image via blogger Merrick’s Art for Zappos
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In Entrepreneur’s article “Millennials Don’t Want Ads — They Want Stories,” author Michael Brenner relates how old-school marketing philosophy dictated that “the more advertisements you throw at the younger generations, the earlier you can get them hooked on your brand.” For decades, this idea formed the basis for business as usual in the advertising industry—an industry which got its message out primarily through old media: print, radio, and TV.
This is no longer the case. Millennials (people between 21 and 34 years old) grew up with the internet and consume most of their content online via social media. They’re used to being bombarded with marketing messages—so much that they’ve become basically immune to its intended effect. This savvy generation demands richer, dynamic content to grab their attention. Because of their ever-increasing buying power, big brands are on alert. Brand advertising efforts are quickly shifting to digital, where social media stars are helping top brands market their products in a way that appeals to Millennials.
Check out how today’s brands are advertising on Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to target Millennials:
Snapchat: With over 100 million daily active users, the visual-sharing platform Snapchat is explosively popular with younger Millennials. According to Business Insider, two-fifths of American 18-year-olds use it multiple times a day. As part of its efforts to rebrand as a lifestyle company, Chobani recently launched a dedicated Snapchat marketing campaign to hyper-target engaged users. In a Fast Company article, marketers describe advertising to Millennials on Snapchat as such:
Companies that want to snag millennial eyeballs turn to Snapchat for obvious reasons, and will continue to do so. “You know the audience you’re getting,” one digital Hollywood executive told Fast Company. “Everyone who has a child between 12 and 24 knows who’s using it and the success with it. So it’s not a secret who you’re advertising to.
Both Coca-Cola and Taco Bell have seen immense success with advertising to Millennials on Snapchat, with Taco Bell reporting the most success on Snapchat vs. other social media channels. Many other companies partner with top Snapchatters to help share brand stories across the channel.
YouTube has long been at the top of the video-sharing game. Marketers love it because of the highly targeted audiences that view specific types of videos—and consumers love watching curated, thoughtful content produced by people like them. With the recent announcement of YouTube Red, a subscription-based ad-free version of the site, it’s clear that YouTube intends to evolve as audience tastes shift.
For Millennials, it’s important to note that top YouTubers (YouTube content creators) command the attention of millions and are held in much higher regard than most traditional celebrities. Brands advertising to Millennials can successfully target millennial-heavy audiences by creating sponsored content alongside top creators. To see best brand campaigns of major companies partnering with YouTubers, check out our post here.
Instagram started as an iOS-only app, and has grown into a huge photo-sharing social network with 400 million monthly active users and one in four U.S.-based internet users. In addition to integrated sponsored ads, users who follow popular Instagrammers or top Instagram accounts will see sponsored content images show up on their curated scrollable news feed.
Intelligent brands know that the best way to reach Millennials is to avoid disrupting their social media experience. Research shows that Millennials dislike overt advertising, and instead prefer to consume integrated, organic content. As the internet grows, so will the importance of reaching the Millennials that grew up with it. When it comes to effectively advertising to Millennials, brands should take note of the best ways and strategies just as the largest companies already have.
To see the top 3 brands on Instagram marketing with top Instagrammers, check out our post here.