Generational Marketing: Rockin’ Your Ads


Over a decade ago we only used mobile phones to make or receive phone calls and send texts. These days, new technology has changed the way we communicate forever. We now collect most of our information and forms of entertainment by streaming news, music and videos through our smart phones, tablets and other smart devices. The proliferation of new media and technologies continues to advance constantly creating new channels for businesses and consumers to connect online.

Recently, The Nielson Company “Global Trust in Advertising” conducted a study to narrow down what ad types were generating the highest levels of engagement among the younger generation consumers. Strangely enough, their findings revealed that Millennials (ages 21-34) invested the most significant amount of trust in online and mobile formats. The study below shows the ad variations between digital advertising and traditional media that were tested across the five age groups based on level of trust and consumer engagement.


Survey Source: The Neilson Company – Most Influential Ad Types



In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, companies are faced with new sets of challenges that are pushing them to be more innovative and creative in finding new ways to reach and capture their audiences. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees your advertising dollars will always make the biggest impact, there are steps that you can take to help you capitalize on your efforts.

First things first, get to know your audience. The same rules of personal dating can be applied for cultivating valuable business relationships. Developing close connections with your customers is important since only then will you be able to form fruitful interactions with them.

The key to unlocking the perfect ads is found in understanding the psychological and behavioral patterns of your audience. Creating a good personalization strategy allows you to identify segments of visitors (by ages, locations, etc.) and their distinct preferences (by hobbies, interests, etc.) or needs.

Once you can tell your consumers apart and group them by their common faces, you’ll be able to determine the appropriate channels to use, and produce highly effective ads – turning your campaigns into forces that drive your consumer behavior.


The most persuasive form of advertising is when consumers are referred by friends or family. Over 80% of the global respondents who participated in this study said that they instantly trusted what was recommended to them by someone they know.

Ranked as the second-most-trusted ad format (by 70% of voters) were brand-managed websites. While another 66% of respondents voted online reviews to be their trusted source. Finally, coming in last place with 56% of the votes were those who had subscribed to a mailing list. (See chart below for reference)


Survey Source: The Neilson Company – Most Trusted Ad Formats



The issue with the initial survey completed by The Neilson Company on what ad types were most influential among the generations is that other surveys that were done on the use of ad blocking contradict their results.

A study completed by Sourcepoint reports that Millennials and those who sat in higher income brackets were more likely the consumers to use features for ad blocking. Other reports also reflected similar data to Sourcepoint, showing that about 60% of Millennials and younger use some type of ad blocking software to prevent tracking and popup advertisements. (See chart below for reference)


Survey Source: Sourcepoint – Ad Blocking Skews to Millennials


Each company has its own approach to how it collects and measures consumer data. It’s not entirely clear how The Nielsen Company conducted their report, or how the questions were framed in the survey (because that alone can impact and shape the results).

It’s always a good idea to establish statistical models that can predict your consumers’ behavior. Then make strategic decisions based on your findings. Relying strictly on data from competitive rivals limits your ability to improve and customize the consumers’ experience in ways that your competitors are lacking.


Let’s recap. So, before you can discover what the actionable ad types are for your consumers and launch reactive campaigns that impact your key business metrics, you’ll have to: First, understand your audience and take action based on those results. Second, tailor your business around the specific needs of your customers to form powerful communication. Third, take advantage of online websites that provide you with the resources to gather user-agent data on your audience. Fourth, monitor what your competitors and peers are doing to improve your own stats and tactics. Voila! Now you’re on your way to creating responsive ads and targeted experiences for your consumers.

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