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The New Mainstream

The New Mainstream


Agencies, advertisers and partners joined the Time Inc. UK Innovation Group and Consumer Insight teams at an event to launch our latest research project THE NEW MAINSTREAM. This new research from our Insight team and Innovation Lab reveals that three in four 18-34 year-olds do not identify with the ‘millennial’ label. The insight identifies six segments in the market, their influences and how they interact, signalling that marketers and advertisers need to take action and move away from treating millennials as one homogenous group to avoid their targeting falling short.

Titled ‘The New Mainstream’, the research project will become an ongoing initiative from Time Inc. UK to further industry understanding of the diverse personas within the millennial audience and discover key influences, so that marketers and advertisers can better engage and unlock their commercial power.

A new youth panel called 'The Stream' will offer commercial partners the opportunity to collaborate with Time Inc. UK to uncover real-time insight and improve the accuracy of targeting as this audience and its diverse segments continues to evolve.

You can view the deck by clicking the-new-mainstream-deck

Romano Sidoli, managing director of Time Inc. UK’s Innovation Group, which reaches millennials every week through the NME, LOOK and Now brands, says: “The danger of advertisers not thinking about this audience in the right way is that they are at risk of their campaigns only reaching the very edges of the group, or missing them completely. Millennials are often perceived as one audience instead of the six, individual groups we are seeing and we want to spell the end of that broad brush approach.

“In the past 15 months we have successfully transformed both NME and LOOK by understanding the demands of a very diverse group of 18-34 year olds, but developing an understanding of this audience never stops. That’s why we’ve launched The Stream – to give advertisers the power to move away from campaigns that use myths or outdated concepts about the audience as the basis of their targeting.”

Six diverse audience segments and personas were discovered and their identities revealed:

Responsible Rebels (10%) – mainly aged 25-34 [56%] with almost half being parents [43%], this group is career-focussed, earn the highest income of the segments and are high spenders. They have a broad range of interests and they follow experts, media brands and friends on social media.

Urban Optimists (18%) – mainly aged 25 – 34 (61%) similar to the Responsible Rebels, Urban Optimists have a high income and high spend compared to other millennials. This group like their discovery to be curated by trusted sources (43%) and while they are keen to discover new brands, trust those they are already purchasing from. The content that engages them tends to be inspiring and personal.

Troubled Traditionalists (23%) – mainly female [67%], have medium income, enjoy eating out and invest in experiences. Troubled Traditionalists are less likely to follow brands on social media, prefer to do their own research or recommendations from family or friends. They want honest, knowledgeable and entertaining content.

Sofa Surfers (22%) – mainly aged 25-34 [71%] with a lower income and many being unemployed [12%]. They are low spenders with few interests. This group is the least likely to interact with brands – it tends to be friends they engage with on social media – or seek out new consumer brands.

Hashtag Heroes (11%) – the youngest of the personas, those aged 18-21 (44%) are most likely to be a Hashtag Hero than any other group and 60% are female. Typically students or at the start of their career, they are most interested in music, tech and eating out, spending their money mainly on socialising. Entertaining content is what draws them in and they tend to follow brands and experts on social media.

Crowdsourcing Consumers (16%) – this audience tends to be male (54%), have a medium income but are quite big spenders. Direct and authoritative content will engage them, with playful tone also piquing their interest.

In-depth quantitative research with a nationally representative pool of 2,000 18-34 year- olds - carried out by d.fferento/ogy on behalf of Time Inc. UK – marks the launch The New Mainstream initiative, challenging current perceptions of this audience.

Contradicting current perceptions of this audience, family (67%) and financial security (49%) were found to be most important to them right now, closely followed by friends (48%); that they consider themselves to be good people (47%); and career (41%). Most take the viewpoint that their generation will be the first to be more financially worse off than their parents (68%) and almost half (48%) prioritise responsibility over pleasure, considering themselves to be mostly rational compared to hedonistic (42%).

Many either feel settled down (45%) or would like to be (31%), with just 20% being content to not be. The majority of those aged 25-34 say they feel settled down (60%) compared to 31% of the younger 18-24 group. Signposting their hopes for the future, the audience predict family (66%) and financial security (57%) will continue to be most important to them at ages 35-54, with owning their own property (49%), career (47%) and being in a long term relationship (47%) also forecast to be in their top five priorities.

While this digitally savvy audience for the most part like to be constantly switched on to the online world (59%), 32% enjoy a digital detox to help them relax.

The research follows the success of recent Time Inc. UK campaigns with Google, Apple, Adidas, Topman and Netflix.