Study Finds Millennials Men Respond Emotionally to Ad Content

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Content-Marketing-StrategyDifferent demographics and age groups interact in different ways to various advertising and marketing messages. Understanding these interactions helps marketers create targeted campaigns that are better at soliciting a certain response or action from the consumer. New data from Unruly shows that Millennial males are more likely to respond to advertising content with more emotional responses than women or older men.

Though women are often considered to be more emotional than men, this research shows that men between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to become angry or get excited while watching video ads than women, and than other, older male demographics. This means that the trick to engaging Millennial men may be to go for an emotional angle that invokes excitement, anger or even sadness in some cases.

The report shows that engaging Millennial males with emotionally stirring content can lead to increased sales. The Unruly data suggests that around 70 percent of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product.

“Understanding how and why different viewers react to video content is so important for marketers,” said Unruly’s US President, Richard Kosinski. “Consumers who are more emotionally engaged with a branded video are more likely to share the video, more likely to remember the brand, and most importantly, are more likely to buy the product. For marketers, this means more engagement, more earned media and, ultimately, more sales.”

It’s important to realize that “emotional” isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, a particular emotion is at odds with the overall message of the campaign. For example, the study found that Millennial men were more likely to feel aroused, angry, fearful or contemptuous of the content they saw than the average demographics. While this is rarely useful for ads for things like food or clothing, these emotions can be used effectively for certain kinds of issue-based ads. For example, many political ads use these emotions (not so much ‘aroused’) to energize donors and voters.

The statistics are based on the  Unruly’s predictive tool, Unruly ShareRank. The analysis also gave a chance to quantify how men and women of certain age groups differ in their emotional responses to ads. Many of the results gives marketers reason to rethink so commonly held notions about how certain demographics feel and act.

Many Millennials are at an age where they start to feel nostalgic about things from their childhood. This can be seen in the popularity of retro show and revivals on Netflix. Despite this trend, marketers may not want to count on nostalgia to convince Millennial women to like their product. According to the report, Millennial women were ‘the least nostalgic’ of demographics while watching video ads.

The analysis of the Index also showed that Millennial men were significantly more emotional that their female counterparts. On average, Millennial men were 13% more emotional than Millennial women.

Though the research focused on younger audiences, it had some data about older demographics. For example, the study found that women over age 55 were the demographic ‘most likely to feel intense feelings’ of warmth, sadness or surprise. On the flip side, men over age 55 were ‘most likely to feel’ feelings of disgust at ad content.

For more information on how demographics reaction to marketing content, read this article on Millennials and Mobile.


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