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The Types of Marketing Young Europeans Like (and Dislike), in 2 Charts

Gen Z and Millennials are skilled ad skippers, and brands need to get creative to reach them. Here are the types of advertising young Europeans want to see from brands…


  • Young Europeans know how to ignore marketing they don’t want to see, but there are types of advertising that many say they like
  • Gen Z and Millennials say most ads are boring and they want brands to entertain them
  • The metaverse is not just a marketing buzzword—Gen Z wants to see brands in their virtual worlds

We’ve long known that Gen Z and Millennials are ad-adverse—and that they’re skilled at ignoring any marketing they don’t want to see. Even as they consume more media than any generation before them, access to ad-blockers, ad-free entertainment, and the good old skip button has made it notoriously difficult for brands to reach them. But don’t worry—there is good news. In our recent WE Ad/Marketing Effectiveness report, the majority of young Europeans report that they actually don’t use an ad blocker, and the slight majority also are not paying for any ad-free subscriptions to streaming services. Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to say they aren’t taking either of these ad-skipping measures, which means the younger generation could be seeing more brand marketing (at least online).

But just because they’re seeing an ad, that doesn’t mean they’ll respond to it positively. After all, two in five young Europeans tell YPulse they’ve stopped buying from a brand because of an advertisement they didn’t like, and 63% agree, “Brands rarely do something that surprises me.” So what will grab their attention? We asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe to tell us how they feel about various types of advertising. Here’s what they say they like or love:

Young Europeans like many types of advertising—but they want to be entertained

Starting with the big picture first, the majority of young Europeans say they like or love many types of advertising, and surprisingly Gen Z is the more receptive to nearly every kind. Among Gen Z, the top type of advertising they say they like or love is ads for things they previously searched for, tied with entertainment sponsored by brands, including videos, movies, webseries, and podcasts. Creating entertaining content is the best way to reach young Europeans. These generations are always open to happy to watch entertaining videos, whether it’s user-generated or coming from a brand—and brands need to step up their game to entertain them. More than three in five young Europeans say that advertisements usually bore them, and the number-one kind of advertising they say would make them have a more positive view of a brand is content that makes them laugh.

According to young Europeans, the top way brands can do this is by sponsoring entertainment they are already watching, but they can also host branded events, and make ads based on trending memes / viral content, social media challenges, and more—which Gen Z is even more receptive to. TikTok is the app is where viral content starts, and YPulse’s WE Pop Culture Redefined Trend report found that Gen Z in particular likes when brands participate in meme-able moments. TikTok is also the top place Gen Z says they last saw an ad that made them want to buy something, which should hint at where brands should be, if they aren’t already.

Brands should also be partnering with influencers

While sponsored content from social media personalities isn’t at the top of the list, the majority of Gen Z say they like this type of advertising, which is something we’ve known for a while. Influencer marketing has boomed in Western Europe in recent years, and it’s not going anywhere. Spending in the sector has reached $27.5 billion combined in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. And despite the future of influencer marketing being called into question as brands slashed budgets in the face of the pandemic, YPulse’s WE celebrities and influencers data shows that young European consumers—and Gen Z in particular—still have their eyes and ears tuned to the moves of their favorite online stars. 70% of young social media users follow a TV/movie celebrity, musician, online celebrity and/or athlete on social media, and they find online celebs the most relatable and trustworthy public figures. Nearly half have also purchased something an influencer recommended—so there’s no shortage of proof that this is a top marketing choice for brands trying to reach young Europeans. In fact, it’s also one of the top types of marketing they want to see from brands:

Gen Z wants to see brands in the metaverse

Other than collaborating with another brand, partnering with an online influencer is the top type of marketing Gen Z wants to see from brands—and they’re more likely to say this than Millennials. But the starkest divide between the younger and older generations is when it comes to seeing ads in the virtual world: Gen Z is +9pts more likely to say they want to see this from brands, and while it’s low on Millennials’ list, it’s the third top type of marketing Gen Z wants. The metaverse is the marketing buzzword of the moment, and brands far and wide have been rushing to make their mark in these new digital landscapes. YPulse’s recently released WE Metaverse trend report found that the vast majority of young Europeans are playing video games that bring them a virtual world, where they’re playing games, hanging out with friends, and even buying branded digital products. Our report also found that 63% of virtual world gamers are open to seeing advertisements from brands in virtual worlds, and even more say they like it when brands interact with their virtual worlds. Though it may seem like a fad to some, brands should be making their way into the metaverse.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Ad/Marketing Effectiveness behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Western Europe Business account? Find out more here.