If you’re trying to reach millennials, you probably already know that radio, TV and (gasp) newspaper ads are ineffective… but did you know that online ads and social media posts aren’t necessarily attracting that 18- to 34-year-old demo either?
“Everything you know about advertising — chuck it,” Laura Desmond, chief executive of the Starcom MediaVest Group told The New York Times. “It’s a completely different world and game with millennials.”
That’s because millennials, who spend more time watching TV on demand or streaming them on services like Netflix and Amazon, tend to have short attention spans and bounce rapidly among smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
In fact, advertisers say the biggest hurdle is that millennials spend so much of their time on mobile devices, particularly phones.
According to the research firm comScore, millennials spend 41 percent of their media time on mobile devices, compared with 34 percent of those from 35 to 54, and 16 percent of those 55 and older. Even worse for advertisers, millennials are spending an inordinate amount of time in mobile apps, many of which are ad-free, instead of in web browsers.
“Brands need to re-engineer how they reach millennials,” said Matt Britton, chief executive of MRY a digital marketing agency that focuses on millennials. “[They] need to figure out how to add value to a consumer’s life. And if they do that, consumers will seek brands out.”
A few ideas from the story:
Put on a happy face. According to the Cassandra Report, published by the agency Deep Focus, four in 10 millennials said they would rather communicate with pictures than with words. Remember that the next time a twenty-something bride comes in. (Think: visuals, visuals, visuals.) In your communication with millennials, keep messages short—or even text-free. Domino’s Pizza customers can order pizza in some areas by texting or tweeting a pizza emoji. (A Domino’s employee texts back to confirm the order.)
Host a party. Brands are also trying to woo millennials by putting on elaborate events. Vitaminwater, part of the Coca-Cola Company, says it has found success with #uncapped, a music event that is going into its fifth year. Ryan Robertson, a senior brand manager at the company, said the goal of these events was to “create memories” rather than try to sell a product. (According to the Cassandra Report, 73 percent of millennials say it is important that a brand is not just trying to sell them something.)
Sell memories instead of product? Florists can do that. Read about a florist who has mastered the art of the in-store prom party, complete with pizza, prizes and a corsage bar.