In the hyper-connected digital world we share, it may be counterintuitive to think of the 18-34-year-old audience — Generation Y and increasingly Gen Z — as our most reachable demographic for out-of-home advertising. From clicks to opens, likes to follows, marketers everywhere are trying to catch their attention, gain traction and convert leads.
Considering this inundation of digital advertising, how can OOH compete?
Fairly well, as it turns out.
OOH advertising has actually become a standout method of reaching those in Generation Y and Z, due to its novel, non-digital approach. This audience was raised as “digital natives,” never knowing a world without advanced tech — and digital advertising is commonplace in their “connected” brand experiences.
But OOH advertising succeeds in its ability to exist in spaces they cannot click out of and offers repeat exposure.
In addition, consider that according to the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report, this younger generation is spending roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes less every day consuming media than the average adult. That’s dramatic when you acknowledge that time equals 22% less exposure and engagement across all platforms and the advertising appearing there.
Want to know how much of an outlier Gen Y actually is in the digital space?
In comparison to those ages 35-49, they spend less time online across all devices, less time listening to the radio and less time watching Live+ TV. In fact, the only category where they are spending more time is on TV via Connected Devices, which includes video-game consoles.
Even when they are immersed in one or more of these media platforms, it is typically on their own terms. The 18-34 audience understands the rules of engagement, the ins and outs of every device, and the implicit advertorial nature that often surrounds the content they source. But they only accept digital advertising to a point.
In a recent study by eMarketer, it was discovered that both Gen Y and Gen Z are more likely to have ad blockers installed than older generations. For those not as well-versed in ad blocking — in a matter of minutes, a user can download software that blanks out digital ads, clears their cache for re-marketing and skips the commercial-type advertising that precedes all videos they are watching online, specifically those linked through YouTube.
When it comes to college-aged adults, this ad blocking hack is even more prevalent. More than one in three college-aged adults say they use ad blocking technology online, with the adolescent generation behind them hot on their trail.
Why is that good for OOH advertisers? Generations Y and Z are simply being exposed to less advertising than the rest of the population. If we believe that clutter, noise and over-exposure lead to less impact, then it is more likely the lack of those distractions can lead to ads being recalled and impactful.
In a world where digital ads can be blocked, OOH advertising cannot. The only way you can “opt-out” of OOH ads is to not leave home. When Generation Y does leave home, they are taking advantage of alternative forms of transportation — like public transit, biking or ride-sharing — and it makes a lot of sense they would recall OOH advertising.
According to Simmons, spring 2018, 18-34s are 49% more likely to walk from place-to-place than their older counterparts. Some 22% say they’ve used public transit in the last 30 days — almost twice as much as those 35+.
Where this becomes particularly useful is segmenting out demographics, like your Gen Y and Gen Z target audiences. While they may live and breathe digital every day, they are doing it in an OOH world. And you can’t erase that fact with the click of a button.