Best Millennial Influencers for Back-to-College Campaigns

Best Millennial Influencers for Back-to-College Campaigns

Updated for 2018:

It’s only the start of summer, but it’s never too early to start thinking about back-to-school shopping–ESPECIALLY if your back-to-school target market is college students.  According to the National Retail Foundation, consumers will spend about $27 billion this year on back-to-school shopping, but $48.5 billion on back-to-college shopping! How, you ask?  Well a lot more goes into back-to-college than just clothes and pencil bags –Students now have to look at things like laptops, furniture, and even kitchenware. It is the first time many students will be on their own and there are products they don’t even think about needing until they get to college like toiletries, medicine, cleaning products, bed sheets, even food!

Millennials are especially influenced by their peers and people they follow on social media. Whole dorm room designs come from bloggers that college students see on Instagram. Millennials don’t look at television ads or catalogs, they go to real life people, who are just like them, to find out about all the latest gadgets, trends, etc. In fact, according to, 98% of millennials are more likely to engage with a friend’s post over a brand’s post. How they dress, decorate their rooms, wear makeup, pick out computers, and cook food can be found by who they follow on social media.

Influencer marketing also allows for brands to expand their target market. These influencers represent the everyday person, real and diverse, and their reach is unlimited across the internet. Over the past year, we’ve seen many brands taking advantage of this by partnering with influencers. L’Oreal ran a successful influencer marketing campaign using beauty influencers on YouTube. Target tapped into the world of online influencers to “create work that is relevant and inspirational to millennials.” One of the reasons brands are so eager to specifically grab this generation’s attention is because millennials have now surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s biggest buying group, according to

Here are our favorite millennial influencers that can help brands reach college students and tap into that $48.5 billion spending that’s about to take place in the next couple of months:



1. Carly A. Heitlinger

Nicknamed “The College Prepster” Carly has racked up 200,000 followers on her Instagram, and it’s not hard to see why. Carly is fashion and travel blogger who also uses her blog to write specifically about college. You can find advice on everything from how to study to what to wear. Carly also uses her voice to write about the stress and anxiety that comes with this next big step, inspiring her young readers.




2. Fredrik Risvik

We know that women are dominating the role of social media influencer right now, which means it’s can be harder to come across a great male lifestyle blogger. But look no further. Fredrik provides his 126,000 followers with the latest in style, fashion, and room decor, inspiring millennials all around.


3. Austin Evans

Austin Evans might be a name you’ve heard before, probably because he’s one of the most popular tech vloggers out there. This 24 year old has over 300,000 Instagram followers and over 2 million YouTube subscribers. It’s no secret how important technology is in the classroom today, especially in college. Austin’s channel is the perfect place to learn about the best gadgets to purchase for the school year.



4. Monica Church

This 20 something year old, whose YouTube channel is named My Millennial Life Crises, vlogs about everything from beauty, to fashion, and even travel. She also dedicates a lot of her posts to fitness and exercise, inspiring her followers to get out and get active!





5. Jonathan Morrison

Another tech reviewer on the list, Jonathan also showcases the latest and greatest in tech. What makes his channel different is his variety of content, this sneakerhead also shares fashion posts and desk setup videos.



6. Rachel Ritlop

There is truly nothing you won’t find on Rachel’s blog. The Confused Millennial is a perfect Instagram to follow for all your college needs. Room decor, organization, DIY, beauty, and even advice on college life and relationships.



7. Reese Regan

Reese is a huge YouTuber in the college space. With nearly 400k subscribers, she dedicates her channel to anything and everything to do with being a millennial. Skincare, style, and health are just a few of the topics you can find on her page. She also talks about her college experiences, how to stay organized, and her struggle with depression. With her variety of topics and honest approach, it’s easy to see why she has gained such a large and loyal audience.




8. Paris Rose

Another popular YouTuber on the list, Paris is college student vlogging about her experiences at UCLA. She’s more than just a hair and makeup vlogger, Paris also talks about life in a sorority, transferring from community college to a university, and her experience studying abroad in Japan!



9. Thomas Frank

Although he may not be a student anymore, Thomas is an expert when it comes to having a successful college career. Not only did he create the website, but he also has a YouTube channel with over 1 million subscribers where he talks about everything from how to be a productive person, books to help you in life, and how to write the perfect essay.



10. Mariana’s Study Corner

Mariana focuses on something not a lot of college bloggers like to tackle: studying and organization. With all the craziness of college, she has dedicated her YouTube channel to helping students learn how to get their life more structured through study tips, organization, and healthy routines.




Soon, students everywhere will be getting ready for the start of college. Whether they are moving into dorms or their very first apartments, these influencers will inspire all of their college needs and help them prepare for a life of new independence.




MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

Use This 1 Weird Trick to Find Amazing Back-to-School Influencers!

Use This 1 Weird Trick to Find Amazing Back-to-School Influencers!

I CANNOT believe you clicked on that headline! But rest assured; no endless clicking and credit card will be required to learn the “1 weird trick.” So let’s melt through the belly fat and get to it.

The reality: Back-to-school campaigns can be the most boring projects of the year. Back-to-college? Lots of options – will millennials want a futon or bed? Mac or PC? They will be picking out the clothes, thank you very much. It used to be so easy (and inexpensive) for parents.

But back-to-school is notebooks, calculators, pens/pencils, a new lunchbox to replace the moldy kitty one, new clothes (insert yawning emoticon here). But although the content ideas are kind of boring, the data is interesting, at least to people like us. Our data scientists have found that while brands focus on just two value points, price and convenience, audiences from most past campaigns have minimal demographic or psychographic concentration.

This is a costly mistake. You’ll need to branch out to compel those parents to buy from you instead of your competitors. So if you’re looking for influencers, you better have visibility into their audiences because you may not offer the most inexpensive school supplies. And buying from you may not be as easy as buying from Amazon. So that’s it. That’s the trick: it’s targeting the audiences with higher densities of shared interests or values around which you can create a captivating campaign.

Look at that – just one click and you’ve learned the “1 weird trick”! Grab yourself a chorizo breakfast taco with habanero sauce – because you are lit. Now, there are some brands who get it – let’s see how they used interests-driven campaigns to blow it up (or not).

Target didn’t create their BTS campaign; kids did. Kid-sourced. They fielded 130 storyline submissions and chose 7 students to help create the video. You can see how they did it here. One million views within a day or two; of course they knew their audience; the creators were the audience!


Staples traded on the popularity of Katy Perry and parents’ charitable inclinations with their #DonorsChoose campaign. Leveraging bloggers and social influencers with socially-minded audiences, they donated over $1m to classrooms and teachers.


Kleenex created a superb video and campaign around reducing the anxiety of kids going into middle school. Excellent production value, attention-grabbing content. This is actually a good learning example – why only 9,000 views? Care to take a guess???


Your creative team can come up with astonishingly captivating ideas. Your production team can produce polished, concise content. But if you don’t target an audience with sufficient density of that concept or value, you’re liable to end up disappointed.

The good news is that there are now tens of thousands of influencers with audiences specific to that psychographic you’re counting on. And remember to pay attention to demos, even though through better data analysis, they are becoming less important to achieving maximum engagement on your campaigns.