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digital world, are ‘Generations’ redundant?
There’s somewhat of an obsession today around targeting the fabled ‘Millennial’, the general term given to the broad section of the population who have come of age since the digital revolution, who live on their smartphones and are totally immersed in the online world. It’s become clear however that Millennials are not so much a target group by themselves, but rather an almost infinite amount of smaller, individual groups based on a mountain of different tastes and preferences.
This piece from Advertising Age argues that the same is true for nearly every other target group that’s active today. We all now live in the digital age. Not just Millennials. And with the choices and options offered to basically all groups of the population today, trying to pigeon-hole people by age, gender, status or location, has become a fool’s game.
We live in a Post-Demographic Consumer age and sociologist Jane Pilcher Mannheim argues that what defines groups today is “less about their place in time and history, and more about finding their personal tribe — finding passions, people and brands that fit their vision of themselves… Quite possibly, a 16-year-old anime fan is more like a 32-year-old anime fan than she is similar to a 16-year-old sports enthusiast”. Food for thought.
In contrast, one region where things are a little more straightforward when it comes to targeting by demographics is China, undoubtedly one of the biggest growth markets in the world right now. It’s not something I’ve ever thought much about before, but there are a few particular factors that go some way to forming the mindset of the young Chinese consumer.
Due to the massive economic growth in the country in the last couple of decades, coupled with the Chinese one-child per family policy, this has resulted in a certain type of generation. A generation that is much more self-obsessed, care-free, and more likely to seek out short-term feel-good experiences than any generation preceding it. They don’t face the same type of hardship as their parents, and they are the sole focus of not only both parents, but both sets of grandparents as well. That is a hell of a lot of special attention. Interesting to see how some brands have adapted to appeal to these particular traits (read here).
SnapChat has been the ‘it’ social network of the last 12-18 months, there’s no question about that. Evan Spiegel has been courting the ad world recently after a huge period of growth for the platform. While all this has been happening however, Vine has been racking up solid numbers of it’s own. Apparently Vine has the same amount of unique monthly visitors as SnapChat (34.5 million according to comScore) as well as playing 1.5 billion monthly “loops”.
It’s fallen under the radar somewhat since it burst onto the scene after being acquired by Twitter in 2013 and this article by Quartz suggests that one of the reasons why SnapChat has seen so much coverage is due to constant speculation over being acquired itself. Either way, these figures act as a reminder that Vine could still be a viable channel to use for brands (some decent examples in the article too) . Advertisers take note!
If SnapChat is responsible for one thing however, it has been the massive growth in popularity of the vertical video. Up until recently, shooting a video in portrait mode was one of the cardinal sins of video creation. The tides are changing however, and the fact that 30% of our total time looking at a screen of any kind is spent on a device held vertically is conditioning us to accept this form. YouTube have revealed that uploads of tall videos have grown 50% in 2015. The growth of SnapChat and the recent roll-out of their ‘Discover’ section has meant that users are now more accustomed to seeing vertical videos from publishers and not just their friends. I’m betting that’s it’s not long before we start seeing vertical ads popping up in YouTube pre-rolls and the like.