Generational Marketing: The Best Platforms to Reach Consumers This Year

Ads. There’s no getting around them. No longer able to be avoided by the turn of the dial or walking out of the room, they’ve manifested themselves onto our laptops, tablets, and phones. The average American comes across as many as four to ten thousand of them every day. If you’re one of these Americans, chances are you ignore the majority of these ads and cast them aside in the abstract pile of the unnoticeable. If you’re a business owner, you do everything in your power to have your product stand out. Surveying 1,052 people across the country spanning over four generations, BestSEOCompanies conducted a study to understand the psyche of the average American consumer better.

I Click Therefore I Am

One of the most important data points collected in this study was participant’s awareness that they were being advertised to, as well as the will power they believed they possessed over them. The top methods of reaching consumers were through search ads, in which 86% of respondents encountered them, followed by YouTube and news site ads at 85% and 84%, respectively.

However, despite the high volume, 40% of folks believed these ads hadn’t influenced them in the slightest, with millennials leading the charge. Yet, 58% of these same respondents still clicked on one, with nearly 30% of them making purchases. What this highlights is the consumer’s lack of self-awareness and how ads subtly act on our impulses. In a not so famous saying: “You clicked..therefore, you were fooled.” Furthermore, 79% of respondents said they were always able to identify ads, but 82% of them had still accidentally clicked on one. Even among the “most aware” consumers, interaction with some type of advertisement is inevitable.

Oops, I Did It Again

Of all those surveyed, 63% of respondents had intentionally clicked on an ad. The majority of these clicks came from search ads, and by a wide margin. This is why marketers are expected to spend over 15 billion dollars in this category in 2020. Still, consumers are much more likely to click away accidentally. Compared to the 63% of those who had done so intentionally, 81% had done so unintentionally.

Generally speaking, the younger generations (Gen Z and millennials,) were more likely to both intentionally and unintentionally click on ads posted on social media sites with only generation Z encountering them on the new fad “TikTok.” Don’t know what that is? You’re not alone. Thankfully you don’t have to be an avid user to advertise on there.

To Click or Not to Click?

Are We There Yet?

Now for the fun part: how effective marketing seeps into our subconscious. Correspondents were shown car commercials that took place both in cities and in nature to see the effect setting had on persuading consumers. While commercials set in urban areas were deemed as more creative and engaging, those set in nature were twice as likely to be rated as emotional and relatable. This is perhaps why 73% of folks were left with positive impressions of the mother nature-centered advertisement vs. 53% of those set in cities.

Whether based in nature or not, there’s a pattern to be noticed. When it comes to products of high monetary value, be it cars, insurance, or high-end fashion, our investments are seldom made because the ad is interesting, but because it has emotional appeal or relatability. Think of the inspiring family story told to us before the car company logo pops up on the screen, or the guy winning the girl’s attention with the scent of his expensive cologne. These types of ads speak to aspects of the human condition.

Whatever, Just Feed Me

The opposite holds true when it comes to marketing food. In this study, participants were shown food advertisements that focused solely on the product vs. those that were conceptually based and didn’t feature the product at all. The results? Seventy-three percent of respondents had a positive reaction to the advertisement featuring the product as opposed to 56% for the ones that were conceptual.

Furthermore, while the conceptual ads were deemed as more creative, the ads that featured the product were almost three times as likely to be rated as persuasive and twice as likely to be rated effective. Unlike cars, food doesn’t appeal to the higher faculties of the brain but to our stomach, so to speak. Unless you’re a socially conscious vegan who stresses where their food comes from, chances are you care less about the ad’s feel-good story and more about if that juicy burger looks appetizing.

That’s Nice, but What’s the Pixel Count?

The same goes for phone advertisements. While ads that took an emotional, personal approach were deemed as more relatable, only 53% had positive reactions opposed to the 63% who had positive reactions to the ads that focused on the features of the phone. To no surprise, these ads were almost three times as likely to be rated as informational, and almost twice as likely to be rated as persuasive. A phone ad, like food, perhaps is best done by being direct. A consumer isn’t buying a phone to impress a love interest or for a social cause. Rather, they’re more concerned with the brand new camera lens and the best deal they can get for it.

That Data Isn’t Yours

These days, almost every advertisement is personal in one way or another. It’s widely known that marketers are targeting consumers using their personal information. It’s no coincidence that the couch you were just looking at online popped up in an ad while watching a cat compilation on YouTube. Fifty-two percent of respondents were aware of this type of advertising, with Gen Z being the most aware of any other generation.

Even with this knowledge, only 17% of respondents felt comfortable with US companies gathering their information, while 78% of them felt that personalized ads revealed threats to their privacy. However, only a third of them were found to be knowledgeable about just how much and how often their data is being sold. In addition, only 34% of respondents understood how to limit the access these companies have to their information.

So are personalized ads worth it? Any marketer should take these concerns seriously, but that doesn’t mean to stop it altogether. It may just be a matter of appearing less intrusive than you actually are.

So What Now?

Despite how knowledgeable they may claim to be, many people still don’t understand the implications of being glued to their devices. Intentional clicks or not, people are being influenced by the ads on their screen, and no matter their feelings on the subject, these ads are still proving to be effective.

Read next: 6 Social Media Trends That We Bet Will Work For You In The Year 2020!
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