By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
Tired of seeing Sheryl’s “she shed” succumb to lightning or watching Liberty Mutual Insurance’s “LiMu” emu pecking at its reflection in a downtown window? You may well be a Gen Xer, an American generation that still watches about 3.5 hours of non-digital TV daily but becomes weary of seeing ads over and over.
That’s according to eMarketer Daily, which recently reported on Gen Xers’ attitudes toward advertising and their digital tendencies, including such device usage as smartphones and smart speakers.
Gen Xers are those members of the U.S. population who are roughly 39 to 54 years old, or born between 1965 and 1980.
Gen Xers do spend much more of their time watching non-digital TV — think cable or dish — than millennials, who watch slightly more than two hours per day. But the Xers do get particular when it comes to ads during their 3.5 hours of watching non-digital TV, eMarketer says. (Millennials are those members of the U.S. population who are ages 23 to 38, born between 1981and 1996.)
Gen Xers “are frustrated with ad repetition,” Jeff Loucks, executive director for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte, a top auditing and consulting firm, tells eMarketer. “They feel like there are too many ads, and the ads are too long.
“… The desire to avoid these ads is driving a lot of streaming subscriptions, too.”
Deloitte found in a study of its own this past February that 77% of Gen Xers subscribe to video-on-demand services, compared to 64% who bought such services in 2017. Besides trying to avoid ads, Deloitte says, Gen Xers are streaming more of their TV time because of content control and the exclusive access they can get to certain shows and movies.
Generation X and Smartphones
Though Gen Xer attitudes toward non-digital TV ads may seem gloomy from a marketer’s point of view, the generation does use smartphones a lot, which makes the future of mobile marketing and video marketing quite attractive. This, after all, is the generation that’s more likely to have children around and thus has contributed to making “multitasking” the art form that it has become today.
“Based purely on screen time and usage, Xers are being effectively targeted and influenced through their mobile devices,” Gillian MacPherson, vice president of digital product and strategy at Epsilon, tells eMarketer. “They are shopping more online than they are with other devices.”
A November 2018 survey from Aki Technologies, an artificial-intelligence advertising platform, found that Gen Xers are most receptive to smartphone ads while watching TV (57%) or in bed before sleeping (51%) — as are other generations, including baby boomers (Americans roughly ages 55 to 73, born between 1946 and 1964).
However, Gen Xers are “specifically receptive,” Aki says, of the smartphone ads they see while they’re shopping in-store (37%), exercising (39%) or running errands (39%).
Gen X and Smart Speakers
Smart speakers, too, have become all the rage among Gen Xers, as they have with other generations.
More than one-third of Xers, or 35%, will use smart speakers at least once per month over this next year as they spread more of their daily tasks from phones to speakers, eMarketer predicts. Overall, it says, smart-speaker ownership for the total U.S. population will rise to 76.5 million in 2020 — a steep climb from the 16 million who owned smart speakers in 2016.
Weather and traffic updates are among the most likely requests that Gen Xers’ ask of their smart-speaker assistants; Alexa or Siri also are likely to be asked by a Gen Xer to order entertainment, add products to a shopping cart or give product recommendations.
Gen X not only has learned to multitask well, but it also has adapted to embracing new technology, which also can only bode well for marketers and advertisers as new platforms emerge.
“Xers are very open to interacting with media in new ways, whether that’s the smartphone, the smart speaker, streaming, etcetera,” Deloitte’s Loucks tells eMarketer. “They are eager for a better ad experience, and they want a better exchange of attention for content.”