Complex Made Simple

Millennials don’t respond to ads. So how can brands reach them?

Why does Gen Z continue to be elusive for advertisers?

The shifting of advertising budgets into the digital space brings a number of great opportunities and efficiencies, but it also brings many complexities.

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Without question, targeting audiences across digital channels is a challenging feat for advertisers, agencies and publishers. And it is not getting easier.

Each generation comes with a unique set of behaviours and presents a unique set of challenges for those looking to reach them.

According to a report by Nielsen, for the last decade or so, Millennials have been the generation that every brand has had to engage as their spending power has grown.

With this generation now past teenage years, however, digital advertisers are shifting their focus to the succeeding generation, Generation Z or Gen Z.

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Like Millennials, this generation spends significant amounts of time on social media sites and video source platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube searching for content that is engaging and entertaining.

According to Nielsen’s report written by Gracia Acoba, Senior Research Analyst; Josh Hopson, Client Service Executive; Paige Sontag, Senior Research Analyst; Yasmin Hussain, Senior Research Analyst, digital advertisers need to focus on targeting their campaigns to these upcoming influential spenders on products and brands.

The research found one key difference in advertising that may explain why Gen Z is proving more elusive to reach than the preceding generation, Younger Millennials.

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Is programmatic effective?

A larger number of ad campaigns in Canada, for instance, targeted to Gen Z are programmatic, using automated processes to allocate digital advertising spend, compared to those targeted at Young Millennials.

By focusing more on programmatic advertising, advertisers may be trying to break free from the traditional media buying methods in a hope to get hold of this generation’s attention which is bombarded with endless content every second.

But with advertisers relying more on computer algorithms to buy ad space, it begs the question: is this path really effective to reach Gen Z? As programmatic advertising becomes increasingly popular and pervasive, it will become more complex to engage the desired target effectively and, in time, execute successful campaigns.

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There is an impending need to understand the unique preferences of this defining generation and build customised and creative campaigns that yield better results, the research notes.