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Consumers are influenced to make purchase decisions by a number of sources, from the myriad of ad formats found both online and offline to word-of-mouth from friends and family. The latest US Purchase Influencers Report 2019 [purchase page] from MarketingCharts, in partnership with YouGov, has revealed somewhat surprising findings on how Millennials are being influenced to purchase products and services.

Email Packs A Punch

Across all age groups and for 24% of Millennials, in particular, recommendations from friends and family topped the list of influences that inspired consumers to purchase a product or service in the past 6 months. While this finding isn’t too surprising – and is supported by other research indicating that 84% of Millennials trust friends and family to give good advice about products – the next biggest influencer for Millennials may be.

While rumor has had it that email is dead or dying at the hands of social media, about two-fifths (21%) of Millennials say they have made a purchase in the past 6 months as a result of opt-in emails they received. This is no doubt good news for email marketers, especially considering that Millennials also believe their use of email will increase in the future.

Social and Online Video Ads Almost On Par With TV Ads

Although the time Millennials spend on their smartphones surpassed that of traditional TV more than two years ago, TV ads have held their own in recent years as a strong influence on purchases. And in this latest MarketingCharts study, 16% of the Millennials surveyed said that TV ads had influenced a purchase within the previous 6 months.

Interestingly, though, social and digital video ads have risen to almost match TV. Some 14% of Millennials claimed to have had a purchase influenced by each of these newer formats.

Perhaps not coincidentally, these three formats (TV, digital video, and social media) are where Millennials are also getting the most exposure to advertising on a weekly basis. Almost half (47%) of Millennials reported being exposed to advertising in digital video during a typical week, with social media (44%) and traditional TV (43%) following in quick succession as the areas with the most advertising reach with Millennials.

Influencers’ Posts Outdo More Traditional Platforms

The research confirms that traditional media are lagging with the younger generation. Only one-third (33%) of Millennials say they are exposed to radio advertising weekly, a figure considerably lower than for other generations (with Baby Boomers setting the pace at 47%). About half as many say they encounter ads in print magazines (18%) or print newspapers (14%) during a typical week.

As a result, few respondents from this younger generation ascribe purchase influence to ads in these media. And in a true sign of the changing of the guard, Millennials were more likelky to report having a purchase swayed by an influencer post on social media (11%) than by magazine ads (8%), radio ads (8%) and newspapers ads (7%).

Indeed, a survey by Morning Consult revealed that not only do a fair number of Millennials follow influencers on social media, they are likely to buy a product recommended by an influencer, especially if that influencer demonstrates that they have knowledge of the product or service they are recommending.

To read more from the study, which analyzes 20 purchase influencers, 4 responses and 6 demographic variables, purchase it here.

About the Data: Results are based on a nationally representative survey conducted in September 2019 of 2.608 US adults (ages 18 years old and older). For the purpose of the report Millennials are those adults born 1982-1999.

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