Millennials have been known to defy standards of previous generations, and their responses to traditional advertising techniques are no exception. Thrillist Media and other successful digital marketers shed some light on how to advertise to an “anti-advertising” generation.
A lot of publishers think that content begins and ends on the screen, but to us it goes past that,” said Jody Rones, senior vice president for advertising sales and solutions at Thrillist. “It’s the next step in the branded content space. We deliver great content that people will enjoy consuming, therefore it will allow the advertiser’s message to go through.”
Millennials have developed a reputation of constantly using technology, which for marketers, means endless advertising opportunity. But, these digital media users have grown weary of brand bombardment on digital media outlets. In fact, a 2014 survey from PageFair (an anti-ad blocking analytics and services firm) and Adobe, around 41 percent of millenials have installed ad-blocking software. A 2015 survey by two marketing agencies, Moz and Fractl, showed 63 percent of millennials use ad-blocking technology.
“I don’t think millennialls mind if there’s a brand attached if they see value attached, and [the brand] is speaking to them consistently on a platform they use,” Leif Eng, strategist for Firstborn digital agency, said. “As long as you’re rooted in what the platform is intended to do, and in things that people who use the platform are expecting to see, it could be the right way to go.”
Thrillist Media uses data from its sites to determine what millennials are most likely to read about or engage with. It then uses this information to help companies integrate a millennial hot topic with their product or idea to generate more buzz among the most tech savvy generation to date. For GE, this meant using hot sauce as a way to tell a “scientific story through the lens of food,” according to a GE spokesperson.
Thrillist used similar techniques in directing GE’s 2015 South-by-Southwest BBQ laboratory and GE’s moon boot launch t commemorate the Apollo 11 mission. The group also worked with Hulu on its series “Casual,” which involved taking social media stars on a speed dating bar crawl through Los Angeles on a party bus.
Thrillist is not the only media company using its data to develop strategic millennial advertising plans. Many of these companies, including BuzzFeed, Vox, and Imgur, are learning to make theirs ads blend in and cater to the niche of their specific users.
“I don’t know if there are any generations that love advertising,” said Steve Partizi, vice president of marketing and revenue at Imgur, an image-based social network. “But, this generation understands how to use technology in a way that allows them to avoid it. They also have more choices than previous generation had. They could not get cable and still have access to a lot of content. They are more likely to go in incognito mode because they know a lot of companies are trying to track their movement.”
For Imgur, targeting millennials means writing content in a language and style that its users themselves use on the platform. According to Patrizi, the company “built an [ad] team of Imgur users who also understand marketers.” For more information regarding millennial marketing techniques, [Click Here].