Millennials are regularly cited as being THE ideal target. They’re between 18 and 38 years old, they’re comfortable with shopping on the web, open to the opportunity of discovering new brands and trying new products. Is it really the case? Is native advertising really the most effective? What is the best way to proceed? At the end of this article, you’ll have all the answers to those questions!

Who in fact are the millennials?

The millennial generation is the entire population born between 1980 and 2000. They grew up with the emergence and democratization of the internet, so they’re comfortable with it, spend hours per day connected, and the process of buying online is intuitive for them. An ideal target, on paper.

Millennials are digital natives. They’re therefore most likely to buy online, but they won’t accept a flaky interface or load times that are too long. (Photo credit: Pixabay, Pexels)

They are digital natives who are looking for something new. That means that they’ll gladly try your new product but won’t hesitate to go to the competition either. It’s hard to keep millennials loyal, which means that brands need to continually bring in new customers through continuous marketing investments.

Native advertising, the preferred channel

Millennials didn’t experience the boom years of the 50s, and 60s, so they sometimes have a more critical attitude to capitalism, not hesitating to question this “ideal”, which has earned them the nickname of Generation Y (why). They therefore claim to be immune to traditional advertising (even if that’s not completely true), and are the first to install an ad blocker on their internet browser. According to eMarketer (2017), 41.1% of millennials use such a blocker, making them the most adept at using this controversial tool.

Millennials are also mobile addicts, so ads with poorly adapted displays for a mobile screen are even less likely to be effective on them. (Photo credit: Linkedin Sales Navigator, Pexels)

Lastly, they’re permanently connected but never available. Getting their attention is therefore vital. And to capture it, there’s nothing better the blending natively into their content consumption, whether on social networks or blogs.

Aim true with influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is, with searching and social networks, one of the big segments of native advertising. And it’s probably the one that resonates the most with millennials! They’re more likely to heed the recommendation of one of their peers, rather than an anonymous sponsored link on Facebook or in Google’s search results. In a survey conducted by Zine, 15% of millennials consider themselves as completely influenceable, versus only 7% for the following generation (who are still teenagers), and a mere 0.3% for the one before (Generation X).

Even more revealing, sponsored articles are viewed by almost half of visitors to entertainment sites as improving their overall user experience (source: IAB / Edelman Berland). Yes, influencer marketing isn’t only on Instagram, it’s also on influential sites and other specialized blogs.

Blogs are easily the most effective platforms for influencer marketing (Graphic Credit: Business 2 Community Source: Tomoson)

Identify your millennial niche

In fact, wanting to target millennials is not the best route to take. Indeed, this demographic segment is far too broad to constitute a relevant target. Unless you’ve got a marketing budget of several million euros, it’s illusory to want to reach an entire generation! Your marketing campaign will be effective only if you precisely define a relevant target. Sorry, but millennials are not one group, any more than if you said you want to target “teenagers” without being more precise. Especially since an 18 year-old doesn’t have the same profile, nor the same purchasing power (!) as a 35 year-old. In short, there is nothing that looks less like a millennial than… another millennial.

“So why am I wasting my time on this article, if targeting millennials makes no sense?” I can hear you thinking in an annoyed way. Rest assured, you’re not too far from the goal, you just have to adjust your objective. The real positioning strategy is to first identify a millennial niche. To do this, use these criteria: gender, age, market, social level, interest, uses, etc. For example: trendy urban youth, 18-25 years old, male, sports enthusiast, high purchasing power. That’s a niche.

Each niche has its own unique characteristics

So beware of simplistic recipes to reach the millennial generation, such as the systematic use of Instagram (as we’ve seen above). Each millennial niche is different. Some segments of millennials despise Instagram (we can understand them), invaded by selfies, bots and product placements. Likewise, while it is true that millennials are mostly connected when they get up and when they go to bed, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to schedule content publication at those times. Indeed, in these niches, competition is tough. Your niche may be more available in more relevant times, such as Saturday afternoons if you are a beer brand and want to boost their consumption that very evening.

(Photo credit: Elevate, Pexels)

Make sure you understand the platform on which the native content will be delivered. Native means that the promotional content must have the same look and feel as the rest of the content of the media used. This requires you to acclimatize to the platforms in question, social networks or blogs.

Transparency as an imperative

Last but not least: don’t try to deceive millennials. They’re too aware of marketing techniques to fall into the trap. And most importantly, they won’t forgive the slightest deception on your part. Such an attempt could even turn against your brand in a lasting way, millennials being fond of clashes and other scandals to denounce. Labeling your brand content as such is therefore essential.

Social networks make it possible to clearly indicate a partnership. There’s no standard with blogs, but the name “sponsored article” is the most commonly accepted, so no one can suspect that you’ve trying to hide something. Forewarned is forearmed!