UGM and An Insight Into the Millennial Attention Span

As a Millennial just getting my start in the advertising world, I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that brands are lining up to market their products to me. Every other article that touches on the subject of advertising mentions my peer group and how we consume ads differently from other generations. The fact is we have grown up with technological advancements that fill our days with constant distractions.

I wake up every morning to my phone’s alarm and immediately check Instagram, email, and Snapchat (not always in that order), then I run around trying to get ready for work. Because of this onslaught of content, brands have an extremely small time frame to grab my attention. Once a brand has my attention, I usually allocate some time to learn more, however, they need to present a quick, easy experience in order for me to engage. This leads me to this week’s blog topic…Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.

I’m referring to the latest Snapchat branded filter promoting the new turtle movie by Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay. In this week’s filter highlight, the newest installation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Out of the Shadows, sponsored one filter that allowed users to morph into all four of the turtle characters. The caveat? Users had to wait FOREVER to get to each new character within one filter. Initially, users were Leonardo, and I’m sure most stopped there. There was no “raise your eyebrows” instruction so there was no indication that four characters existed on one filter.

No joke, it took me over five minutes to reach and save a snap of myself as all the turtle characters (and in Millennial time that is forever). Not very user-friendly, and definitely not Millennial-friendly. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 report on the state of the Internet, “The average Snapchatter plays with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds” which is a great opportunity for brands but 20 seconds is a far cry from five minutes! X-men took a different approach with their brand filters, having separate filters for each character. While I believe this is an easier user experience, X-men completely took over Snapchat’s filter section, frustrating me and many other daily users of the social platform.

My frustrations with the turtle filters got me thinking about my own Millennial-esque attention span and what kind of content is guaranteed to get me to engage. The entire point of user-generated content is to promote authenticity (something to which us Millennials are supposed to respond well to). But brands need to balance offering a fun and fast experience with their marketing goals in order to get Millennials to engage.

Working at Vivoom, I have been involved in the rise of a new trend, namely, user-generated marketing, which takes authentic user-generated content and also enables (and sometimes incentivizes) the creator to share his or her own branded content through multiple social channels, creating extensive reach throughout their own social networks. Not only is this content spread to a look-alike audience, the audience, in turn, is highly motivated to engage. Vivoom campaigns have seen upwards of 60% views to completion on our video campaigns with full screen and, full audio. These co-created videos garner their audience’s full attention across multiple social channels including text message, email, Facebook, and Twitter.

When paired with a seamless user-experience, UGM is capable of extensive reach and engagement. A message to brands: Make my user-experience easy. Because, as a Millennial, engaging with and sharing branded filters is rapidly becoming a pastime. And, once I’ve shared your brand’s filters, my look-alike audience is sure to extend that engagement to their networks and so on. Thus, the marketing potential for branded filters, when coupled with a quick, seamless user experience is huge.


Ava Pavao is a thought leader in mobile marketing with a unique perspective. In her current role at Vivoom, Ava works with the world’s top brands to help create, execute and measure shared media campaigns and, as a Millennial, herself, she’s active on a variety of social channels where brands are always trying to connect with her and her peers. Very few have such a unique lens (and the data) to see what works and what doesn’t in the world of mobile marketing. She shares her thoughts on this blog and is not afraid to let brands know where they are succeeding and failing in their attempts to reach her demographic.

If you’re interested in discussing mobile marketing with Ava, please connect with her on LinkedIn.

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