With the rise of mobile devices and social media, people ages 18 to 34 (I call them Millennials but they're also called Gen Yers) are now the most connected and receptive age group for social media messages and advertisements delivered via text messages, according to my company's latest data.
While nearly 40% of U.S. adults -- some 88.2 million people -- visited a social media Web site in the last 30 days, Millennials are the age group most dependent upon such sites to feel connected to others, according to the "2010 GfK MRI Spring Omnibus Study." Of the adults who visited a social media site in the last 30 days, Millennials were 33% more likely than the average visitor to agree that, "When I don't access my social networking Web sites, I feel like I'm out of touch." Gen X ers and Baby Boomers, on the other hand, were 14% and 28% less likely than the average social network visitor, respectively, to agree with this statement.
Asked whether they agree that "Social networking is an important part of my everyday life," Millennials were 26% more likely than the average social network visitor to answer yes, while, again, Gen Xers were 8% and Boomers were 22% less likely than the average networker to agree with this sentiment. Millennials are also 29% more likely to feel that "My interactions on social networking Web sites are as meaningful as those that are in person." This compares to GenXers who are 16% less likely and Boomers who were 21% less likely than the average adult social network visitor to feel this way.
Of particular importance to mobile marketers, Millennials with mobile phones look at texted ads and respond to ads via text far more than other cell owners. A look at the our "Survey of the American Consumer" shows us that Millennials are 57% more likely than the average cell phone owner to have looked at a texted ad in the last 30 days. Moreover, they are almost twice as likely to have used text to respond to an ad or to make a purchase.
Gen Xers, on the other hand, are only 19% more likely than the average adult cell owner to have looked at a texted ad and they are just 6% more likely to have responded to an ad or to have made a purchase via text messaging. Boomers trail the pack considerably with regard to these activities; they are 40% less likely to have looked at a texted ad and 55% less likely to have responded to an ad or to have made a purchase via text than the average mobile phone owner.
Meanwhile, as digital out-of-home media continue to proliferate and become increasingly sophisticated in interacting with mobile devices, men and women ages 18-34 are more likely than the population as a whole to report they viewed a place-based video ad in the last 30 days. Young men, in particular, show receptivity to this sort of advertising: they are 28% more likely than the population as a whole to have viewed any place-based video ad, 75% more likely to have view a video ad in a restaurant, 79% more likely to have noticed a video ad in an airport and -- surprise! -- nearly twice as likely to have viewed a video ad in a bar, in the last 30 days.
This young, formerly elusive media demographic is now aswarm with digital media choices and, clearly, relatively receptive to digital advertising messages. But don't turn your back on "old" media as part of your mix when targeting the younger demographic. Amid all the new media buzz, for instance, an often surprising fact gets lost -- 57 million Millennials read magazines a decade ago and, today, 60 million of them are reading magazines. This traditional medium is very much holding its own in reaching this coveted group.