From an A-list celebrity tagging his new designer duds on Instagram to your next-door neighbor raving about her favorite new meal-delivery service on Facebook, most everyone uses social media to talk about brands.
But how different generations of people create, consume, and share this type of user-generated content varies widely. To help marketers better understand the divide, earned content platform Olapic conducted a survey to find out how consumers of different ages—especially millennials and baby boomers—view UGC.
While their responses varied, one thing was widely agreed upon: “76 percent of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands,” said Olapic co-founder Pau Sabria. “That should serve as a wake-up call for brands to start exploring the use of authentic content in ads and marketing to build trust and create a more meaningful dialogue with their customers.”
Who are the heroes of today?
Today’s 20 and 30 somethings are socially conscious activists and advocates. Millennials don’t need heroes, because they are a “hero generation”.
For marketers, Millennials are difficult to reach and engage because of their fragmentation, diversity and corporate skepticism. They’re quick to run from brands, corporations and organizations that aren’t genuine or relatable. They want brands which share their values, which give them a platform to make a difference.
And here’s the opportunity for marketers. In a world where traditional institutions are crumbling, brands can fill the gap with their own citizenship and social purpose agendas. Affiliation with a cause is more important to this generation than to any previous; it’s not about what you sell, but why you sell it. And how you sell it too.
According to the study, “Communications Trends Report,” released by Hotwire PR, marketing and communications professionals will focus on reaching millennials based on their passions rather than as a single demographic group. Brands will seek to engage consumers with age-agnostic content that emphasizes values. This Advertising Age article by Lindsay Stein analyzes other findings from this study.
Additional trends from the Hotwire PR study include:
-The advertising industry is not prepared for mobile ad blocking, especially since Apple enabled apps that stop ads from popping up on smartphones and iPads through its iOS 9 operating system.
-The rise of virtual reality.
-The most successful campaigns in 2016 will offer relevant and useful services.
-Values will continue to be at the center of the communication strategies of many brands.
-Expanded use of hyper-targeted content will result in specific messages for each consumer subset within an audience.
This article discusses additional key marketing and communications trends for 2016.
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Nielsen’s recent global report on “Global Trust in Advertising: Winning Strategies for an Evolving Media Landscape” found that trust levels in advertising for the past two years have remained fairly consistent across paid, owned, and earned media. This press release about the report points out that Millennials (age 21-34) exceed the average consumer in terms of levels of trust in almost all advertising formats/channels. Not only did Millennials have the highest levels of trust in online and mobile formats, but they showed the highest levels of trust in most forms of traditional media.
Millennials are also the generational group who are the most willing to take action on 16 of the 19 advertising formats. According to Randall Beard, President, Nielsen Expanded Verticals, “Millennials consume media differently than their older counterparts, exercising greater control over when and where they watch, listen and read content—and on which device.” He also stated, “But even if they rely less heavily on traditional channels, their trust and willingness to act on these formats remains high. While an integrated, multi-channel approach is best across all generations, it carries even more importance when reaching Millennials.”
Survey respondents, in general, reported that their action levels as a result of advertising actually exceeded trust levels for 14 out of 19 advertising formats reviewed. According to Nielsen, this suggests that trust is not always a prerequisite for purchase.
This survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access. The full report is available by completing a form on Nielsen’s website.
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