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comscore-soc-by-generation.jpgMillennials are more difficult to persuade via TV advertising when compared to older viewers, according to [download page] research released in January 2012 by comScore, which found the average lift in Share of Choice (SOC) among Millennials to be 4.6% points, compared to 6.4% points for Baby Boomers (aged 45-59) and 6.6% points for Seniors (aged 60 and older). SOC measures the difference in share of preference between groups before and after exposure to advertising when asked which product they would like to win from a balanced competitive set.

Delayed Recall Better, Though

comscore-delayed-recall.jpgAdvertising recall was also evaluated across generational groups, with interesting results. Ad breakthrough for Millennials, which measured recall approximately 15 minutes after exposure, was significantly lower than the other generations (43% vs. 54% for Baby Boomers), which was not altogether surprising given the group’s reputation for having a short attention span and requiring attention-grabbing content. More notably, though, Millennials demonstrated a higher propensity than other generations to retain a lasting impression of an ad. To measure delayed recall, respondents were contacted 3 days after exposure, with Millennials appearing 33% more likely to recall an ad on average than Seniors (24% vs. 18%).

Gap in Digital Ad Lift Narrower

Data from “Next-Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials” indicates that digital advertising performs better in relative terms among Millennials than does TV advertising. While Millennials continue to show the lowest average lift in SOC from digital ads among the generations (6% points vs. 6.8% points for Baby Boomers), the difference is much smaller than seen for TV. According to comScore insight, it may be Millennials’ comfort with technology and all things digital that makes them relatively more responsive to digital advertising compared to TV. In fact, according to a January 2012 report from Deloitte, 9% of leading Millennials (aged 23-28) have cut their pay TV connection because they can watch all their favorite shows online, while a further 19% are considering doing so, the highest among all age groups.

Brand Differentiation Provides Best Lift

Meanwhile, comScore reports that the presence of several core campaign drivers, which represent advertising content that gives a reason to prefer the featured brand and sets it apart from the competition, results in a large average increase in SOC among Millennials. Brand differention (1.3% points) provided the most lift, followed by competitive comparison (1.1% points). New product or feature information (0.9%) and superiority claims (0.8% points) also had an effect on SOC.

Other selected drivers also result in an average increase of about one-half point or more, including the actual product being shown longer (0.8), the brand name or logo being shown longer (0.8) and more brand name mentions (0.5). And compared to Seniors, Millennials displayed greater lifts in SOC due to content such as information on results of use (1.1% points higher than Seniors), product benefits main message (0.8% points higher), and inclusion of a child/infant/animal/animated character (0.7% points higher).

Other Findings:

  • On average, engagement was found to be higher among Millennials than all other generations for both TV programming and websites, with the difference greater on a percentage basis for websites than for TV, despite the selected TV programming being somewhat more skewed towards shows targeted to a younger audience than the websites.
  • When compared to Baby Boomers, Millennials were less likely to say they found a TV ad interesting (66% vs. 70%), to say it was the best they had seen (45% vs. 48%), to call it believable (71% vs. 76%), to say it grabbed their attention (67% vs. 73%), or to rate it as highly likeable (57% vs. 62%). They were, however, more likely to call it irritating (16% vs. 10%).

About the Data: The comScore findings are derived from an analysis of nearly 1,000 tests of the effectiveness of TV advertising creative as well as 35 tests of digital creative that ran in the U.S. Collectively, the study included more than 500,000 women across four generational groups: Millennials; Generation X (aged 30 – 44); Baby Boomers; and Seniors. It is important to note that only women were included in this research. Occasionally effectiveness for an ad differs by gender. Since women are the primary purchasers for most products, scores among women were consistently used. The data on ad engagement was based on a survey of more than 3,000 respondents who were asked whether they had viewed each program or visited each property in the past two weeks.

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