Reaching Millennials Through TV? You’re Spending Money On A Dead Marketing Channel

If you somehow still believed that TV was an effective channel for reaching millennials, it’s time to reevaluate your standing on this issue. In a report that should surprise no one, millennials 13-24 has officially declared TV as a useless medium for reaching them. To them, digital content is now the defacto king and their favorite YouTube personalities are challenging the Hollywood red carpet brigade as the most relatable and influential. Lets face it, to millennials, digital just delivers more relatable and entertaining content. The findings in DEFY Media’s Third Annual Acumen Report clearly lays out the information that YouTube personalities wield more power with your young audience, with 60% of millennials stating that YouTube personalities are influencing their path to purchase.

 Third Annual Acumen Report

“The report, conducted in partnership with Hunter Qualitative and KnoWhy Research, focused on an under-researched segment of teens and young adult Millennials to uncover what’s driving their content consumption, as well as the factors compelling viewers to stop, watch and share” – Defy Media

In fact, millennials spend 30% of their media time on content created by their peers or sources followed on social networks—more than the time they devote to TV. This media consumption trend that has been going on for a while should send shivers down TV executives backs and send marketing VPs scrambling to reevaluate their TV ad spending. The report is further proof that the traditional media model is falling short with the young audience that have become accustomed to watching whatever they want, whenever they want and recently, wherever they want. The increasing power and popularity of successful YouTube personalities have seen them (ironically) land big TV contracts, write books, and buy million-dollar mansions, all while amassing millions of fans.

Reaching millennials through TV? Get with the times!
The Acumen report courtesy of Defy Media:

YouTube Makes Millennials Feel Good About Themselves

One reason that YouTube scores high amongst millennials is that they can relate to YouTube personalities better than traditional celebrities. The young demography simply feels that they have more in common with the people who gained fame through their YouTube channels than Hollywood and Music stars, noting a bigger sense of attainment for YouTube stars’ fame.

Andy Tu, EVP of marketing at Defy Media, said “We had someone tell us, ‘I like Nicki Minaj, but I can’t relate to Nicki Minaj. All she talks about is making money.'” Tu said. “For YouTube, there seems to be this respect for them being who they are. When we asked them if they thought they could become famous on YouTube, a lot said yes.”

62% of the survey’s respondents claimed that digital content makes them “feel good” about themselves compared to 40% for TV.

67% of millennials said digital delivers content they can relate to vs. 41% for TV. Andy Tu continued: “They had this bond or relationship with these YouTubers, almost like they were someone they already knew in their regular life.”


How Purchasing Decisions Are Shaped By YouTube Stars

What should get marketers to really pay attention for reaching millenials is not only the fact that attention is clearly skewing in favor of online video in favor of TV, but the fact that more and more millennials state that their purchasing paths are affected by YouTube stars. The Defy study found that millennials look to social media stars for recommendations in not only purchasing/products but in many aspects of their lives. 63% of all respondents said they would try out a product or brand that a YouTube star had recommended. Only 48% said the same for TV and movie stars. Playing nice and getting in with the YouTube crowd is key for brands that want to market to the young generation.

The Most Popular and Influential Stars For 13-18 Year Olds…

…are in fact YouTubers. A Variety commissioned survey in July 2014 confirmed that the five most influential persons among Americans teens are comedy duo Smosh, The Fine Bros. and PewDiePie, with notable stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Seth Rogen, Katy Perry and the likes remarkably absent from the list.


These findings further emphasises the need for marketers to be smarter with their money and engage with their audience where they actually are, YouTube, when they want to reach millennials. Need to step up your YouTube pre roll ads? Give Shakr a try, great video ads for under $100 dollars that will resonate with your audience. Want regular blog post updates and free Shakr video templates? Sign up for our newsletter and free video ad template send outs:  

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Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Shakr

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