Today there are more than 80 million American Millennials (born between 1980-1995) representing $200 billion in annual buying power. Millennials and Gen Z make up nearly half of the US population and represent the most influential consumers. However, Millennials and Gen Z are also the most elusive audiences to engage, as they lead the charge on cord-cutting, ad-blocking and radio-streaming.
Currently more than half of millennials actively block ads. Among Gen Z, the percentage is even higher.
This year, over 33% of television consumers will have canceled traditional Pay-TV services and now over 90% of the US population listens to streaming vs. traditional radio. The point being, reaching Millenials and Gen X with traditional TV, radio, and digital is becoming increasingly less effective.
The shift in audience consumption habits has led to more investment in out-of-home (OOH) marketing. Outdoor ads have a steadfast, evergreen quality that appeals to most younger consumers and in contrast to other media channels, cannot be overlooked by skipping, fast-forwarding or paying more to avoid ads.
Here are three reasons why OOH media is an effective way to reach Millennials and Gen Z:
Authentic and real-world experiences resonate
One of the only things the vast majority of Millennials agree on is they don’t like to be marketed to. Gen Y craves brand authenticity, with 89% preferring simple, straightforward ads, and 90% noting they want a brand’s messages to match its actions.
Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2012) also value authenticity and real-world experiences. In fact, according to a recent global study by Kantar Millward Brown, OOH is the #1 preferred ad format among Millennials and Gen Z.
And according to Nielsen, “one out of every four consumers will post an image of an outdoor ad to Instagram”. Consumers are also 48 percent more likely to click on a mobile ad after being exposed to the same ad on an out-of-home advertisement first.
While Gen Y and Z consumers love content, they have little tolerance for interruptive ads – making outdoor ads and experiential media a more important medium for marketers as they look to create awareness, relevance and affinity with younger consumers.
Shorter attention spans in a digitally saturated world
Both Gen Y and Z have voracious appetites for content, but also shorter attention spans. Gen Zers grew up with smartphones. Their 8-second attention span is even shorter than Millennials, who spend a max of 12 seconds on average.
Gens Y and Z also have similar media consumption habits. Both prefer watching video on-demand. In fact, more than 25% of the Gen Z watch live TV on mobile, with a higher percentage streaming on-demand video.
Digital and social media ads have also become more saturated, and less effective than ever before. Facebook and other social platforms now throttle branded content in news feeds, making it harder for brands to reach their target consumers.
To overcome this challenge, brands are increasing their marketing spend on outdoor ads, bolstering direct-to-consumer engagement in local market with authentic content that is relevant to their daily lives.
In line with this, many brands are also leveraging digital OOH to push contextual content to consumers tied to real-world locations, complementing mobile and other channels. Using geolocation and mobile data, marketers can also see when, where and how often consumers are exposed to OOH ads, plus how creative performs at specific hours and locations.
OOH provides a last touch opportunity
The way people shop and interact with brands has completely changed. In today’s on-demand economy, people are able to make purchases with a single tap, regardless of platform. And yet, it can be difficult for brands to reach target consumers in a hyper-local or targeted way.
While Amazon and other e-commerce continue to boom, many other brands across retail, QSR, grocery, tourism and other industries still rely heavily on intercepting audiences in the real world. OOH media provides an open canvas and way for brands to build mass awareness with comparably low CPMs, while also providing a last touch opportunity before consumers reach their destination.
Mobile phones also act as the new survey, providing OOH marketers with the ability to reach specific audiences based on their individual daily journey, then measure if they were exposed to outdoor ads and then later visit intended destinations.
Location, frequency, and context each play an important role in successfully influencing consumer behavior with OOH ads. Targeting customers exposed to OOH ads with greater frequency showed a remarkable increase in retail store visits, with that number increasing further when ads were displayed across formats along their daily commutes.
Why this all matters
Today consumers spend more than 70% of their time outside, while having a lower tolerance for digital and mobile ads than ever before. Brands that shift their focus to invest in real-world formats including OOH and think creatively about context, time, location and messaging will see better ROI for their marketing spend.