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Marketing to Millennials: demystifying a generation

Generation Y is enormous and their buying power is rapidly increasing, leaving marketers scrambling to reach them. The big secret is to treat them like Millennials instead of getting frustrated that they’re not Boomers.

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Reaching the Millennial generation

Generation Y, also known as Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1995, and already outnumber Baby Boomers and out power their parents in spending power, so marketers are salivating over how to reach this generation who values the opinions of strangers online equally to the opinions of their friends and family. How does a brand market to Millennials in this environment? The first step is understanding the most common traits of the generation.

The most obvious trait is that Millennials grew up with technology, so they are hard to impress by touting that you have a website, no, that is expected of your business. Many technologies are taken for granted, and in some cases, being shed over time, like television, which most Millennials do not watch, rather stream through the web. It is not uncommon for a Millennial to own multiple technological devices or to have paid a great deal of money on them, and the generation average $24.74 spent on coffee drinks, having grown up with a Starbucks on every corner, meanwhile their professional counterparts over the age of 45 spend an average of $14.15 per week.

The generation is known to be altruistic, generous, concerned with the environment and their impact on the world, but are also impatient and value a fast experience over a lengthy customer service endeavor. Born as technology multi-taskers, the generation is wired to be constantly in a hurry and struggles to pay 100 percent attention to any one task, and are conditioned to receive thousands, if not millions of brand messages every day, so cutting through the noise is increasingly difficult. Almost all Millennials are on Facebook, and the majority have “liked” brands they favor on the social network.

Some say that Millennials have a sense of entitlement, and although few studies support that thus far, it is easy to see how a generation where every child got a trophy for participating is struggling to find their comfort zone in the work force. For this and many other reasons, it is not uncommon for Millennials to become entrepreneurs as many do not feel that they fit into a corporate structure.

As a creative generation, marketers are having to find more creative ways to reach these buyers, many resorting to humor. Some are saying that Millennials require advertisements to be flashy and shiny, but the rise of the Apple products should show you that the generation can actually be quite minimalist.

Millennials are also a moving target for marketers, because the American Dream has shifted. Millennials are not ashamed to rent, are waiting until their 30s to get married and have children, and value creative perks at work over traditional vacation time structures.

There is no magic bullet for Millennials, the generation is still defining itself, but the most successful marketers tap into the wisdom of the generation rather than insulting them, and doesn’t try to force them to fit into their idea that all buyers are Boomers. Honesty, cleverness, and rapidness reign right now, but it is a moving target and in five years could look quite different.

Related reading

AGBeat has been writing about marketing to Millennials for years, and there has been a lot of exciting research published on the topic. Below is a selection of 12 useful articles for your consumption:

  1. 8 products Millennials will not buy in the future
  2. Millennials are more difficult to reach, but respond well to creative ads
  3. Technology has made Millennials impatient yet more complex thinkers
  4. How Millennials are conditioned to be entrepreneurs
  5. Why Millennials rely on friends’ and online strangers’ advice equally
  6. Millennials learning from their Boomer parents’ mistakes
  7. Portrait of the new Millennial businesswoman
  8. The ultimate guide to reaching Millennials
  9. Generation Starbucks
  10. Millennials are migrating into the city
  11. Millennials highly educated, highly underemployed: how they’ll absorb housing
  12. Millennials are well studied, but can still be persuaded

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. BenchmarkEmail

    May 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Great post! I do so much writing about marketing, that it’s weird to read about how I am being marketing to.

  2. Pingback: Millennials' attitudes towards possessions differ from other generations - AGBeat

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Business Marketing

Facebook adjusts how much repeat video views matter

(MARKETING) For video creators and marketers alike, Facebook updates can mean a world of difference. What’s new now?

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mid-roll facebook video

For Facebook Video, intent and repeat viewership matter. Recently, Facebook updated video distribution methods to build more effective monetization tools and improve viewing experiences for users, namely regarding video distribution, ad breaks, and pre-roll.

Most video watching on Facebook takes place in the news feed, making this a great place to reach target audiences. It is the primary hub of activity, featuring status updates, photos, app activity, and video posts.

New ranking methods promote videos people seek out or want to return to, like serial episodes from creators regularly publishing content. Partners fostering communities by actively posting weekly or daily content get a boost as well.

If content publishers link a Show Page with their regular Page, they can distribute episodes directly to followers. This makes it easier to maintain and grow audiences, connecting users with relevant content.

However, although New Feed is a popular zone for creators and publishers, Facebook expects video engagement to eventually move to Watch, the platform for shows. In Watch’s Discover tab, shows people come back to will be prioritized for more convenient access.

After all, News Feed isn’t the easiest place to go for returning viewers since they have to sift through a constantly changing barrage of status updates. Watch offers a place more akin to YouTube, where episodes and content are contained in one place.

Creating a Facebook Group for the show adds another level of engagement, providing viewers a social viewing experience to connect with other fans.

Putting videos and content in an appealing, easily accessible area makes your viewers likelier to stick around. Grouping similar content will encourage binging, keeping your viewers in one place to engage with your content.

If content is difficult to find, or re-find when showing friends, it’s less likely to spread.

Revisions to Ad Breaks will hopefully drive up engagement as well. Previously, videos were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were at least 90 seconds, and the ad could show up as early as twenty seconds into the video.

Starting in January, videos must be at least three minutes long to have an Ad Break, and the break won’t come until at least one minute has passed.

Although Ad Breaks benefit content creators with a share of the revenue, disruptions to already short videos can drive users away. Delaying the break may improve viewer satisfaction, keeping people watching longer.

Creators now have an Ad Break insights tab to better understand video monetization performance, tracking impressions and clicks per minute.

Additionally, Pages with over fifty thousand followers can now have Live Ad Breaks. Smaller Pages and Profiles aren’t eligible since Facebook determined these publishers are less likely to comply with their monetization guidelines. Plus, their audiences are typically smaller, meaning it’s more difficult to gain significant revenue from Ad Breaks.

Facebook also plans on testing six second pre-roll ads, but only in places like Watch since viewers are already actively seeking out this content.

Combining metrics tracking insight and updated distribution tactics with intentionally crafted content may promote repeat viewership, leading to more success for publishers.

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Business Marketing

How Snapchat earns over $1M a day on just one lil’ feature

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon, giving Snapchat more and more money – but what little feature rakes in so much cash!?

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snapchat 3d filters

Although Snapchat is still struggling to net a profit, they make a million dollars a day with branded AR lenses. If Snapchat can remain crazy popular with its users, this may help the company get out of its revenue slump.

Snapchat’s shares dropped 22 percent since their March IPO, and their Q3 earnings saw a revenue loss of $0.14 per share with the slowest user growth ever. But there’s still growth, and Snap has never really been profit focused anyways.

CEO Evan Spiegel certainly isn’t worried, publicly at least. Spiegel’s product strategies have been mirrored by Facebook and Instagram, and a huge chunk of teens prefer Snapchat over these other social media giants.

Which is why Snapchat can charge upwards of one million dollars a day for augmented reality lenses. Snap’s popularity, especially among teens and young adults with disposable income and social influence, bodes well with media agencies.

AR lenses are one of many features offered on Snapchat, allowing users to superimpose augmented reality images on pictures and videos. If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, the dancing hotdog is a testament to how easily an AR lens can turn into a meme.

In September, Snapchat introduced sponsored 3D World Lenses, giving advertisers the opportunity to feature targeted campaigns on the platform. Bladerunner 2049 was the first campaign at the launch, and since then Budweiser, BMW, and McDonalds have jumped on the bandwagon.

Pricing varies depending on when the lens goes live, if it’s a “premium” day like a holiday or anticipated movie release, and the targeting criteria of the agency. If a lens is specific to a region, for example, it’s not going to cost as much as a nationwide campaign.

In a report from Digiday, one NYC-based ad executive stated AR lenses are currently Snap’s most expensive ad product, and for some agencies it’s offered as a standalone purchase. Others reported Snapchat offered a “holistic media-buying plan,” including stickers and filters as well as AR lenses.

James Douglas, SVP and Executive Director of social media for Society explained Snapchat Ads are all about media negotiation, with some of his clients signing annual media contracts, while others may try out shorter stints.

“If it’s a well-known consumer packaged goods company, Snapchat may quote $200,000 for an AR lens, but not on a premium day,” he stated. “Snapchat is very flexible to negotiate media investments with agencies, and I like that.”

According to a Snapchat spokesperson, the base price for a 3D lens running up to 12 months is $300,000. However, the final price depends on if the lens is based on audience impressions or a national takeover on a premium day.

While the AR lenses are not necessarily driving sales for featured brands, users are completely engaged with lenses. Featured lenses are widely shared among users, and screenshots of particularly popular, interesting, or funny lenses end ups shared on other social media platforms.

Even if the lens is being mocked, that still leads to impressions since ultimately the ad is being spread when people send Snaps to friends and feature lenses in Snapchat Stories.

Right now, Snapchat is doing all the engineering for AR lenses. Agencies provide the ad assets and Snapchat creates the lens. Future plans involve opening up creation to select brands, as Spiegel announced in November.

Snapchat is testing a pilot program with Lens Studio, a self-service toolkit allowing advertisers to create their own lenses in as little as an hour. Eventually Snap plans on offering the AR toolkit to advertisers for free, but for now it’s only available to top clients.

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Business Marketing

Pantone’s 2018 color of the year (that you’ll see everywhere now): Ultra Violet

(MARKETING NEWS) Check out the Pantone color choice for 2018, and prepare to see it splashed across the internet and in print.

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pantone 2018

Much ado about a hue. Over the past year, Pantone encouraged us to reconnect with nature and once another through the promotion of Greenery, the fresh yellow-green color of 2017. It’s now time to take our personal and business potentials to a whole other level, as inspired by Ultra Violet, PANTONE 18-3838, which is the 2018 Color of the Year.

Now technically, Ultra Violet isn’t a shade of purple as the Pantone color square suggests. In fact, Ultra Violet is a spectrum of light waves that can’t be detected by the human eye in natural circumstances. But that’s kind of the point. Pantone purposefully selected this color to encourage inventiveness and imagination.

The color purple has long represented individuality and artistic expression. Think Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. When Ultra Violet was dubbed the iconic color of 2018, this symbolism was not overlooked. They are using Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple, to encourage individuals – and companies – to push boundaries and blaze their own trail.

Ultra Violet can have mystical and spiritual undertones, too. It’s been associated with mindfulness practices such as meditation, which can be a way to detach from today’s non-stop, information overloaded environment.

As a reflection of this new Color of the Year, we will likely see bright nail polishes, funky home décor, and vibrant fashion bring Ultra Violet into the marketplace. However, while material goods and designer’s color schemes are splashed with this dramatic shade of purple, Pantone encourages brands to use this color to inspire consumers to push for a better, and brighter future.

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

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