Advertising That Appeals to a Younger Generation

If you take a look at the past 60 years, it’s crazy how marketing and advertising have changed over the time. Back in 1950-60s, traditional advertising was the crowned king: sales people had the most information, they dictated the buying rules and habits of people, because there was simply no way but to trust them.

Moving to generation X (those born somewhere in between 1965-1980), buying habits shifted slightly with magazines, television and radio advertising being at the very tops. Though a bit more tech savvy than their parents, generation X was still responsive to traditional advertising and sales reps still held their spot in their lives.

With the emergence of Internet and generation Y or Millennials (those born in between late 1980s and early 1990s) advertising suffered its first big blow. Traditional methods didn’t work as they used to anymore and with more and more information becoming public, a major shift in the advertising mentality was coming.

People didn’t want to be pushed into buying products. TV and radio were used less and less, while the internet usage was growing fast. The world was going online, and advertisers needed to follow suit or risk being out of business.

Moreover, the mentality of the Millennials was very different than that of their parents. If generation X would still believe ads and commercials, most Millennials would review products online before making their decision. They trusted people, not commercials.

Lastly, generation Z, (those born in 2000+) the most tech savvy people you can find. If generation X came across the digital world and embraced it, generation Z was born into it. With this generation on the rise, advertisers have to do more than shift their mentality, they have to become one of them.

Defining your target group

With all of this in mind, first you need to think about who you are targeting with your advertising. “Younger people” is a very broad range of demographics and given the info above, these are very different people with different buying habits.

It will make the most sense to go for Millennials or Generation Z, since the Millennials:

  • Are on average 18-24 years old now
  • 78 percent finished high school
  • About half of them university graduates
  • About 40 percent of Millennials make 75k a year
  • Currently are the largest labor force in the US (over 58.5 million)
  • Are expected to be the largest audience (be generations) by the end of 2015

Generation Z is going to be your next best consumer. With around 80 million representatives and their spending around $200 billion annually, generation Z is really starting to take over and will devour Millennials in terms of size. They value freedom, liberty, are very diverse and forge their own future, unlike every other generation.

This is one of the main reasons why so many people turn to behavioral advertising nowadays. Behavioral advertising is a technique utilized by advertisers that suggests ads to the given audience on multiple platforms, based on the collected information of their web browsing behavior.

With enough information about the browsing habits of the consumers, the chances to reach the correct people with your advertising increase dramatically.

Targeting is the phase where you need to invest most of your time, effort and resources. The clearer you define your target, the more chances to be successful with your advertising efforts. Moreover, different target groups prefer different types of content and design:

  • Gen Z prefers less text and more visuals with creative, innovative, smart, fun design
  • Millennials are inclined to read more text, but also prefer visuals (though not as much as Gen Z). Design is less of an issue for them in comparison.

In each case, you need to really understand their mentality and the way they make a purchase, in order to make advertisements that would appeal to them. Some experts tend to combine those two generations into one gigantic millennial generation, but separating them makes much more sense. The more you can narrow your target group, the more responses and engagement you will earn with your efforts.

No matter which audience you decide to focus on, one thing is very clear: online advertising is essential for your business. Digital era is upon us, and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Research is your best friend

To keep up with the newest trends, constant market research is an absolute must. While you can hire a firm to conduct the research for you, this is something that you can do on your own to some extent.

Talk to your target group representatives, understand where they tend to spend most of their free time, read blogs, reviews, visits websites, learn what they like and dislike, etc. The more information you got, the more opportunities you will have to reach them.

Social media is a top priority

Social media is the top priority platform you want to be advertising on. Even if you need to pick just one advertising platform, social media beats everything else. About 60 percent of Millennials use social media to find news and information, and over 90 percent spend time on social media websites.

While Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram make the most popular social media websites today, there are a lot of other platforms that can effectively be utilized by advertisers since the audience tends to go far and beyond the known and explore something new and venture into the unknown.

If you are thinking about how to reach new consumers, then the not so popular, newly emerging social media platforms are a good place to start. Visit those platforms and look for ways you can utilize them for advertising.

Advertising by sex via Social

If you are advertising products that purely lean towards males or females, it’s a good idea to know which channel appeals to men or women most. Here is a chart showing that there are more women on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest than men.

Advertising by sex via Social

Advertising by Age groups via Social

Since your target groups may vary greatly, you need to know which social media platforms they prefer to spend time on. Close to 90 percent of youngsters are on Facebook, and about 50 percent have active Instagram accounts.

Advertising by Age groups via Social

Advertising by Education level via Social

If you are more inclined to base your targeting on education levels, here is a chart showing the social media presence of consumers by platform of choice, based on their education level. Facebook is the leader like everywhere else, since it’s the most widely used social media platform in the world. In contrast to previous charts, LinkedIn takes the second place here, mainly dominated by young college graduates and people at the beginning of their careers.

Advertising by Education level via Social

Advertising by personal income via Social

Another good point to base your advertising strategy on is personal income level. Here is a chart showing where people like to spend time, based on how much money they make.

Advertising by personal income via Social

Based on the information above, this is what we get:

  • Facebook is the place where you want to be advertising, regardless of how you decide to target people
  • Pinterest is good for reaching out young and educated women
  • Instagram is the ideal place for younger people (especially women)
  • Professional and educated audience is mainly focused on LinkedIn
  • Twitter is a also a good channel for young, educated and wealthy people, covering a slightly wider range of those than LinkedIn, though at the same time being more generic
Blogs are trending like never before

If there is debate on certain points concerning advertising to younger people, there is one thing that everybody agrees on: blogs are important to youngsters. A few quick facts:

  • 81% of consumers trust blogs
  • 61% of US consumers made a purchase based on a blog
  • 82% enjoy reading relevant content in a blog

This makes trending blogs a good choice for advertisers. If people trust the blog and its content, there is a good chance they will also trust the advertisements in their favorite blogs.

You can ask bloggers to review your products, create content around your product, discuss the features and benefits, etc.

Find bloggers or blogging websites that your audience tend to follow consistently and talk to them about placing your ads in their blogs. This might be expensive, but in the end will bring more results than if you place your ads here and there for less money. You need to get results.

Don’t forget Mobile

Mobile internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time in 2014 and continued to rise in 2015. This means that more people are using their smartphones to engage on social media, make purchases, navigate websites, find useful information, etc.

Regardless of who you choose to target, mobile advertising is going to make a huge difference. Despite this information, statistics show that advertisers still lag behind the mobile internet usage and giving preference to desktop, which results in opportunity cost of $25 billion.

With the mobile trend going up and up, mobile gaming isn’t lagging behind too much. Tons of gaming applications are being used by young consumers every day, making App Store and Google Play a very profitable choices for advertisers.

Be all over the place

Once you have clearly defined your target group, learned about their buying habits, know where they spend most of their time and have enough information, it’s time to get the show on the road. You should utilize every advertising channel that you know is going to benefit your business goals. Don’t stop on just social media or blogging: use them all.

Be simple, Yet creative

When it comes to younger people, simplicity and creativity are the two most valued parameters in any type of content, including ads. Youngsters want to get more with less, while also find something unique for themselves in the content. Unlike their elders, younger people believe in themselves and are much more confident in shaping their own future.

When thinking about the design of your ads, putting simplicity and creativity over everything else is a great idea. Try to include less text with more visuals, while presenting it in a unique way. Also think about how every youngster wants to see the ad as personal and feel that it has been made just for him or her.

Real world is still important!

As much as online advertising is trending nowadays, the real world shouldn’t be crossed out as a non-viable option. Creative Billboard advertisements still manage to attract lots of attention and when executed well, they can make a difference.

With all of this in mind, you have to change the way you advertise more than you think. Simple online advertising isn’t going to work anymore, you need to offer people something valuable with your ad to attract them.

In the era of digital information almost every topic is available for people if they want to research it and younger people prefer to do the research on their own. Make your ads smart, insightful and valuable for your audience to capture their attention and maximize your chances to be successful in your advertising ventures.

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3 Comments

  1. The 2014 Department of Labor stats say that 4% of people age 15-24 make over $55k/year

    So “About 40 percent of Millennials make 75k a year” – is completely made up.

    The total US Labor Force is 110Million,,, making it impossible for Millennials to be almost half of the labor force… “Largest Labor Force at 58.5 Million”

    This article is a train wreck and full of FALSE statistics.

    I suggest you take it down… it has already destroyed your blog’s credibility with me…

    • Hi Matt, thanks for your comment however it’s not accurate. First of all millenials are considered all people born after the 80s so it’s not only those who are 15-24 years old. Secondly the US labor force is around 157m http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/laus/us/usadj.htm

      Lastly there would be links to sources but for some reason external links are not allowed on InstantShift

  2. Yes, Your advice is most creative and professional. I get more experience to the post. Thanks for sharing.

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