How to Leverage Data to Target Younger (or Any) Generation

Here at Nomad, we are often tasked with identifying young audiences and engaging them with a brand. This is an elusive audience because there’s a lack of traditional ways for identifying them. Older audiences have home addresses, taxes, credit cards, cars, careers, and a Facebook profile–all things that help define them. Younger generations (we’re talking Gen Z) are not established in the world and thus are harder to find online.

Sure, they might have a Facebook profile, but they are not using it like they do other platforms. They have a smartphone in their parents’ name. And when they browse their favorite websites, they use an ad blocker to prevent their usage from being tracked, unlike their parents, who have never heard of such a thing. The real trick to attracting these younger demographics is knowing where to find the audiences and what content will resonate the most once you find them.

A recent goal of ours was to attract teenage girls to a brand that wanted to build up that segment of their market. In order to do this, the messaging, or the voice of the brand, needed to reflect the values of the target audience and provide engagement by showing content that would be experiential and meaningful. We ran a campaign on social media using three videos on various topics. The first video was about a team outing and involved campfires, swimming holes, and no cell phones–it was about making real connections.

(Talk about an experience for a generation born with smartphones in their hands!)

This was our test video, meant to gather data in order to better understand the audiences we had targeted. Did we get engagement from all or some of the defined audiences? Was there one audience that was costing more than another, and if so, why? Did the comments provide any insight? We started fishing.

When it was time to release the second video, we knew much more about the audience–the data allowed us to dismiss some assumptions and proved others. Here’s a key point–the second video was always meant to be the primary video, which would support our main goal of attracting teenage girls to the brand. The second video centered around a girl practicing extremely hard for an event and nailing it. The content spoke directly to the audience we wanted to engage and it work. Fish in the boat!

We pushed any interest to the website, where visitors were greeted with additional videos that were geared toward their values and a sign-up form for free resources. We were nurturing the connections we had made. This started to create lists that we could then use to further build profiles in order to better understand those that we were attracting via the video campaigns. In the end, the brand experienced roughly a 25 percent increase in female visitors.

In this example, we used a particular demographic (and a bad fishing pun), but regardless of your audience, there is no silver bullet when you first start advertising online. In my experience, the brands which are the most successful at advertising online are the ones that don’t stop. You can’t garner much from one single campaign, but when you take the aggregate across many campaigns, you’ll really start to be able to leverage your data to lower costs and attract your desired audience.