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10 essential things to keep in mind when advertising to millennials

Millennials can prove to be quite the elusive bunch for traditionally-minded advertisers, but like any other generation, you need to understand how they see the world to figure out how to advertise to them.

Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025 59% of millennials say they’re living paycheck to paycheck - only 38% feel financially stable 84% of millennials stated they did not like traditional marketing and, what’s more, they didn’t trust it

As more and more millennials enter the job market and become active members of society, advertisers continue to struggle to understand them. After all, millennials have proven quite different from other generations, their personalities and expectations of brands subconsciously shaped by their concentrated use of technology. They have shorter attention spans, are more visual, and are after instant gratification.

According to Deloitte, millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. So, as an advertiser, it’s time to do your homework on this new generation before it’s too late. 

Here are 10 things to know you need to understand about millennials before you’ll be able to effectively advertise to them. 

1. Millennials are highly educated 

Education today is more important than ever. Naturally, millennials are now set to be the most educated generation ever, according to Pew Research Center. 

To connect with this high calibre of consumer, advertising material needs to be smart – factually and creatively. 

2. Millennials are also highly socially responsible 

Not only are millennials highly educated, but they’re also green citizens, so to speak. They appreciate brands that are socially and environmentally responsible, and as such, are often prone to reacting positively to advertising that carries a green message. 

3. Millennials spend more conservatively

As a natural outcome of the economic era they grew up in, millennials have had to learn to be thrifty. 

As reported by The Independent, “a Charles Schwab survey published last month found that almost two-thirds of millennials, 59%, say they’re living paycheck to paycheck and only 38% feel financially stable.

“With the wallet of the Millennial being tight, advertisers should consider looking beyond the interest of their audience and look at how the consumer is changing because of the economic constraints they are operating under,” The Independent explained. 

4. They are very “sociable”

It’s kind of ironic calling today’s generation sociable, at least in classic terms. Millennials are “sociable,” yes, but mostly online. They are active on multiple platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat, switching between them by the second. 

This means social media is the perfect avenue to target them. Findings of Adobe Digital Insights’ (ADI) “State Of Digital Advertising” report revealed that millennials (and Generation Z) agree that ads on social media platforms are the most relevant to them.  

This is further supplemented by the fact that millennials want to engage on these platforms with the brands and their ads. In other words, advertising is no longer a one-way model of communication, but instead is a mutual exchange of information and feedback. This is why charismatic social media managers are a must today. 

5. Most of them own smartphones 

Excess social media usage equals to equally excess time spent on smartphones. ADI’s report also linked millennials’ high usage of social media with their usage of smartphones, identifying another opportunity for advertisers. In fact, as per a Nielsen study, 85% of US millennials own a smartphone

6. They are visually-stimulated 

Another facet of their love for social media, millennials are notorious for being visually stimulated. Creative video ads find major success with them, as well as interesting still designs. It wasn’t a coincidence that an app like Instagram blew up the way it did all these years ago.

7. They have short attention spans

Tying into the previous point, their social media surfing habits have led to millennials having short attention spans, especially when it comes to viewing advertising. Ads need to be quick, smart and creative. If content creators can create catchy Vines that last a mere 6 seconds, you need to be able to do the same, be it a Snap ad, or an Instagram story. It’s truly the art of short form content. 

8. They don’t harbour a lot of trust in ads 

Being as well-versed with the internet as they are, where every conceivable piece of information is accessible to them, millennials have learned to do their homework on brands and products. They do the research before purchasing, consulting user reviews and often times influencers for an unbiased opinion of a product before they pop open their wallets. 

According to a recent study conducted by the McCarthy Group, 84% of Millennials stated that did not like traditional marketing and, what’s more, they didn’t trust it, as reported by Forbes.

9. Influencers hold more power than you think  

There’s a reason influencer advertising has become its own facet of the marketing plane. Itself an offshoot of the tried-and-tested practice of celebrity endorsements: Influencers are much more relatable to the average consumer (or their particular niche) than a million-dollar footballer or singer. Furthermore, they allow for a genuine opportunity for conversation and discussion regarding a product. 

10. Millennials are after experiences

A stagnant economic landscape, coupled with rising prices and decreasing wages, has led to millennials seeking experiences over static objects. They would opt to go on an $800 vacation rather than spend that money on a high-quality 4K TV, for example, contradicting the way previous generations would have reasoned through this choice.

Millennials have foregone long-term commitments such as home and car ownership in favour of opportunities to have fun (cliché as it sounds) and to make memories. They don’t want to be tied down like they feel their parents were. While we won’t debate the soundness of this way of life, it’s an opportunity for advertisers to reconfigure their marketing campaigns and how they go about selling products, even the most traditional of them.