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MARKETING

How to Target Millennials Through Paid Ads

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how to target millennials through paid ads

Millennials are something of a mythical bunch in society. Much is said about their behaviors and preferences, yet many of the stories seem to contradict. Even narrowing down what age group millennials represent is challenging, and many people have differing views.

This confusing picture makes it challenging to target millennials through paid ads, but don’t let it put you off. Let’s look at who millennials are and how you can use that data to create targeted ads that will convince them to convert.

When Were Millennials Born?

Millennials are defined as “people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.” The Pew Research Center further defines the group as those born between 1981 and 1996, though that time period has shifted over time.

Millennials are now the most populous group in the US, making up 21.97 percent of the population, and this trend is set to continue well into the 2050s.

This makes understanding millennials crucial to creating paid ads that actually drive revenue.

What Makes Millennials Unique?

One of the key things that make millennials unique is their relationship with technology.

Millennials were born into a world where modern technology hadn’t yet taken hold in daily life like it has today. However, they did grow up in an age where technology was transforming the way we live, so they aren’t new to it.

Generation X adapted to digital technology as adults, and Generation Z have never known life without the smartphone or super-fast internet, but millennials have a foot in both worlds.

The rapid shift to a digital world means millennials’ lives have followed a different path to those generations before and after them. This has influenced them in many different ways.

Of course, it’s hard to ascribe common characteristics to such a diverse group, but some traits seem to be common in this generation, including:

  • connected
  • tech-savvy
  • curious
  • in need of instant gratification
  • collaborative
  • seek transparency
  • crave authenticity
  • care about diversity and sustainability

Keep in mind; this is just a rough picture of millennials. There are still individual people with unique politics, education levels, likes, and dislikes. However, these insights need to inform your paid ad strategy.

Why You Should Target Millennials Through Paid Ads

If you successfully target millennials through paid ads, you’ll engage 21.97 percent of the US population and 2 billion people worldwide. While millennials are more receptive to certain products, this is a huge market for virtually any business.

However, millennials pose several challenges to marketers. First, it is a large, diverse group, and secondly, they’re so accustomed to advertising that some think they’ve become immune to it.

Nobody is immune to advertising, and millennials click paid ads every day. The trick is finding the right strategy.

It starts with understanding your target audience. If your product doesn’t solve the problems millennials have or fit their view of the world, then this group shouldn’t be your primary target.

For example, businesses that provide traditional weddings and razor blade manufacturers have a notoriously difficult time advertising to millennials. This isn’t because this generation is immune to advertising, it’s because the products aren’t as closely aligned to the people’s wants and needs (think of the proliferation of beards in society today versus 20 years ago).

Instead, it’s businesses in travel, tech, fast food, and other sectors where the products match millennials’ specific pain points that are finding success.

If millennials are a key part of your target audience, then paid advertising is an effective option, because it allows you to reach these people where they’re “hanging out.” Ninety percent of millennials are on Facebook, making it exceptionally easy to reach these people with your message.

A key part of marketing is getting your message seen, and millennials give you ample chances to do this.

6 Strategies for Targeting Millennials Through Paid Ads

To successfully target millennials through paid ads, you have to remember this group is very tech-savvy, and they’ve grown up with online advertising.

They see through the cheap gimmicks and aren’t coerced into clicking for no reason. Therefore, you should focus on offering genuine value. The strategies you use to target millennials through paid ads must add to the experience, rather than just serving your own purposes.

Here’s a few ways to successfully target millennials with paid ads.

1. Run Ads on the Social Media Platforms Millennials Use the Most

The good thing about millennials is they are easy to reach. A huge percentage are active on social media, but to make the most of this, we need to understand what platforms millennials are using.

In the past, this was pretty easy. People had Facebook, Twitter, and maybe Instagram. There weren’t many other popular options. Today there are dozens of social media platforms, with new ones popping up every day.

Let’s look at what percentage of millennials use some of the most popular platforms weekly:

  • Facebook: 87 percent
  • Twitter: 42 percent
  • Instagram: 71 percent
  • Snapchat: 52 percent
  • YouTube: 86 percent
  • Pinterest: 42 percent

Additionally, LinkedIn’s audience is 38 percent millennials aside from these platforms, and 19 percent of millennials are using TikTok.

There are plenty of opportunities out there to target millennials through paid ads. The ability to reach this group isn’t difficult; the tricky part is getting your medium and message right.

These platforms rely on marketing revenues though, so they’re constantly innovating and finding new ways for advertisers to engage their users. For example, Pinterest Story Pins, or Instagram filters let you offer the experience millennials are looking for.

2. Create Paid Ads That Appeal to Millennial Values

Many studies point to millennials closely held values, and three that are commonly referenced are personal responsibility, diversity, and sustainability.

It’s no surprise, given that millennials make up such a large percentage of the population that these values are being highlighted more in advertising. We often see ads that reference issues that are close to millennials’ hearts, such as climate change and equality.

If your brand is active in these issues, then this is something you should be highlighting in your advertising.

Take Allbirds shoes. they entered the highly-saturated shoe market in 2015, where they faced huge competition. Through a highly-effective advertising campaign that played on their shoes’ sustainable credentials, sales have exploded, and today the company is worth $1.4 billion.

How to target millennials through paid ads - allbirds facebook ad

There’s no crazy marketing strategy, it’s just clear messaging that hits on people’s (millennial’s) values.

3. Be Upfront and Honest in Your Paid Ads Targeting Millennials

Millennials grew up in the digital age, and for the most part, they’ve seen all the tricks. They’re used to gimmicky advertising tricks to get their attention, and they learned to filter these out.

What cuts through the noise with millennials (and this is closely related to their values) is being honest and upfront with your advertising. This group knows if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, so there’s no point in over-promising and under-delivering.

This ties in with creating paid ads that appeal to millennials’ values; if you’re not serious about sustainability, or equality, or whatever it might be, then millennials are more likely to hold you to account.

This group grew up in a world of big (often faceless) corporations, but thanks to technology, they have a chance to see behind the branding and see the values behind a company. This can be a great opportunity for your advertising, but it’s got to be done in a clear, honest way.

For example, Allbirds doesn’t just use convenient slogans about sustainability in their paid ads. It’s a theme that’s central to its entire customer journey, and it delivers on its promises.

how to target millennials through paid ads - allbirds website

4. Create Funny Paid Ads to Target Millennials

Fifty-five percent of 13 to 35-year-olds send memes every week, and 30 percent do so daily. That’s a lot of memes!

Humor plays a huge role in millennial culture, and it’s something you can use in your paid ads. Funny ads are nothing new; just take a look back at some of the classic TV ads, but for some brands keep things very straightlaced online.

When used in content and ads, memes can have many benefits:

  • They allow you to be creative.
  • It’s an easy way to show your brand’s personality.
  • They increase engagement.
  • They’re easy to use.
  • They are shareable.

People enjoy humor, and there’s certainly a place for it when you target millennials through paid ads. Just make sure your ads reflect the values of your business and resonate with your target audience. Otherwise, it can backfire.

5. Take Your Cue From Millennial Trends

The boozy brunch, avocado toast, and emojis are just some of the reported millennial trends in recent years. When 21.97 percent of the population enthusiastically gets behind something, you can bet it’s a factor to target with your marketing.

If you keep seeing something crop up in popular culture, then check it on Google Trends and see if it’s worth factoring into your marketing.

how to target millennials through paid ads - google trends

Remember that millennials are cynical consumers of advertising, so if it’s a reach to link your products to the trend, it’s probably best to leave it alone rather than look like you’re just trying too hard.

6. Ask the Millennials in Your Office for Help

One of the best ways to learn about your target audience is simply to ask them questions. Millennials now make up the largest proportion of the workforce, so there are bound to be some in your office.

Obviously, your co-workers have jobs to do, but it won’t hurt to run a few ideas by them. Millennials are a very diverse group, so they won’t be able to speak for everyone, but they might be able to give you some ideas about what works and what doesn’t with this generation.

Examples of Paid Ads Targeting Millennials

Brands are always trying to reach millennials through paid advertising, so there are lots of examples, some of which have had tremendous success, and others that are best forgotten. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst of the bunch.

The Good

Here are a few ads that nailed millennial marketing.

NFL and McDonald’s: Bad Lip Reading

This is a great example of brands capitalizing on millennial trends in a positive way.

In 2013, a series of YouTube videos found huge success by taking video footage of normal events and overlaying them with “bad lip reading.” One of the most successful videos was “The NFL: A Bad Lip Reading,” which has over 72 million views.

Rather than take offense at the light-hearted fun, the NFL embraced the trend and teamed up with McDonald’s to create their own version.

how to target millennials through paid ads - bad lip reading

Airbnb: Belong Anywhere

Airbnb was founded in 2008 and was valued at over $100 billion when it went public in 2020. Part of its success has been a product that is closely aligned with the values of millennials, and its advertising continues to capitalize on this.

Messages such as “Let’s Keep Travelling Forward,” and “We Accept” fit perfectly with the ideals millennials respond to, and this has helped bring the company great success.

The Bad

What does it look like when millennial marketing goes wrong? Here are a few ads that missed the mark.

McDonald’s: Fish Fillet

It was widely accepted that McDonald’s missed the mark with its fish fillet ad because it’s seen as emotional manipulation.

Emotion is a big part of any ad, but it’s got to be done in the right way. This ad just seems like McDonald’s is using a child’s grief to sell its sandwiches, and that’s something millennials will see through.

Pepsi: Kendall Jenner Protest Ad

Millennials tend to feel a personal responsibility to make a positive change in the world, but brands that exploit that drive will suffer. For many people, this Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner did just that.

Aired during a time of heightened tension around America, the ad seemed to trivialize the cause of the protests and struck the wrong chord with millennials.

Conclusion

Millennials are a diverse, tech-savvy group that were brought up with advertising, so it’s no surprise that it takes some fine-tuning to get your targeting right.

When you take the time to understand millennials, discover what values they hold dear, the platforms they engage with, and the types of content they respond to, then you will find you can successfully advertise to this group.

For some businesses, millennials simply won’t be part of their target market, but with this group making up over a fifth of the population, the majority of businesses are going to have to learn how to target them through paid ads.

Have you had success advertising to millennials?

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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