Millennial Advertising

Influencers, YouTube and Advergaming

Understanding the characteristics of the millennial consumer is key towards putting an effective ad campaign together that grabs their attention. While they tend to reject interruptive and blatant approaches, if an advertiser manages to get into their circle of comfort, millennials can be your biggest non-paid brand advocate.

There are a couple new media categories that millennials wholeheartedly support, one of which is the rise of influencers. Influencers promote products they like and show their support across social platforms. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can be an influencer, all they need is a social following. This has become a legitimate ad platform to reach millennials and part of its popularity is due to presenting the preferred, indirect promotional style for a sale. 

“As a marketer, you have the opportunity to work with these influencers to create campaigns that will captivate the millennial audience. If done correctly, you can reach the audience you want to reach without it feeling like an advertisement at all. Influencer marketing is revolutionary because it allows your brand to be the center of attention to an audience that is within your target demographic as a company.”

Smaller influencers work better than big celebrities because fans feel micro-influencers are more in tune with their every-day lives, are living similar lives, have similar beliefs, are touchable and behave much like your ‘next door neighbor’.

Micro-influencing has also begun to take its place. These are lesser-known personalities with smaller numbers of followers but who may have influence is certain niches. They are YouTube video stars, for example, who have amassed a following, although certainly smaller than the Kendall Jenner’s of the world. They may have short spurts of sponsored content housed in their videos or may even promote products or services openly in very short spots.”

Emma Grace Moon was recently quoted in the Huffington Post on her experience working with micro-influencers:

“Moon agreed that micro- and nano-influencers (generally influencers with a following of between 1,000 and 10,000 Instagram followers) often provide the best ROI to brands because of their hyper-engaged audiences. “I value and acknowledge the hard work that influencers do,” Moon said. “Many of the influencers I work with contribute to the increase of revenue, brand awareness and social media traffic, and in such an authentic and organic way.”

Since this category is so new, payment is negotiable, as you will see a wide variety of requested fees from influencers. The key is evaluating who the bulk of their followers are on the platforms your brand desires to be seen upon.

Besides influencers, one the best ways to reach a millennial with video content is through YouTube. A recent study from Defy showed that up to 85% of their Millennial respondents regularly watch YouTube content. Back in 2015 ComScore reported that Millennials  preferred YouTube as their video destination of choice versus older viewers across a range of different content types, including movies and even current season TV shows. This study showed that 1 in every 8 Millennials considers YouTube their preferred destination for watching “current season TV shows”.

“Despite the advent of Facebook Live and emerging video platforms, YouTube remains the leading digital video platform and has maintained its strong appeal to US millennials—a group that adopted the digital video streaming platform early on. According to, 54% of 18 to 34-year-olds visit YouTube at least once per day, making it the third-most popular social media platform for daily usage among this age group.”

Advergaming is another new hot spot to target millennial consumers. Advergame is a video game that promotes particular brands, products, or marketing messages by integrating it into the game.

Video games are part of the childhood millennial diet. Gaming is an engrained, habitual part of their routine life. They not only routinely gravitate towards gaming for stress-relief and fun, but also incorporate gaming subscriptions and costs into their monthly finances.

“Millennials, the first generation to grow up with widespread access to video games, are now adults between the ages of 22 and 38. The oldest Millennials were four years old when the Nintendo Entertainment System launched in North America in 1985. Those who spent their childhood playing games didn’t suddenly abandon the hobby when they reached adulthood.”

Video games were created to lure players in with healthy mix of feeling excitement, stress-relief, and to create the competitive desire climb game levels 9or beat live competing players. There is a plethora of free online games (usually ad supported) that can be played on any device, even smartphones.

“As an audience, Millennial gamers are far from monolithic. Some Millennials play games to immerse themselves in interactive, movie-like experiences, while others do so for the thrill of competition. And then there are those who simply play to relax and pass the time.”

As millennials grew older their love for gaming also developed. Brands pay big money to earn product placement within hot sellers, like MBA2K, Fifa, Call the Duty, Halo and Gears of War. Games such as these are purchased as a DVD, and product placement deals are made between the game developers and big brands. These deals cost quite a bit because they live permanently within the game. Advertisers can also place ads within the online games.

“Among Millennial gamers, seven in 10 (71%) watch gaming video content (GVC), or online videos about games, on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. In addition to watching GVC for nearly six hours each week…. Games have become part and parcel of the Millennial media diet, with 2 in 3 U.S. Millennials now playing every month. Brands and media companies should add gaming to their media plans, so they reach a highly engaged Millennial audience.”

Millennials also budget for games: “On average, Millennials spend $112 on games every month, $20 more than Gen Zers, and nearly twice as much as Gen Xers, who only spend $59 a month. Much like the music and movie industries, the video game industry has largely moved online, with in-store purchases of physical games giving way to digital offerings. Overall, Millennial gamers spend $72 a month on game downloads and gaming subscriptions, compared with $39 a month on physical copies. They also spend $22 each month on in-game content, which includes virtual items like costumes for Fortnite characters.”

One of the most exciting things about video game product placement and advertising is that a player’s attention is totally captivated and entranced with the screen. Gamers are completely absorbed and focused on whatever appears, whether it’s game action, product placement or a pop-up video ad.

Gaming is a very engaging and captive environment that requires your full concentration. Unlike when people watch the Super Bowl on TV, however, they’re multitasking – tweeting and commenting on their Facebook page throughout the game,” said Dave Madden, senior vice-president of global media sales at games developer Electronic Arts.”