Why Out-of-Home Advertising Reaches Millennials

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are the consumers to watch. They’re expected to spend $200 billion annually by 2017, when the last few members come of age and enjoy even more spending power. So they’re an attractive target audience.

Unfortunately, they are also hard to target because they’ve learned that changing things is only a click away — either via smartphone or tuning out traditional media. However, they love experiences like travel and entertainment, and support their on-the-go lifestyle by shopping at convenience stores — helping out-of-home advertising reach millennials much better than old-fashioned Madison Avenue advertising practices. 

Where They Are

According to USA Today, the 18-34 age group is now making 54{7dd1416ee44d296125d5309095d205871b45e29241d016cbe67a952aece7c226} of its purchases online. They love the convenience, which explains why they also love convenience stores.

A 2014 General Mills Convenience & Foodservice study says millennials are more likely to visit a convenience store daily or weekly than shoppers over the age of 35, and are more likely to purchase food and beverages while at the store. In fact, convenience stores accounted for 11.1{7dd1416ee44d296125d5309095d205871b45e29241d016cbe67a952aece7c226} of millennial food and beverage stops in 2014, compared to 7.7{7dd1416ee44d296125d5309095d205871b45e29241d016cbe67a952aece7c226} in 2006.

Millennials are more likely to stop and buy items — particularly food items — at convenience stores than any other age group. They also spend more on travel and entertainment, and often visit restaurants, nightlife spots, and gas stations, along with the convenience stores — all ideal locations to reach them with out-of-home advertising.

What They Value

Businesses that give back to the world and provide a clean, welcoming environment for consumers will reach millennials more than if they use gimmicks and fluff. Millennials like to reward socially responsible companies with their business. And they appreciate and use loyalty programs.

69{7dd1416ee44d296125d5309095d205871b45e29241d016cbe67a952aece7c226} belong to a retail loyalty program, and 70{7dd1416ee44d296125d5309095d205871b45e29241d016cbe67a952aece7c226} of those are happy with thier programs. This requires marketers to look at brand loyalty in an entirely new way, and retailers can still drive return sales by creating transparent and value-added loyalty programs.

While it’s no surprise that millennials shop at convenience stores for the convenience, fast breakfast foods, nutritious alternatives, coupons and deals and a larger grocery section were also listed as reasons they visit them.

Convenience stores that offer organic foods, healthy options, and even a mobile app to earn rewards will also do better than those that do not.

How to Get Their Attention

Millennials value experiences over possessions. They are more interested in connecting with their communities and understanding where their food comes from. Advertising that uses words like “fresh” or indicates that produce is locally grown can have a big impact on their decision to buy.

Any smart out-of-home advertising campaign targeting millennials should:

  • Promote socially responsible options.
  • Consider providing a mobile app and rewards programs.
  • Go above and beyond in service, products, and cleanliness.

Millennials are tough to reach because they’re out experiencing the world. Out-of-home advertising is the easiest, most cost-effective way to connect with them, because it goes where they are each and every day. To gain their attention, advertising must speak to millennials in a meaningful way.