The Millennial Ad Influence
Written by: Stefanie Beach, Founder & CEO of SMB Media Consulting
It seems like every client we speak with these days is looking to "target a younger demographic," "appeal to millennials," or "reach young decision makers." Millennials are not only the target for so much digital content and online only products, but have also shifted the way these publishers and brands market and sell themselves. Adding new media types (like streaming audio, connected TV, mobile video or wearables) to new formats (like vertical video, gaming, social media - Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) and everywhere in between.
Appealing to this audience isn't just about being able to target them from any environment or device, but to really appeal to them as individuals. Traditional advertising is becoming far too impersonal for the everyday millennial. More than half of overall consumers who research products or brands learn about them on different social media platforms. With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram taking over the digital landscape, offering effective, efficient highly targetable strategies, what better way to get up close and personal with your prospective clients/readers with these advantages than to work with these platforms? Digital brands/publishers have to adjust their marketing strategies to the new way this generation is communicating and interacting with others online, which include influencer marketing, YouTube targeting and post-click marketing.
These technologies are driving digital brands to become more innovative with how they push content out to consumers—as well as with the content they are sharing and posting themselves. It is because of this that this generation is a bit more trusting of advertising. This immediate nature of knowing more allows them to access immediate resources that are available to help them discover if a brand's message is misleading or not. They tend to do more research so to speak, asking friends, checking out a brand's site, social media and customer comments, ratings and/or feedback. Getting to know what type of customer service and brand image is out there before making a purchase seems to be the new norm.
Recommendations from friends or people they know can have a strong impact on making a purchase as well. According to Hubspot data, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others. This may be driven by millennials distrust of brands and traditional advertising, as previously mentioned. They simply tend to believe what their peers say, seek their opinions and often validation.
Another study from Defy found that 58% of Millennials don’t mind watching ads to support their favorite digital personalities. The majority (80%) prefers a 15-second preroll ad, while 53% will tolerate a one-minute spot. Up to 89% of respondents said that 5-second intros featuring a sponsor is mostly fine with them, while 87% do approve of product placements in videos, e.g. when an influencer demonstrates a product or shouts out to a sponsor. Wow!
So I guess that means Influencer marketing is a real thing, and social media is important. Paying attention to the message, image and replies of what you are putting out into the universe is just as important as what people are saying about you. It has become far more important to Millennials than any catchy ad or commercial. In fact, Millennials are changing the entire face of marketing as we know it! They make up 25% of the population (that's 3X the size of Generation X and also a greater percentage than baby boomers). It is also said that they spend $200 billion on an annual basis. The impact of this market is huge! Of course we will give them what they want…
The moral of this story is to be relevant and open to change. If a younger demographic is who you are targeting, you have to appeal to them in ways that make sense and build trust. Even if that means you may feel uncomfortable or may have to try something different. Ensure the image your brand/site is putting forth is one to be proud of and ensure you have the talent to advise you on tactics, analyze results and help you with the transition into this new marketing world. After all trust is a powerful thing.
Stefanie is the founder and CEO of SMB Media Consulting. Being in digital advertising since 2006 and working on the buy and sell side of the business has given her a unique approach to clients business. She lives in the Bronx with her wonderful husband Nick and 6 year old daughter Audrey.