Why You Can’t Target “Millennials”

Campaign Manager: “Whose your target audience?”

Client: “Millennials”

Campaign Manager: *blinks* blank stare *blinks*

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We hear it time and time again, businesses come to us and want to target ads for Millennials.

Why is this a problem?

Because that “Millennial” generation you want to target ranges from the ages of 13 to 33, thats a 20 year gap!

Would you advertise the same product for a 33 year old man, who is married, a father and owns a house, as you would for a 13 year old boy who hasn’t hit puberty? Probably not.

While age is an important demographic to target, there are more important topics to target in order to ensure you are not wasting ad dollars.

Lets say you are advertising a new type of water bottle. This revolutionary type of water bottle can be hooked up to a smartphone to heat up the liquid, it can be taken camping to boil drinking water for hiking, you can add flavouring to it straight from your smartphone and it has satellite GPS in it so that you can locate it if you’ve lost it (because everything has GPS in it these days).

To create effective ads, focusing on different types of lifestyles may be the best way to ensure a positive ROI. For example:

  • On Facebook you can target users who have mentioned that camping or outdoor living is in their interests. You can then create ads that are specific to creating fresh drinking water features of the water bottle.
  • Another type of ad is targeting parents and focusing on the fact that they can keep track of their kids and the water bottle with the GPS feature. They can secretly keep tabs on their children or if their kids lose the water bottle it can be located.
  • Since it seems that every 13 year old has a cell phone, the flavour feature can be advertised to a younger group to draw them in.

These 3 types of strategies are for 3 very different features of the exact same product, however, rather than advertise blankly to the entire “millennial generation”, focusing on specific demographic targeting would allow for the advertising to be successful.


Since there is a 20 year age gap between the youngest and oldest Millennial, if you continue to advertise to the entire generation you might as well take your money and throw it out the window, it’s basically the same thing.

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