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Social media tops TV ads for millennials

News, 24 March 2016

NEW YORK: More millennials believe that recommendations from their contacts on social media have an impact on purchase behaviour than say the same for TV ads, according to Deloitte.

The consultancy's "Digital Democracy Survey" found that 70.3% of millennials – defined as 14-32-year-olds – thought a positive opinion among their personal network on sites like Facebook and Twitter ultimately influenced what they bought.

Only 64.7% agreed with this statement when discussing television commercials, although that total did climb to 68% for 14-18-year-olds.

By way of comparison, a slightly greater 65.3% of millennials suggested online reviews from individuals they did not know shaped their decisions in this area.

Word of mouth from friends and family remained the most significant factor overall, cited by 80.3% of this cohort as a meaningful contributor to their purchase choices.

But Kevin Westcott, Principal/US Media and Entertainment Consulting leader at Deloitte, argued the results still pointed in a clear direction for marketers.

"The on-the-go, always-connected consumer is driving cultural changes in content consumption that fundamentally impact how companies connect with and engage consumers," he said.

"These behavioural changes, combined with the shift towards mobile-based consumer experiences, are disrupting traditional business models – while at the same time paving the way for newer opportunities for technology, media, and entertainment companies to adapt and evolve."

As yet, however, the new paid-marketing solutions being adopted by brands to reach the millennial audience are yet to match TV ads when it comes to leaving an imprint on self-reported behaviour.

More specifically, a 53.3% share of millennials stated that social-media ads influenced their buying decisions, versus 51% for advertising in video games.

This reading stood at 47.3% for endorsements from an online personality – a figure trumping the 42.7% recorded by traditional celebrity endorsements.

Ads sent via SMS or text messages registered the lowest score among the channels assessed by Deloitte, on 41%.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff