The RAVE-ing Wake-Up Call: How to Lure the 18-34 Market

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It is a Monday morning wake up call for consumer advertisers and agencies alike. In case you haven’t heard, all advertising safe bets — television, magazine and newspapers — are off. Simply put, they are being tossed aside by young adults who now spend their time online.

In a 2005 Work and Lifestyle survey that polled 20,000 18-34 year olds across the country, Experience Inc. found that that young adults were spending upwards of 6 hours each week on the Internet – emailing, surfing, researching. When compared to traditional mediums, the comparison is stark: the same audience spends an average of only 4 hours watching TV and a mere 1 hour reading print periodicals.

Couple this trend with the fact that young adults are more sophisticated about, and skeptical of, banner advertising. Remember, this age group has been pummeled with banner ads, pop-ups (and just about every other advertising tactic) from day one. So now, even your Web-based safe bets have changed.

That’s more than just a wake up call: it is a very real challenge for advertisers.

Good news
So what is a marketer to do when their coveted target sports blinders and moves on? Follow them, of course. Go where they go — hang out where they hang out. Find out where they spend the most time online — and then get out in front of them.

Many advertisers think that consumers aged 18-34 are skeptical of online advertising, and are cautious to spend money on interactive channels. But research shows that 53% of 18-34 year olds have purchased a product or service online because of an online ad. Furthermore, 41% said online advertisements resonate if they are related to the Web content they are viewing and 34% of them report that they find ads helpful in learning about a product or service. (Source: 2006 Online Advertising Survey.)

So the good news is this: online advertising really does work.

Complements please
Experience also found that young adults generally conduct research online before making a purchase, with the majority (53%) spending 1-2 hours researching a product/service. This is a critical component: young adults are clearly seeking information about a particular product before making a final decision. This presents a golden opportunity for advertisers to inform and educate young adults about the benefits of their brand, products, or services by complementing their research behavior online.

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