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These Are the Top Places Gen Z & Millennials Are Seeing Ads That Make Them Want to Buy

Where was the last place young people saw an ad that made them want to purchase something? 


  • TikTok is the top place Gen Z is seeing ads that is influencing them to make a purchase
  • Meanwhile, Facebook is the top social network where Millennials are seeing ads that make them want to purchase something
  • Both gens are more likely to be influenced by ads they see on social media and YouTube than cable TV

Gen Z and Millennials are two generations that brands need to be increasingly clever to reach. While they may spend more time consuming media than any before them, they are incredibly adept at avoiding the marketing they don’t care to see. YPulse’s Ad/Marketing Effectiveness report looks into where brands need to be advertising, what type of marketing young people like, and what they want to see more of in brand advertisements.

In our behavioral survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds to think of the last ad  that made them want to buy something, and tell us where it was. Respondents chose from a list of 22 options that included every major social media platform as well as sources including ad-based streaming, radio, podcasts, cable, billboards, direct-mail, and more. We found some big similarities along with some notable differences in Gen Z and Millennials’ top five responses:

TikTok is the top place Gen Z is seeing ads that make them want to buy
Young consumers are spending an average of four hours a day on social media. We told you that Gen Z is using social media differently than Millennials—and with the younger gen being on TikTok more, of course they’re seeing more ads on the app. But our research also shows that TikTok is the top place Gen Z has seen an ad that made them want to buy something, with Gen Z much more likely than Millennials to say so. The difference is significant, with 27% of Gen Z saying Tiktok is the last place they saw an ad that made them want to buy compared to only 9% of Millennials. Sure, TikTok has been a hotspot to hangout with friends and participate in fun dance challenges and trends, but it’s also become a place for users to buy the hottest new products. Subcultures on the app have brought together like-minded users who use the platform to rave their favorite products, and we told you about the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag, which currently has over a whopping 10 billion views and features videos of users sharing some of their recent purchases that were influenced by TikTok. In recent years, the platform has been taking advantage of viral purchasing by helping brands through features like Spark Ads, a native ad format that allows brands to use organic posts from creators on the app in their ad campaigns. And brands have also been partnering with influencers for sponsored campaigns and ads to reach their followers. All this and more have certainly led to Gen Z shoppers buying

Millennials are most likely to see ads on Facebook
Meanwhile, Facebook is the top place where Millennials last saw an ad that made them want to buy something. While TikTok is Gen Z’s top social network, Facebook is still Millennials’. And while ads on TikTok have been a strong way to reach Gen Z, Facebook (and Instagram) have still been primary drivers of ecommerce traffic. Millennials are participating in groups and following influencers on Facebook, and it’s where they are seeing ads that are relatable to their lives, making them want to purchase new things. But it is notable that TikTok is on their top five ranking as well, showing marketing on the app  isn’t just reaching Gen Z.

Both gens are more likely to see ads that influence them on social media and YouTube than cable
Cable ranks below social platforms and YouTube among both generations. Millennials have been known as the cable cutters, and many Gen Zs never plugged in in the first place, and are being raised on streamers. When it comes to ads, it’s hard to reach generations that aren’t watching. It’s clear that social media and online video  is where young people spend most of their time and where they’re getting influenced to buy the products they want. Among Gen Z , video games also rank above cable, showing how important gaming is in reaching this gen, and how far cable has fallen as a marketing medium that works on young consumers.

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

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