’re the only technology company in the space. If you want to be in 200 college papers, or if you want to be in 500 college radio stations … simply put, there are not a whole lot of other ways to do that,” Kronman said.

While the company offers a traditional demand-side platform, flytedesk has also begun rolling out a new tool that aims to increase partnerships between local businesses and college media. Called Ad Shop, the tool aims to reduce friction for small-business online media buys.

Most college newspapers currently post contact information and media kits online, in the hopes that businesses will make contact if they want to advertise. But local businesses today are accustomed to an era of Facebook advertising, where buying ads is as simple as clicking a button, Kronman said.

The new Ad Shop tool will allow college newspapers to build an interactive media kit through flytedesk and integrate that kit into the news media website, allowing local businesses to purchase ads easily online.

Flytedesk built Ad Shop in direct partnership with the staff of the Daily Tar Heel, the college paper at the University of North Carolina. The new tool was then piloted through a number of big college newspapers, including the Daily Emerald at the University of Oregon and the State Press at the University of Arizona, Kronman said.

“Our mission is to help college newspapers and college media organizations, more broadly, increase their advertising revenue,” he said.

Kronman built his company to meet a need he first noticed during his own college years. As a student, he ran his college newspaper, where it was often difficult to reach big brands and increase ad revenue. After graduation, he worked briefly for a large advertising firm, where he realized that advertisers often struggled to find access to college-aged students.

Kronman founded flytdesk out of those two realizations, hoping to create a “win-win” scenario for both college media and big brand advertisers.

Outside of the Ad Shop, Flytedesk offers ads through a multi-channel approach (but many of those channels are non-traditional in today’s advertising world). The company offers ads through college newspapers, radio stations, flyers, physical campus billboards, and a variety of other sources. “Most college kids block ads online; most college kids don’t have cable,” Kronman said. He went on to explain that since advertising dollars are generally spent on digital and cable marketing, it is vital to reach students through new, creative methods.

Beyond ad blockers and cable cutting, college students exhibit one more key behavior in terms of advertising. Their number one priority? Brands with a purpose. “We do a lot of political advertising—campaigns, super PACs, interest groups,” Kronman said. “When we look at the website traffic for college newspapers specifically … content that is political or purposeful … definitely strikes a chord,” he added.

Flytedesk’s knowledge of the trends and its demand-side platform yield results. “Across all of our campaigns, we see a 21% average increase in brand awareness when someone’s advertising with flytedesk,” he said.