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BizReport : Advertising archives : May 09, 2016

Social is not the place to target younger generations

Brands may want to reconsider targeting younger generations in their social media feeds, according to new research released by customer experience firm Lithium Technologies.

by Helen Leggatt

In their study of 2,000 U.S. consumers spanning Generation Z to Baby Boomers, Lithium found that younger generations object to being shouted at by brands on their social media feeds. Advertising on such sites is causing them to either cut back their use of such platforms, or even stop using them altogether, says the report.

Specifically, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Millennials and Generation Z said they object to being targeted by brands on social media, a space where they enjoy interacting with friends but not, it seems, with brands.

"I go on social media to see and know what my friends are doing. I don't want to see ads clutter my news feed. If I'm interested in a product or service, I know where to look," said 23-year-old recent graduate, Mallory Benham.

In fact, the research suggests that younger generations place more trust in information they seek out themselves, rather than advertising. Sources Millennials and Generation Z trust the most are websites that provide product reviews, such as Yelp and Amazon (85%). These are also the sources most-trusted by older age groups (66%). Manufacturer and company websites are the second most trusted source among younger and older generations (66% and 44% respectively) closely followed by communities of like-minded people such as chat rooms and forums (65% and 44%).

"Pushing out ads on social media is the surest way for brands to alienate consumers, especially the younger generations who make up more than 50 percent of the population," said Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium Technologies. "That's a lot of purchasing power, and it's only going to grow as these generations reach their prime spending years. The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don't do this risk their very existence."

Tags: advertising, brand marketing, social media

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