Advertising has come a long way from the days of Don Draper and his (m)ad men, a time when television — not content — was king, and when the daily paper was still revered and acknowledged as the prime source of all news.
Today’s most-engaged media consumers need to be swayed by more than flashy TV commercials, catchy slogans, and jingles.
Millennials are looking for substance, sustainability, and rely heavily on social media for recommendations. Let’s take a look at 6 facts and stats you need to keep in mind when advertising your product to this generation, who pack quite a fair amount of purchasing power.
Some Millennial Facts to Consider
In order to advertise successfully to anyone, you need to understand the audience you are marketing to. As far as millennials are concerned, here are some facts:
- People born between 1981 and 1996 are considered millennials – which means that even people in their very early forties and late thirties fall into this category.
- Millennials are also the largest living generation, since 2019 when they overtook baby boomers.
- Millennials also claim that they are more likely to shop online than before, a fact we have the recent pandemic to thank for.
- They are ready to pay higher prices for luxuries or premium items or premium experiences. Their disposable income is most often spent on tech and fashion.
- They are very passionate about social responsibility, and are perfectly ready to drop a brand that has been their favorite for years if they perceive it to be promoting inequality, or are not ready to become sustainable.
- However, they are also incredibly loyal, and usually have a brand they repeatedly shop from in every category of product.
Having said all that, let’s now explore the best ways to ingratiate yourself with your millennial audience, and ensure that the advertisements you are delivering are what they are actually looking for.
Most millennials prefer native advertising, as they are enticed by a seamless, unaggressive form of marketing. They don’t actually trust the traditional forms of advertising anymore, that are often biased or even outright false (or at least, appears so).
Millennials will very rarely be swayed by hard-sell and pushy sales pitches, and prefer to shop in a way that feels organic to them. They are much more likely to be persuaded by a social media influencer than a TV ad. This means native advertising is ideal for your millennial audience, as native ads are easily integrated into social platforms and content millennials are already consuming on the open web.
Your focus should be on establishing your brand as a thought leader and expert in your field – with people behind the brand, rather than some idea that is not tangible. Your aim is to offer relatable, reliable, and actionable advice from company representatives across all of your platforms, from your blog to social media.
You should also invest a chunk of your advertising budget in native ads. The surroundings of your ad should contextually relate to the ad itself, so carefully select your visuals and your copy – we know it’s an ad and the purpose behind it, so try to create your ads to appear as organic as possible.
Platforms like Taboola help you create visually appealing native ads, at the same time helping you keep track of your budget, ad impressions, clicks, conversion rates and more.
Ensure Brand Authenticity
As millennials prefer to do business with brands that display their authenticity at all times, one of your main marketing tasks is to align your messaging with your core values.
For starters, your core values themselves need to be defined and outlined around principles you truly believe in. If you mistakenly construct them aiming to merely please your audience, you won’t be able to uphold them consistently. When you slip up for the first time, your audience will call you out and take action against you.
When your values are truly authentic, you are able to showcase them organically, as well. For instance, if you are passionate about diversity, this will be reflected in your product shoots. You will instinctively hire models of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. If you are passionate about sustainability, you will invest in sustainable packaging and do your bit to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint.
It’s not about what you “say” your values are, either. If you have to design an ad campaign to prove you are X or Y, chances are you really are not. And your millennial audience will not hesitate to find the values they are passionate about elsewhere.
Ensure Convenience and a Pleasant UX
Millennials are often ready to pay extra for a premium service. Faster shipping, better packaging, millennials are all about convenience. Most large brands have already jumped on this opportunity , and have expanded their delivery, packaging and loyalty perk options.
Case in point: Walmart. They have expanded the number of stores that offer same-day delivery to over 3,000 stores to be able to keep up with Amazon’s similar service. And this expansion has not been to their detriment, quite the contrary.
In the real world, your goal is to make shopping, delivery, payment and returns as easy as possible. If millennials perceive they may have to go out of their way to take possession of a parcel, they’ll just go somewhere else.
But convenience matters in the digital ad world as well. Converting needs to be just as convenient and just as simple. The UX of every single touchpoint needs to be as flawless as possible.
Your website should be fast, tidy, responsive, easy to use, easy to search, and easy to understand. Your social media profiles need to be active and engaged. Your paid ads should be native and blend into their environments.
Superior service and a superior brand experience: that is your main advertising goal.
Personalization and Understanding are Key
Marketing and advertising personalization is no longer a new concept. It has, in fact, become the new norm.
One of the ways you can take your own campaigns further is to rely on real-life data to create personalized ads for your audiences. Basing your creatives on imaginary buyer personas no longer cuts it. Especially because your customer demographic is constantly]evolving, and faster than ever, due to the sheer volume of potential customers your ads are exposed to daily.
Monitor customer behavior and modify your ads accordingly. Something you have dreamed up in the creative lab may turn out to be converting fewer leads than expected. Dive deep into the cold hard figures to understand why.
You can use mind maps to help you outline different concepts and specifically target a customer’s pain points. What is a mind map, you ask? It’s a visual representation of your creative ideas, reminiscent of speech bubbles or thought clouds. It saves you the time you would need to write out entire sentences, and makes it easier to link different concepts and ideas together.
Once you have collected a substantial amount of data about your engaged audience (those who have clicked from an ad to your website), consider using Taboola’s Advertiser Website Audiences to retarget in your campaigns based on who is visiting or interacting with your website. For example, you can create an audience composed of users who have visited a certain section of your site. Targeting a website audience allows you to reach qualified users with more specific or sequential messaging.
You want to craft every ad and sales message with your end user in mind. You are offering real solutions to real humans, not rehashing content that we’ve seen hundreds of times before. Don’t just contribute to the digital clutter.
Play the Long Game
Focus on establishing long-term relationships with your customers and hitting multiple touchpoints rather than converting a millennial as quickly as you possibly can.
A quick conversion may lead to a one-off sale, but once a millennial becomes a regular customer and keeps racking up positive brand experiences, chances are they will remain loyal for a long time. As loyal customers are more valuable than new ones, it will always be worth your while to spend more time wooing a lead.
If we’ve learned anything about marketing in 2020, it’s that we need to keep diversifying our messaging and remain focused on our brand voice and values. While the ability to adapt is, of course, crucial, we are adapting to the needs of our customers, and not to the demands of a new market.
Focus on Diversity and Inclusivity
Millennials are demanding equality and change, and your brand needs to reflect these values. Your employees need to come from all kinds of backgrounds, as well.
Even if you are specifically catering to a certain group of people, you are not likely to reach your target audience if you deliberately exclude a whole range of customers.
2020 has seen a lot of beauty and skincare brands being called out for their lack of inclusivity and their very limited shade ranges. Brands like Dove and Aerie, who have been embracing inclusivity forever, have thus managed to retain and widen their appeal, in the aftermath of our collectively raised social awareness.
Millennials are a very diverse bunch. They are demanding, have grown used to readily-available access to anything they need at any time, require transparency, and are ready to invest their time (and dollars) in causes and companies they believe in.
They are forgiving in the face of honesty, ready to back an unknown contender, and willing to do their bit for a better tomorrow.
As such, all they essentially demand from your advertising efforts is the most simple yet most difficult feat in the world. Just be yourself.