Marketers are quick to label millennials and determine how brands should connect with them. This generation is unique in how they consume and engage with media. As we learn more about this group, we understand that different is good. Brands will only be successful in making those connections, if they recognize that this generation is collaborative, tech savvy, and adaptable!
Millennials, born between the years of 1981 and 1996, have been described as the first generation that grew up in the “Internet age.” By 2025 they will form an estimated 75% of the workforce. They are looking for content that provides information on products from their peers, colleagues, and customers. They seek out curated content experiences that address specific business, industry, and market conditions.
So, what makes them unique?
Being tech savvy, they are more familiar with mobile devices and social media than previous generations. They stay connected and are likely to share brand experiences. While smaller screens and streaming make up most of millennial online habits, they are multi-taskers. Many are browsing social media while engaging across multiple media platforms that contribute to making brand and product discoveries.
Not all millennials are the same when it comes to media consumption. There are two main Millennial segments known as the Millennial split – those born in 80s vs 90s. Engaging with these different segments requires targeting each of these audiences with personalized experiences. Creating unique and authentic experiences while also offering consistent brand engagement ensures customer loyalty with this group.
Streaming is where it’s at
Millennials want experiences that are immersive, interactive, and help offer a sense of adventure and exploration. Building meaningful connections with others is important. The majority say that video is important in the decision-making process and continues to be useful in the post-purchase stages. Video is preferred for learning how to use a product or service, troubleshooting, and considered helpful content when developing an awareness.
Millennials also spend a lot of time watching online TV, though their relationship with broadcast TV remains strong. They are notably the least ad-adverse generation to commercials. Overall, the leading streaming services, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Prime Video, Peacock and Apple TV, have seen an increase in millennial users, with HBOmax seeing the biggest increase.
How the pandemic reshaped things
During the 2020 lockdowns, the amount of time millennials spent online peaked, and mobile has maintained a greater share of their overall digital time. The pandemic impacted us all and staying on top of news and current events has been draining. Millennials have shown a 10% drop since 2020 of interest in the news as well as decreases in online news sites. The generation found and embraced new ways to stay on trend and informed. Digital audio has proved a game changer. Over a quarter of this generation are listening to podcasts weekly. They have an affinity streaming services offering personalized recommendations based on a user’s mood or interests. And over 70% of Millennial podcast listeners are opting for sponsored versions. This gives brands plenty of opportunity to promote within the space. An awareness from marketers to ensure ads fit the host’s style and don’t interrupt the flow of conversation is important to balance.
Adulting and Socializing
This generation is sociable, and the pandemic reshaped how they interacted. We continue to see their social media use, attitudes, and expectations shifting. Keeping up with friends leads to growth in mobile gamers, VR (virtual reality) headsets, and gaming consoles. Facebook and Instagram, as social media services, continue to be dominant platforms for this generation, though we are seeing more engagement with Tik Tok by almost half of US millennials. There has been a shift away from perfection on social media and even more so since the pandemic. This generation loves a hashtag and a meme! In recent years, memes were some of the most common content types consumed by millennials on social platforms. They are quick to interact with brands and hashtag challenges.
Celebrities and influencers are motivators in the social media space, and millennials are in buying-mode on the platform. Communities and like-minded groups offer a sense of belonging, and marketers that work with creators, from well-known to ordinary, are more effective in reaching and engaging this generation.
For more perspective let’s hear an actual “millennial in the wild,” Jason Lamoreaux, a brkthru Senior Account Manager.
Q: The rise of millennials has reshaped the way media has been regularly consumed throughout the years. Can you share some of your media consumption habits?
A: Twitter is a go-to for good sports content; Facebook/Instagram; YouTube; Cable + streaming
Q: Authenticity and individuality are both buzzwords whenever there is a talk about millennials and brands. How can these values be reflected by brands to attract millennials?
A: If a brand shows personality instead of being cookie cutter, where they think outside the box, that’s being authentic.
Q: Name top brands that you believe have been successful in engaging millennials.
A: Nike does a good job engaging with everyone, but they definitely keep it relevant. Many beer companies also come to mind.
Well said, Jason!
All in all, marketers need to reexamine their playbook when engaging this tech savvy generation. It’s important to keep in mind this group’s diverse use of digital not just for entertainment, but also to learn and socialize within their communities.
Want to learn more about Gen Y and how we can tailor to your needs? You’ll find that we shine when it comes to identifying and reaching key audiences for your brand. Reach out to start a conversation. firstname.lastname@example.org.