Millennials Aren’t as Hard to Reach as You Think

Millennials Aren’t as Hard to Reach as You Think

Why are Millennials seen as an elusive group to effectively target with media?

Other than newspaper readership, Millennials are on-par with other generations’ media consumption.  According to the GfK-MRI Fall 2015 Survey, Millennials read just 11 newspapers per month compared to Gen X’s 14 newspapers and the Boomers’ 18.  However, Millennials spend more cumulative time with TV, radio, and digital media than Generation X while each generation reads an average of nine magazines per month.


It’s not surprising that Millennials spend more time with digital media than other generations.  However, it may surprise you that Millennials spend almost as much time watching TV as Generation X.

Nielsen studied Millennial TV viewership in their Q4 2015 Total Audience Report.  They found that TV viewership was tied to the life stage, rather than the age, of the Millennial consumer.  They broke Millennials into three groups:

  • Dependent Adults – Living in someone else’s home (typically a parent)
  • On Their Own – Living in their own home without children
  • Starting a Family – Living in their own home with children

There is a steady progression through these life stages.  97% of eighteen year-olds live in someone else’s home.  About one-third of 26-27 year-olds fall into each of the three life stages.  Nearly 90% of 34-year-olds live in their own home and about 60% also have children.

Nielsen found that all three Millennial groups spend at least two hours per day watching live TV and at least one hour per day watching a TV-connected device, such as Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or a video game console.  Those ‘Starting a Family’ watch the most live TV and the most TV overall at 4 hours and 40 minutes per day.  Those ‘On Their Own’ consume the least amount of live TV and the least amount of TV overall with 3 hours and 38 minutes per day.


Millennials ‘On Their Own’ spent the most hours on their digital devices.  In the month of November 2015, Millennials ‘On Their Own’ spent a total of 94.5 hours (about 3 hours and 9 minutes per day) with digital devices, compared to 83.5 hours for those ‘Starting a Family’ and 76.8 hours for ‘Dependent Adults.’


What does this mean for marketers?

While digital media plays an important role in a Millennial’s life, it is important to include traditional media in your media mix. In fact, the majority of a media campaign’s advertising dollars should focus on traditional media, generally speaking. The Advertising Research Foundation examined 5,000 campaigns representing $375 billion in spending. They found that the optimal media mix for Adults 18-34 is 71% traditional media and 29% digital media.  Millennials are embracing new media at a rapid pace, but it doesn’t always come at the expense of traditional media – they find time for both. Multi-media campaigns are the best way to reach Millennials and to maximize ROI.

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