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Traditional or Digital Ads? Millennials Show Mixed Feelings

Millennials more influenced by digital ads, but pay more attention to traditional ones

April 15, 2014

Millennials are known as a digitally savvy group, but does that mean that they view traditional ads as less effective? According to polling by Adroit Digital, many millennials don’t. When the January 2014 study asked US millennial smartphone users about the effectiveness of digital vs. traditional advertising, 36% said that digital ads were more effective; however, the percentage of those who said they were equally effective was close behind, cited by 28% of 18- to 33-year-olds.

Effectiveness of Digital vs. Traditional Advertising According to US Millennial Smartphone Users, Jan 2014 (% of total)

But despite what millennials say, digital may be winning the race. While Adroit Digital found that TV ads—a traditional form of advertising—were the most influential in perceiving/valuing a brand among millennials (70% of respondents), digital ad formats beat out the remaining traditional ones.

Types of Advertising that Are Influential in Perceiving/Valuing a Brand According to US Millennial Smartphone Users, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

Millennials may view digital ads as most influential, but it takes a special one to catch their attention. A January 2014 study from Goo Technologies conducted by Harris Interactive found that 18- to 34-year-olds were far more likely to ignore online ads, such as banners and those on social media and search engines, than they were traditional TV, radio and newspaper ads.

Ads US Internet Users Ignore, by Age and Gender, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

The majority of male and female millennials said they ignored online banner ads, and around two in five males and half of females didn’t pay attention to social media or search engine ads. Millennials were the least likely to ignore TV ads, with about one-quarter of each gender group doing so.


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