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Advertising to Millennials? Do It Digitally and Keep It Short, Says Study

Published on January 25, 2012

“The 79 million Millennials in the U.S. have an estimated purchasing power of $170 billion dollars per year," said comScore Vice President Bert Miklosi. "Their comfort-level with the Internet and technology in general makes the digital medium an ideal platform for reaching these individuals.”

The digital market research firm has released its report Next-Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials. The report highlights results from the company’s study that identifies unique characteristics of the “Millennial generation” (persons born between 1981 and 2000, thus, 12-31 years of age). comScore examined Millennials’ responses to different types of advertising, including TV and digital, compared to older generations, and how marketers can most effectively target this demographic segment.

The medium is ideal, but the Millenial is generally more difficult to persuade via advertising than their older counterparts. This said Miklosi underscores “the importance of creative and messaging optimization in driving worthwhile returns from an investment in advertising to this segment.” Also true, to quote the report, “It is harder for advertising to achieve breakthrough and catch the attention of Millennials, who are notorious for multitasking and short attention spans.” In fact, their immediate recall is the lowest of any age group—at 43%, 9% lower than that of seniors. Still, their delayed recall was strongest among age groups, at 24%.

Courtesy comScore, Inc.

Other key findings:

  • The defining characteristics of Millennials include their comfort-level with new technologies and cultural diversity, as well as being accustomed to on-demand access to entertainment, continual stimulation and extreme multitasking.
  • Millennials tend to be less interested and more difficult to connect with, capture attention, impress, convince and entertain. Millennials also appear to be more price-sensitive, perhaps due to lower disposable incomes.
  • Digital advertising performs better in relative terms among Millennials than does television advertising.
  • Across generations including Millennials, the presence of key creative elements in advertising, coined by comScore as the Validated Drivers, were shown to relate strongly to successful advertising.
  • Millennials are highly engaged with the content that they choose to view, within both television and digital environments. Engagement has been shown to amplify the effectiveness of advertising, so when targeting Millennials, it is important to utilize engaging content to help boost returns from investments in advertising.