Targeted advertising is a controversial topic for many marketers. While it can be effective in roping in customers new and old, some marketing decision-makers fear it may come off as invasive and even mildly creepy. However, new research by Fluent, reported on by Marketing Dive, found that when it comes to millennials, targeted content is more than welcome.
In a survey of college students aged 17 to 24 over half of respondents claimed they would be more likely to click on a Facebook ad if it was catered to their interests and purchasing decisions. A considerable 49 percent of participants claimed the same for advertisements on YouTube. In fact, across the board these millennials had a positive response about ad targeting through social media as long as the efforts hit the mark.
One explanation for this encouraging outlook was the fact that a majority of targeted content is aimed at millennials specifically. Respondents noted that this indicates to them that marketers are finally waking up to their buying power as a demographic.
These finding are of particular value for marketers because millennials have been a historically difficult group to reach. According to Marketing Dive, this research paired with some findings on authenticity may be the key to engaging the millennial audience.
The Authenticity Factor
Late last year at the eMarketer Attention! 2015 event, a panel focused solely on millennial marketing highlighted the need for authentic material when trying to engage this demographic, reported Marketing Dive in a separate article. Panel members pointed out when marketing to millennials can seem forced and how to cultivate a more authentic approach.
The highlights? Stay away from forcing the use of slang terms and focus more on providing relevant and interesting content. Millennials don’t want the hard sell, they want material that educates and entertains in creative ways, according to the source.
“The most important thing to remember is that ultimately, millennials are a diverse generation of consumers,” explained Curalate CMO Matt Langie to Marketing Dive. “They lead varying lifestyles and can’t be reached with a one-size-fits-all approach. The best thing marketers can do is to be educational, entertaining and visual.”
What we’ve learned so far is that the secret formula to reaching millennials just might be a dash of authenticity with a splash of targeted content. But what does this mean for marketers moving forward and how are they currently doing with these efforts?
In terms of action, these findings suggest that to reach the younger demographics marketers must leverage their data to create more personalized content. This is not exactly new knowledge. According to a study by Marketing Charts, 69 percent of marketing professionals identify dynamic personalization as a critical aspect of content.
However, just because this is recognized doesn’t mean it’s being executed. In fact, research from the CMO Council revealed that one-third of marketers have weak capabilities when it comes to leveraging data for more targeted content.
Businesses big and small need to seriously step up their personalization game and this all starts with collecting and using relevant data. In such a digital landscape, marketing leaders have access to technology and platforms that can track customer actions, preferences and other relevant insights.
If capturing the attention of millennials is the name of your game then data needs to become your new best friend. By leveraging key information your team will have a better understanding of what interests your target audience and how to cater your offers to their preferences.
While some older generations may question this level of personalization, this research shows that millennials embrace it – use that knowledge to your advantage!