Marketers Targeting Generation of MillennialsCoveted, young digital consumers have buying power, brand awareness 4/11/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
In this year's upfront, many advertisers will
be looking to reach Millennials, a generation of consumers
that is becoming an economic force.
“There is no mainstream marketer who is not targeting
this group right now,” says Laura Nathanson, executive VP
for ad sales at ABC Family.
In a recent research report, media agency OMD calculated
that Millennials—people born between 1981 and
1995 who are now between the ages of 15 and 29—have
11% more buying power than the Baby Boomers did
when they were young.
OMD figures there are 55 million Millennials. Research
company Frank N. Magid Associates, which studies the
generation extensively, defi nes them as those 15 to 34
years old, which raises their ranks to 86 million, based on
Census Bureau figures.
By Magid’s count, they make up 27% of the total U.S.
population and 52% of TV’s key adults-18-to-49 sales
While Millennials are considered the digital generation,
TV remains important to them.
Among Millennials, watching television on a TV set
ranked as their third favorite leisure activity, cited by 11%,
according to a recent Magid Media Futures report. Their
top two activites were using the Internet on a computer
(23%) and console gaming (15%). By comparison, TV
ranks second among Generation
Xers and Boomers.
Among Millennials with
cable or satellite service,
44% say they regularly
watch full-length TV shows
online, compared with 28%
of Xers and 21% of Baby
The leading reason why
Millennials watch programs
online is because they
missed the episodes on TV,
with 70% giving that reason,
compared with 68% of Xers
and 71% of Boomers. Millennials
and Xers both liked
online video because they could watch it at any time.
But fewer Millennials say they were watching online because
it was free (53%) compared with Boomers (79%)
or Xers (72%). Millennials were also less likely to say they
watched programs online because there were fewer and
“Millennials are more driven by lifestyle than cost savings,”
says Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director, Magid
“A lot of our clients are interested in getting more information
on this sub-segment within the population,” says
Erin Bilezikjian-Johnson, associate director, custom research
and insights at OMD. “Marketers
have keyed into the fact that this group
will be telling the Great Recession stories
to their grandkids. It has very much
impacted the way Millennials shop and
probably will continue to do so into the
OMD: TV Still Important
OMD found in its research that while
Millennials are digitally oriented, they
also rely on traditional media. That
means that when planning media campaigns
to reach Millennials, traditional
media should be included.
Television is the most prevalent
source for how Millennials first learn
about products and services, according
to OMD. TV was named by 57%
of Millennials, followed by friends at
29%, family at 26%, search engines at
22% and magazines at 21%. Social network
websites were named by 10% as where they first
become aware of products and services; the Internet on
a mobile device was also cited by 10%; and deal-of-theday
websites were named by 9%.
“This supports the idea that you shouldn’t move entirely
away from television for younger-skewing brands
and products,” says Chris Geraci, president for national
broadcast at OMD. “There’s plenty of choices within the
television platform to put advertising in an entertaining
environment that resonates more deeply with the younger
Millennials are “used to being bombarded with advertising
wherever they turn,” and filter and manage
their exposure to advertising, the OMD study found.
They dislike when advertising moves into their personal
space, so they use DVRs to watch their favorite shows or
turn to online services like Hulu or Netflix where commercial
loads are lower.
But overall, they are receptive to advertising. In OMD’s
surveys, 51% say they didn’t mind seeing ads in video
games, and only 22% say they would pay a subscription
fee to avoid seeing ads when using the Internet on their
computer (60% disagreed). And 37% of Millennials say
that seeing an ad they like for a product or service they recently
bought makes them feel better about their purchase.
Younger-skewing networks The CW, MTV and ABC
Family aim programming at Millennials.
“They are just moving into their own homes, and that
group happens to be huge purchasers,” says ABC Family’s
Nathanson. “Those families have the most kids in their
homes. They spend more at the grocery store, they spend
more at the mall.”
Marketers are trying to reach even those in the 12-to-18
age bracket “because they become good consumers for the
next 20 to 30 years,” Nathanson says. “It’s not that Boomers
don’t buy. They just don’t buy with the frequency and
numbers that the Millennials do.”
ABC Family sells the 12-to-34 demo to clients in the
movie and technology categories, but primarily still sells
based on 18-to-49 year-old audiences. And marketers in
all categories, even automotive and packaged goods, are
seeing the rising infl uence of Millennial consumers.
“When we first started out [programming for Millennials],
the phone companies were targeting 25-to-54 yearolds.
Now they’re targeting 12-to-34 year-olds,” Nathanson
says. “The moms may be buying the phone, but the
kids are choosing which phones they buy.”