In August 2012, AdRoll visited OR Summer Market to meet some of the top retailers and manufacturers in the sporting goods industry. As we discussed retargeting, we noticed a growing trend of traditional, established sporting goods companies pivoting their branding and marketing investments to the action sports arena to appeal to the next cash cow, the Millennials.

A few years ago, media began buzzing about Millennials, also known as Gen Y or the Facebook Generation, and the difficulty to sell to these digitally savvy, liberal, twenty-somethings. With the generation now accounting for 37% of adult consumers and spending almost $200 billion a year, many outdoor industry brands have been trying to tap into the massive revenue opportunity.

Take a look at Nike. Well known for turning running into a popular sport, Nike has dumped tons of money this decade into penetrating the action sports market. With millennials as the dominating consumer base, they’ve had to change their marketing strategy to connect. Their acquisitions of Hurley & Converse have all been steps in establishing themselves as a leading skate, surf, and snowboarding manufacturer.

So where does AdRoll fit in? Luckily for us, we work in a marketing channel where these core action sports and outdoor millennials spend most of their time – the internet.  A healthy marketing mix of branding elsewhere but then re-engaging with consumers after they looked at a product is where we work our magic.

Yoon Kim, a journalist for publications including SNEWSGearJunkie, and USA Today Adventure, mentions “Generation Y has developed a strong immunity to traditional advertising. The trick to advertising to them is showing them ads after they’ve expressed interest. Otherwise, you’re blanketing ads which is great for branding, but relatively ineffective for calling to action. You should advertise to them after they’ve searched for a particular keyword, signed up for an email list, or abandoned a shopping cart. This ensures ads are relevant and timely.”

That’s why we’ve seen one of our top action sports clients, Volcom, achieve click-through rates 2-3x the industry standard with their campaigns. Their ads are working, because they’re reaching website visitors who have shown interest in purchasing a particular product.

Interested in learning more about us and marketing to millennials? Meet us at OR Winter Market (1/23-1/26) in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ll be co-sponsoring tonight’s Industry Party with a beer pong tournament.