How to Use Billboards to Advertise to Millennials

Who is a Millennial? The Nielsen Company puts anyone born between 1977-1995 into this box, but our society also has a habit of putting this demographic into a box. There are many myths surrounding these consumers, and it’s wise to look at the data instead of stereotypes when it comes to marketing. We’ll explain why you should care, help clear up some of the confusion, and explain the best strategies for what it takes to create a great billboard ad for reaching millennials.

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Why Care About Billboard Advertising to Millennials?

They Are Only Growing

24% of the US population is made up of millennials, that’s 77 million people. Learning how to better market your business means understanding what it means to reach this demographic. Because this demographic, with the values and habits they hold, is only getting larger and increasing in buying power.

Down, But Not Out

Millennials have not had a great time economically speaking and sport a higher “Misery Index” (calculated using unemployment and inflation rate). And not by a small margin, younger Millennials measure 2x worse on the misery index than those 55 and over. But, in spite of this, they maintain their optimism with 41% being happy with the way things are going in the country compared to 23% of the Boomers. And almost 90% believe they’ll be able to earn enough in the future.

But it’s not just the positive attitude that makes this demographic interesting. Some Millennials are actually quite affluent, making up 14.7% of those with assets beyond $2 million, more than Gen x and Young Boomers. Our city of Chicago actually makes the top 10 list of cities with the wealthiest millennials, coming in at number 9 (while Boomers don’t even make the list).

Millennials, even those who aren’t affluent, still want the latest and greatest and are shown to make impulse purchases. They are even shown to spend more than Boomers per trip.

They’re In The Cities

The classic “American Dream” is shifting from the suburbs to the city with more and more Millennials opting to be in dense urban centers. But they don’t want to totally abolish the neighborhood feel. This created the concept of “urban burbs”, where people live in an urban environment but want their neighborhood to be walkable and everything within a close distance. This is especially true for Chicago. Hyperlocal targeting specific neighborhoods is becoming more and more important for advertisers.

Then, while living in cities, Millennials are less likely to own a car and are more likely to walk to work than the older generations. This is what makes formats like Wild Postings so effective for companies in Chicago.


How To Create a Great Billboard Ad

With this information at your disposal, what should you consider when creating a billboard ad for Millennials?

Give Them a Deal

While Millennials may be known for their frivolous spending, they are actually the largest demographic in those who are spending their dollars on deals. With smaller paychecks mixed with a desire to have the latest and greatest, 31% of all their dollars are used on purchases that have a deal.


Through a study of having a music artist endorse your campaign, you can expect to see buy rates increase by as much as 28% among the artist’s fans and increase the market share by 2.4 points, according to this Nielson report on Millennials. This generation, more than older ones, love celebrity culture and appreciate authentic and relatable ads with a celebrity at the helm.

Have a Cause

Even though the Millennial generation has been called the “me” generation, the stats actually show the contrary. In one in example, Millennials are 8% more likely to feel the responsibility to care for an elderly parent. And when it comes to marketing positioning, this consumer group cares about being philanthropic. We see 75% of Millennials giving to a non-profit and 57% having done volunteer work, more than any other generation. Because of this they are more likely to spend money on businesses that are giving back, and these numbers are only growing. Promote a great cause in your marketing, and the Millennial will do the marketing for you.

Local Pride

Having an authentic and regional based approach to your marketing is appreciated by Millennials. Embracing the local pride of Chicago, and even better yet a particular neighborhood, creates a clear advantage.

Encourage Social Interaction

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are on social platforms more than any other generation. But a larger difference is how active this generation is compared to others. 20% of Millennials update their status multiple times a day, where 36% of Boomers simply never update. Entwining social media into your billboards will help drive traffic and further grow the reach of your impressions.

Reach out to our experts today to help you hyper-target your Chicago advertising. And not only that, but we will work with you to create the ideal design and messaging to reach the exact market, demographic, or generation for your business.