What Young Agency Execs are Looking For, and Why it Matters

Posted May 9, 2017

There’s a saying in technology that if you want to know what the next mainstream consumer hit will be, you just need to ask a 14 year-old. From Snapchat (and the rise of vertical video) to treating mobile phones as our go-to devices for entertainment content, a lot of today’s tech trends first came to light with younger consumers.

In advertising, we may not look to 14 year-olds, but we definitely take note of what younger generations are embracing. Last week, Adweek took a look at a survey of agency execs to examine key differences between younger and older executives (and in your daily reminder that the world is changing, “older execs” now encompass everyone over the age of 30…).

Two key trends specifically caught our eye:

  1. Certain metrics should be viewed as table stakes, not outcomes. Younger execs were significantly less concerned about viewability than older execs. This doesn’t mean that viewability isn’t important though. It’s just not something that should be treated as a success outcome. Younger generations look at viewability (and brand safety, for that matter) as table stakes, and if you can’t provide that, the conversation is a non-starter.
  2. Video needs to be more than “just” video. As digital media has now surpassed TV in ad spend, executives of all ages are thinking through how to best leverage their video content. Younger executives are more skeptical of video than older executives, and we think that this is because they are looking for advertising options that mirror their own experiences as consumers. If the video they consume themselves is vertical, they need vertical video advertising options. Simply taking the television experience and shifting it to mobile is not the answer, and younger execs especially seem to grasp the importance of figuring out how to optimize for mobile.

Digging deeper into the responses around video, it’s worth calling out that “older executives” are actually slightly more bullish than their younger counterparts, and there is a good reason for this. They know that video works!

The older generation wants the great brand building vehicle they have relied on for years, while the younger generation wants to rethink video for the mobile-first generation. They’re looking for something reactive and responsive — as authentic as something shared from a friend, and as rich and interactive as the apps they live in daily.

When you can find the intersection between what young agency execs are excited about, and the tried and true methods that have worked for years, the possibilities are endless.

So where do we go from here? As Abraham Lincoln once said, the best way to predict the future is to create it. We agree.

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