Millennials are not all that different than Gen X and Boomers in how they shop and engage with online advertising, according to a study by performance marketing technology firm Adroit Digital, conducted to discover if Millennials' online shopping behaviours and responses to digital advertising differs significantly from those of older shoppers. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The company surveyed 1,000 US and Canadian consumers aged 18-34 and 500 aged 35+ to see how digital advertising influences their path to purchase, aiming to help brands evaluate how their marketing efforts really align with Millennials' actual shopping habits and sentiments toward online advertising.

The study, entitled 'Marketing to Millennials', found that both Millennials and those 35 and older do the majority of retail browsing in-store (57% and 61% respectively). The majority of respondents are also more likely to click on a mobile ad over a desktop ad - 55% of those 18-34 and 52% of those 35+.

Additional highlights from the study included:

  • 75% of those aged 18-34 and 73% of those aged 35+ replied that online and/or mobile advertising affects what they purchase.
  • 73% of those aged 18-34 and 71% of those aged 35+ are likely to change their plans to visit a retailer or restaurant if they are away from home and receive an ad on their mobile device for a local deal or discount in the area.
  • 55% of Millennials and 54% of those aged 35+ chose online review sites as the online social medium that affects their retail purchases the most.
  • 68% of Millennials and 69% of those aged 35+ agree that one-click purchasing makes a difference in their likelihood to buy something.

"In many instances, Millennials don't shop or respond to digital advertising any differently than their older counterparts. This suggests that behavioural data can be a better predictor of how someone will respond to a message than age alone," concluded Jacob Ross, president for Adroit Digital. "But when it comes to sourcing a sufficient amount of behavioural data to build relevant models, where can an advertiser look beyond their own walls? To do this, we believe in the use of second-party data cooperatives (i.e. first-party data shared from many advertisers), which provides insights that combine the quality of first-party data with the scale of third-party data. In an era of data in 'walled gardens' that only benefit the owners, think of what we all learned back in the school playground: play nicely with others, and everyone wins."