Forget Millennials: Meet “Plurals,” the Next, Next Target for Marketers


Social Media Week

The generation after Gen-Z (some are calling them the “Plurals”) will force marketers to re-think the way content is created, messages are delivered, and revenue is generated. The “second-screen” we refer to today is quickly becoming the first screen, and everyone must adapt.

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If Millennials changed the game for marketers today, consider what the next generation that follows them will do.

Referred by some as “Plurals”, this generation of individuals ages 2 to 17 are sometimes learning how to navigate technology before they even utter their first word.

Turner Broadcasting (which owns Cartoon Network, TNT, truTV and other media properties) turned its attention to this age group born in 1997 or later who use “second-screen” devices such as smartphones and tablets, as their first screen.

Turner’s expertise is traditional television, but like any other business that needs to adapt and survive, they’re trying to figure out what works best on smartphones and tablets, and how to monetize programming around the next generation of connected viewers.

Among the core challenges for broadcasters today is the rise of “delayed” viewership (DVR, digital streaming, video on-demand, etc). A recent Deloitte study said 55% of total viewership today is “delayed”, and that number rises to 72% among individuals ages 14 to 25.

According to Turner, another viewership attribute of “Plurals” is multitasking. These viewers are likely watching TV with their phone in-hand, and “71% of them look up content related to the shows they’re watching before, during, and after consuming linear content.”

This means that creating digital experiences that mirror or amplify on-screen programming has become a core strategy for TV entities. This isn’t all that surprising. Most advertisers today understand that Twitter trends don’t organixally create themselves as much as they used to. Short-form content and real-time campaigns that run in parallel to long-form programming is expected nowadays to stand out online and grow audiences, often with paid media support.

So, what else do we know about the “Plurals” of tomorrow? Well, they are more likely than older generations to pursue niche content about subjects they’re most passionate about, underscoring just how much they value choice when it comes to their digital media habits.

Today’s consumers instantly skip ads, and are OK with that tap-to-skip trade-off. But, consumers of the future might grow up without ever experiencing ads on a regular basis. They might be much more turned off by the interruptions than Millennials are.

For marketers that still want to use traditional advertising to reach the future generation of consumers, they need to be aware of what’s truly resonating with this demographic. Turner encourages brands to create content that’s highly visual and replicates the lifestyles and passions of their target audience.

Ads can no longer be a disruption when it comes to TV-viewing, so advertisers should aim to provide the most entertainment or value possible with their brand at the center. Otherwise, the “Plurals” will simply swipe or tap the content away, as they should.

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More on Gen-Z: This 18-Year-Old Explains How Her Generation Uses Instagram, Snapchat, And Facebook

Image Credit: Haptic Generation



Erica Perry

Content and Marketing Associate , Crowdcentric

Erica Perry is a Social Media Week contributor, and Marketing & Content Associate for Crowdcentric. A recent graduate from Boston College, Erica resides in Boston, Mass.



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