In the past, advertising was a lot less personal. Generic messages were sent out to the masses, and this type of advertising was generally successful with the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations. This changed when Millennials came of age. This audience is the same generation that made “selfie” a household word. Millennials have a whole different expectation of companies and the media that they consume – which has affected how marketers advertise to this age group.
Who are “Millennials”?
Millennials are generally defined as anyone born between 1980 and 2000. They are the “largest and most educated generation in U.S. history”. Another way to define this generation is that they were born with technology, and they are early adopters of new tech. Most of them grew up with computers and had cell phones from an early age.
Many attribute this generation with “narcissistic” personality traits, but they are also a group that puts a huge emphasis on doing good – especially by the companies for which they work. They are racially diverse and have high expectations for both their personal and professional lives. While they have had a lot of adversity when it comes to financial issues and professional growth, Millennials are also extremely optimistic.
How Do Millennials Interact with Media?
Millennials spend a lot of time on consuming media. A recent study indicates that they spend nearly 18 hours a day using different types of media. Further, most Millennials consume this media while using different devices – often at the same time, i.e. watching a video on their laptop while texting on their phone and listening to music on their tablet. They also consume more on these devices than past generations did. Millennials spend on average approximately 14 percent more time on mobile devices than their predecessors.
This study also showed that 71% use social media with over 5 hours spent looking at user-generated content. This means that nearly 30% of their time is consumed by social networks and online content. While many Millennials still use the older social media stalwarts (think Facebook and Twitter), they have actively embraced the newer networks, especially Snapchat, Instagram and Vine, over the traditional social networks.
How to Market to Millennials
Millennials are not going to be content with mass media messages. They like two-way communication with companies with which they do business. They tend to engage with companies and brands “far more extensively, personally, and emotionally—and in entirely different ways—than have other generations”. Responsive social media is important to them. They expect their questions answered, their complaints addressed, and the company to show that they care about the Millennials’ needs and wants. Advertising with personalization for millennials is key.
Ads must be personal and relatable to the person’s interests and pain points.This means that personalized advertising will grow in importance for this group, and marketers will have to create targeted ads on different platforms, i.e mobile and social media. Social ads are typically preferred by this generation over banner ads.
Overall, marketing to Millennials will have to become a lot more strategic – meaning that companies will have to move away from just sending out generic, mass media messages and ads if they wish to engage Millennials. Social media and advertising will have to become more targeted, responsive and personal to get the attention of this large, diverse and economically-important generation.