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The days of reaching Millennials through traditional print and television advertising are quickly dwindling – as reported in Wall Street Journal, many TV networks are quickly pioneering digital strategies involving top “YouTubers” (YouTube video bloggers or “vloggers”) in an effort to retain millennial viewership. In a 2015 census report, Millennials (18-34) have outpaced Baby Boomers to become the most populous demographic in the United States, spending an approximate $1.3 trillion annually. Millennials are highly tech-savvy and socially conscious consumers. They choose to align with brands that reflect their own set of interests, lifestyle aspirations, and expect the brand to be responsive to what the consumer wants.
At the start of 2015, Adweek published research from Salesforce reporting that a vast 70% of marketers will spend more on social this year with special emphasis to mobile and content. Brands are augmenting their marketing strategies to focus on social media and are able to target highly specific audiences through the digital or social media influencers Millennials follow (YouTubers, Instagrammers, Bloggers, Snapchatters, Viners, et al.), with top accounts featuring follower counts in the millions.
As such, brands are successfully marketing to Millennials through the use of social media by partnering with these top influencers to create engaging, aspirational, and authentic content. Here are best examples of how brands are marketing to Millennials through social media on channels they prefer the most:
Marvel and Dude Perfect
Brands marketing through YouTube is not a new endeavor however, many companies are increasingly using the social publishing platform to create alongside notable YouTubers to successfully reach new viewers. Apple recently met with top YouTubers during VidCon 2015 for future collaborations. This summer, both Marvel and Universal created influencer-based campaigns to promote their summer releases of Ant-Man and Trainwreck.
Marvel partnered top YouTube channel, Dude Perfect with Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd, to bring a lighthearted contest named Dizzy Sports Battle 2. Dude Perfect is geared towards sports and comedy, and its first Dizzy Sports Battle video (which was released three months ago) gained over 8.5 million views. The promotional video featured the five friends of Dude Perfect and Paul Rudd, the star of Ant-Man, in a contest to win the “smallest” prize. Within a month, the video garnered 6.6 million views.
Casey Neistat is a popular YouTuber who has collaborated with prestigious brands such as J.Crew (video above) and Mercedes-Benz (see his behind-the-scenes videos here). With an affinity for rich storytelling and a bold yet affable persona, Neistat is able to develop creative and relatable content for his viewers, like this video dedicated to his late grandmother.
Neistat implements the same brand of storytelling in his multi-part campaign for luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz. In the series, Neistat seamlessly (and transparently) integrates the Mercedes-Benz CLA within his personal channel. In doing so, Neistat maintains integrity with his 1 million+ subscriber base while delivering riveting sponsored content.
Brands are tapping into Instagram’s coveted 300 million active users (many who are in the 18-29 demographic) in an effort to meet millennial consumers on their social media platform of choice. Instagram provides a visual platform where users personally curate their feed to include their favorite influencers, friends, and brands that they align with.
Top Instagram influencers maintain follower counts in the millions. Brands can form effective partnerships by choosing the right influencer to work with. Navigating through the vast sea of social media personalities oftentimes requires an industrious effort (see our post “How To Find Instagram Influencers“). As such, many brands partner with influencer marketing companies that have a developed roster of influencers and that can advise on the best-performing partnerships, social media channels, organic integrations, and industry best practices.
See how brands are working with top Instagram influencers here.
Snapchat is a dynamic social sharing platform that allows users to post content that is viewable for a brief amount of time before expiring within a pre-determined time, or 24-hours when posted via ‘story.’ Brands, like Shopstyle who recently partnered with 5 top fashion bloggers market through influencers via Snapchat. The platform provides viewers with an intimate look into the lives of Millennials’ favorite social media influencers. Advertisers seeking to message Millennials on Snapchat can partner with top influencers on the platform to perform a brand channel Snapchat Takeover.
Millennials can quickly shape a brand’s success through their proactivity on social media. Branding or marketing that is too overt is likely to turn the viewer off — instead Millennials seek organic and genuine marketing. In NPR‘s article “How To Market To Millennials,” marketer Antonus Siler candidly states “honestly, If I could say anything to the advertisers, it’d be this: entertain me, make me happy, capture my attention, speak to my conscious and then leave me the heck alone.”
As ad-block software and ad-blindness continue to grow (Chrome now blocks all flash ads) and TV viewership for Millennials continues to plummet, many of these consumers can only be reached via social media. Marketing with influencers presents one of the best ways to accomplish Siler’s advice: present brand messaging in a way that effectively reaches and resonates with millennial consumers.
To learn more about marketing to Millennials on social media, download our free influencer marketing white paper here.