BBC Global News: helping advertisers reach affluent millennials

Reaching Affluent Millennials

BBC Global News Ltd won an award for 'Customer Insight Strategy of the Year' at The Drum Marketing Awards 2017. BBC Global News set out to dispel the misconceptions surrounding millennials, and make it easier for advertisers to target this audience. Here it explains how it achieved this by conducting a successful study.

Executive Summary

Through this leadership study, we offered advertisers a deeper insight into the difference between ‘affluent’ and ‘non-affluent’ millennials, for example in their attitudes towards money and the environment and how they use and interact with media and brands. We also identified the most valuable segment ‘The Supercharged’, the influential, opinion leaders of their generation. The BBC tops the reach to this group with 87% total monthly brand reach.

Before this idea was developed millennials were extremely difficult to target with any precision. With 934 million 16-34 year olds globally, they were considered one vast homogenised group, which is incorrect. Also among our clients there was a perception that BBC World News and is not consumed by millennials in the first place and that the best place to reach them is on social media and sites like BuzzFeed and Vice.


  • To demonstrate that the industry perception of millennials doesn’t match the reality and the affluent subset should be considered the ‘real’ millennials – this is a new insight.
  • To show how affluent millennials’ relationship with money and the environment has an impact on their relationship with brands.
  • To segment affluent millennials down further and identify the most attractive group to advertisers – ‘The Supercharged’.
  • To make the whole study actionable by showing how the BBC has number 1 reach for ‘The Supercharged’ and that you can now directly target them on via GWI and our own audience segmentation tool.

The study was carried out between August and September 2016 and comprised over 14,000 interviews across 31 countries. Respondents were selected from a pool of millennials from industry wide planning tool the Global Web Index, and modelled up to the entire Affluent Millennial base. The research also included interviews with affluent millennials across seven markets – Australia, Germany, USA, Canada, India, Singapore and South Africa – conducted by Voxpopme.

We investigated further to discover that affluent millennials have a unique relationship with money and the environment which has a major impact on their relationship with brands.

They are confident, outgoing and like others to know of their wealth – it is status defining. They are 36% more likely to consider themselves much more affluent than their equivalents in older generations. Agreeing with statement: money is the best measure of success – afffluent millennials 51% (versus non-affluent 40% and 35+ 40%)

When it comes to the environment, we found out millennials are intensely passionate about the topic. They don’t just talk about it, but carry it through to their purchase decisions.

I would pay more for sustainable/eco friendly products – affluent millennials 72% (versus non-affluent 57%) “I really like brands that aren’t just in it for the money, they’re contributing in a positive way to the world.”

I prefer brands that give back to society – affluent millennials 82% (versus non-affluent 72%)

It’s clear that affluent millennials see brands almost like friends and this has a fundamental impact on how they expect to be spoken to – they expect a dialogue and added value from brands. The relationship is on an emotional level – brands play an important role in their lives and help define who they are to others.

I am defined by the brands I purchase – affluent millennials 60% (versus non-affluent millennials 44%) “When I pick a brand they need to represent what I like and my lifestyle, because if I don’t choose a brand that I believe in, then why am I consuming it?” affluent millennial, male, USA.

We know that affluent millennials need to be respected so they don’t want to align themselves with brands that will reflect badly on them. This represents a big opportunity for brands to reach an extremely loyal group who will love and breathe their brand. Get it right and advertisers can reach this, the most commercially receptive group across any age group.

Having defined who this group are, our study then explained to our advertisers how to reach them. And surprisingly that isn’t on social media and through ‘youth brands’ such as BuzzFeed and Vice. Affluent millennials have a much stronger relationship with traditional international news providers and 72% say they consume more international news than they used to.

International news providers help them understand the world and to make important life decisions. They are concerned about their wealth so acutely aware how events happening on the other side of the world can have an impact on their lives. They value trust above all else in a news provider, with 83% saying it matters most to them. This is followed by an intelligent view, impartial coverage, a global view and in-depth reporting – all the areas BBC News excel in.

We concluded our findings by informing advertisers the best place to reach ‘The Supercharged’ is the BBC, with 87% total monthly brand reach. This is against CNN on 86%, CNBC on 83%, Bloomberg on 76% and Facebook on 71%. BuzzFeed and Vice have the lowest reach on just 43% and 38%.


This study has delivered value to our advertising clients by not only being a piece of thought leadership for the industry but by being actionable too. Our clients have full access to the Affluent Millennial segment including ‘The Supercharged’ through the Global Web Index (GWI). Plus the segments are targetable on through our data management platform Krux and we are starting to receive requests for the segment since it went live in January. We have already presented the research to the likes of Samsung, Jaguar Land Rover, Visit Britain, BA, Shell and UBS and agencies including Carat and Mindshare.

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