To appeal to younger generations, brands must adopt a digital advertising strategy across multiple social media platforms focusing on personalised, targeted ads instead of aiming for broad appeal, says the Belgium-based digital marketing firm MediaDonuts.

Internet users are on an average of six social media sites, a number expected to reach 10 by 2023, according to research by Activate consulting.

“The online media landscape is changing rapidly as users look for new platforms that better suit their unique interests,” said Pieter-Jan de Kroon, co-founder and managing director of MediaDonuts APAC.

“As mobile-first generations, including millennials and Gen Z, are becoming the groups with dominant purchasing power, there is a genuine opportunity for brands and agencies to try out new ways and channels to engage with them, as these groups are more open to newer platforms and are more likely to be excited over the releases of new apps and features.”

He said instead of brands pitching their products with one ad for millions of people, they should instead try to push their messages separately to a million individuals.

Instead of shared common experiences via mass channels, brands should pivot to personalisation, he said.

The same research done by Activate Consulting shows people continuing to use media to enable social interaction and seek communities based around specific interests and hobbies. This includes teens sharing playlists on Spotify, playing online video games with friends or discussing anime on forums.

As internet use is increasingly mobile-centric and most mobile use is done through apps, Mr de Kroon advises advertisers target their efforts on apps their customers would likely use.

According to research by SocialMediaToday, most mobile users have 80 or more apps installed on their phones and use about 30 apps a month.

Millennials are three times more likely than older mobile users to be excited about new apps, and 76% of millennials think their phone is useless without apps.


“Many vanity metrics are no longer sufficient to plot a route to campaign success. To reach business goals, not only must brands expand beyond their familiar platforms to meet the target groups where they are, but also learn to pay attention to important data as well as implement third-party technology that could gain more useful insights into user behaviour than standard metrics offered by the platform,” he said.

MediaDonuts suggests using capabilities like cross-device tracking to prevent repetition of ads when a user consumes content through multiple devices. A combination of location tracking methods like geofencing and in-store footfall measurements can also be used to determine the effectiveness of online ads in persuading people to visit bricks-and-mortar locations.

“Consumer online behaviour is constantly evolving, especially when new platforms are emerging every week. Media agencies and advertisers cannot rely on a few familiar platforms and old strategies,” said Mr de Kroon.


In 2019, MediaDonuts grew over 100% year-on-year in Southeast Asia, and predicts earnings of more than 900 million baht in revenue this year.

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