The Money We Waste on Millennials

Millennials-Ad-BlockingThe ad budget you spend on digital ads to reach that coveted group is probably pointless. Sorry.

Almost 2/3 of millennials use ad-blocking extensions on their browsers (according to eMarketer) and that could be rendering your digital advertising spend useless. It makes strategic sense on the surface: You’re trying to reach those digital natives where they are most often – online. But if you’re paying attention to user behavior, you’ll know you need to re-tool your strategy.

Felicia Greiff, a staff writer at MediaPost and a millennial herself, was curious about the ad-blocking tendencies of her generational cohort.

“As a journalist, I benefit from publishers showing ads. But as a Millennial, I’m curious about blocking,” she said. She was curious enough to conduct a little informal research through Facebook.

Greiff interviewed a 19-year-old, Alex, who uses ad blocking as an extra layer of protection between his Internet activities against “spam, or sometimes even worse things.” Alex’s suggestion for marketers? “…stop any ads that hinder the speed and ease of your browsing.”

Seems like a reasonable expectation.  Nobody’s a fan of that bloated mobile feeling.

Kevin, a 25-year-old whom Grieff also interviewed, was fairly insightful as he reflected back on his use of ad-blocking software. “For the majority of the time I’ve used ad blockers, I really didn’t think at all about how I might be negatively impacting the sites I valued most.”

And therein lies the rub. Favorite and valued sites support themselves with paid advertising, and that advertising is blocked by the very target audience those advertisers desire. Is there a work-around? Not yet. But advertisers can hope that more Millennials adopt Kevin’s point of view: “I like a free Internet, and if that means putting up with ads that aren’t intentionally misleading or potentially damaging, then so be it.”

Can advertisers do their part and make the ad experience more tolerable? We’ll see.