7 things we learned from analyzing 67.244 student promo codes: How to make your student discount a win-win.

by Jules Maregiano · February 11, 2022

7 actionable marketing tips to making your student discount program a success.

For the release of our new Student Promo Codes feature, we took a deep dive on the topic of Student Discounts. Our goal was essentially to find the best way to offer discounts to students:

  • What’s the best discount value to give students?
  • How should you verify students’ identities?
  • How do you protect yourself against abuses?
  • Are they working?

These questions required some quantitative data. For that reason, we extracted, analyzed, and cleaned around 250k tweets and distilled it to 67.244 student discounts.

TLDR; Skip to the final 4 key takeaways to apply to your student discount campaign if you’re in a hurry.

1. The average student discount is 27%

Out of all the student discounts the average is 27%. The range though varied greatly, from 5% to 100% free. Dividing those numbers by industry was also interesting for 2 reasons. First, student discounts are implemented across all industries. Second, they concern companies of every size, from solopreneurs to billion-dollar companies.


2. 10% of discounts have a time constraint

Another interesting takeaway was the limitations concerning student discounts. Only 10% of those were under a time constraint of some sort: Hours or days on the week, available until, or just for bank holiday. Perhaps

Regarding product constraints (”available on item X only”) the data was harder to parse. We couldn’t find a single number to give you but we noticed a share of student discounts were only available on some items, plans, or offers.

3. Discounts on digital goods are 45% higher than those on physical goods

Physical goods’ marginal cost (cost it takes to build one more unit) are by nature higher than digital goods’. For that reason, it’s logical to expect a higher discount value on physical goods than on digital ones.

Data backs this assumption up since digital goods’ discount average 35% when physical goods are closer to 24%.


4. Discounts under 10% often backfire

Brands sometimes get lost in the math and forgot the feelings of their customers. The number of angry Tweets related to a single-digit student discount was surprisingly high. This doesn’t necessarily mean that those student discount campaigns got bad financial results. But it surely gave a hard time to their social media managers.


5. Permissive verification processes

Initial fear when considering offering a student discount is: “Will people cheat? Will student discounts cost me money”. And it’s perfectly reasonable to experience this fear.

But in real-life, the verification process is quite light. Most of the time, customers will be asked either for their student ID card in the physical world and for a <.edu> email address. The reasons behind are 2-fold:

  • Satisfied student customers will grow up and eventually become grown-up customers.
  • Thorough verification costs time and money.

We can assume pretty safely that the benefit of securing young customers long-term overcomes the loss of income from the few potential cheaters.


6. Securing long-term customers

Apple, Netflix, Spotify, and many other big names offer student discounts. All made the conscious choice to trade some of their short-term margin for the long-term benefits. Putting products early into customers’ hands builds familiarity and loyalty towards the brand.

7. Student discounts cannibalizing target audiences

Asos, Pretty Little Thing, Zara: A significant share of brands offering student discounts are targeting students in the first place. So why giving a discount when all your prospects risk using it and ruin your margins?

They’re a trigger to action. It’s the moment bystanders are waiting for to take action and feel like they’re getting a good deal out of it. Those deals are often time-limited to accentuate the feeling of urgency.


Student discounts are a great way to push a younger audience towards buying your product over the competitor’s. Some keys-of-success to making your student discount campaign a success, in the short and long-term, while minimizing fraud are:

  • Set time-constraint. Make your discount is limited for a period of time to lead prospects towards taking action.
  • Restrict it to some products. Limit your Student discount to some items or services. It’s unlikely a student will need your “Enterprise plan”, and if he or she really needs it, they can reach out to you and explain their need.
  • Advertise it. Make it obvious on your site there’s a discount available, and show the steps to avoid them asking your support. Exportator is a great tool to automate and secure student discount attribution for digital products. Referral programs also work great among younger, money-sensitive crowds.
  • Experiment with discounted amount. Low discounts will backfire, but too much is bad business for you. In doubt, give a low 2-digits discount, check at what competitor do, or A/B discounts values to see what you can get away with.

If you’re interested in getting the most out of your promotional campaigns, Exportator helps you automate promotions, display them at the right time and place, and analyze and improve your sales. Start your free trial now!

Jules Maregiano

Jules studied export and was in charge of marketing a fast-growing SaaS. He created exportator after realizing the power of PPP for digital sales growth and to make the web cool again.

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