‘Reaching the Unreachables’ Study Identifies Major Shift as Creator Economy Redefines Advertising for the ‘Ad-Never Generation’
NEW YORK and LONDON, June 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Gen Z and Millennials reject traditional advertising because they prefer to hear directly from authentic, relatable voices: the creators, according to a new study. Today, a global designer commerce company Whale publishes the results of its “Reaching the Unreachables” research, which explores why creator content has largely replaced traditional advertising as a strategy for engaging the “Ad-Never Generation”.
Research found that Gen Z and Millennials are shifting their focus from conventional media channels to global content creators. This shift can be attributed to the sense of community, belonging and trust fostered by content creators – unlike traditional advertising, which respondents said made them feel manipulated.
This seismic shift in media consumption is forcing marketers and brands to rethink their approach to reaching, building relationships with, and staying relevant to younger audiences.
Key findings from the Reaching the Unreachables study include:
- Audiences go straight to the content they want, seek realism and connection in their social media experience – and do so almost entirely ad-free. More than half of Gen Z respondents in the US said they spend NO hours on ad-supported TV on any given day, with more than 60% of young consumers in the US and UK saying they try always block or ignore ads when online. These generations gravitate around small private digital communities, choosing to create meaningful connections around shared passions rather than spending their time in large media spaces open to the public.
- Creators build trust and loyalty, and make people feel “good”. More than half of respondents (>50%) said they tended to trust online content from individuals as much or more than content from large news and media organizations, and that they trust product recommendations from designers they love. In the US, 64% of young people surveyed said they “really like and feel loyal” to creators and influencers, and 61% said they often buy products they’ve seen being demonstrated or discussed. by content creators on social networks. Young people are also more likely to share content from people they interact with than share content from brands, with nearly 3 in 4 people and millennials sharing content from individuals as often as weekly.
- Young consumers gravitate and respond to the communities fostered and nurtured by creators. Online communities are the most important places to reach Gen Z and Millennials today, but also the hardest to master. More than half of respondents said it was essential that a brand’s values matched their personal values, with around 4 in 10 saying it was essential that the brand belong to a minority, demonstrating the value that this generation accords with the principles of diversity.
- Young consumers respond to creators and listen to them. Around 7 in 10 respondents said they were more likely to trust a review from someone who is “like them”. Over 60% said they were more likely to trust a product recommendation if it came from someone in the same online community they belonged to and had used online communities to help them decide which products and which brands to buy.
Whalar Global CMO Jamie Gutfreund said: “The era of mass creation is quickly coming to an end, but the good news is that brands now have the ability to source ideas and content directly from the communities they most want to reach – at scale. With this study, we can officially say once and for all that the creator economy has overtaken traditional marketing.The future is in the creators, and there is no turning back.
In response to the study findings, Whalar has created a roadmap of recommendations and best practices to help brands understand and navigate online communities and new rules of engagement. Steps to success include:
- Go beyond just selling and listening. Creators and communities are valuable sources of information and inspiration. These are your target audiences, smart brands engage this super powerful focus group for feedback and ideas.
- Determine how the brand can add value to the community. As a “guest guest,” it’s important for a brand to contribute to the conversation through exclusive content, experiences, and respect for the community.
- Build trusting and respectful partnerships with community creators. The creators are their own brands, not actors with scripts. Brands will be more successful if they approach these relationships as collaborations – brand to brand. “Give creators the right brief and be clear about your brand’s purpose and values, but don’t expect them to adopt your brand guidelines.” Said Gutfreund
Other best practices promoted by Whalar include developing longer-term strategic partnerships, rather than treating collaborations as a short-term transaction-only tactic.
To conduct this study, Whalar partnered with an analysis and strategy company Front Row Glimpses in February 2022 to interview 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 40 – all of whom used social media daily – in the US and UK. These results were complemented by interviews conducted in May 2022.
Download the full study here.
Whalar is a global creator commerce company enabling creators, brands and the world’s leading social platforms to work better together to drive business growth for everyone. We help brands stay culturally relevant through strategic relationships with creators who deliver entertaining, must-see content at scale. We are distinguished by our unique capabilities, including comprehensive creator talent management, brand partnership expertise, proprietary technology, a dedicated Web3 innovation practice and C Talent, the leading Deaf talent management agency and disabled. Our team includes over 300 diverse, creative, data and technology storytellers across North America, Europe, APAC and MENA. We power the creator economy. We are Whalars.
Ida Bo Frazier
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