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The 81.3 million members of the millennial generation, defined as the group of people born between 1982 and 2000, has surpassed the number of 74.5 million baby boomers. With millennials making up the biggest market segment in the U.S., marketers who want to be successful need to understand what this trendy, young adult generation responds to so they can adjust their marketing efforts accordingly.
While baby boomers still have a huge impact in the market and on the country’s overall economy, things are changing. A large number of baby boomers are retiring and transitioning to part-time jobs to supplement retirement income, and they are living longer than previous generations did. Meanwhile, millennials are driving a heavy portion of the American workforce. Add the large proportion of millennials who are active in the workforce to the fact that almost a third of them live at home with parents, and you see some mighty spending power adding up in this demographic group.
Image via Flickr by ITU Pictures
While millennials watch more broadcast TV than streaming channels like Hulu or Netflix, and they’re less likely to change the channel when commercials come on than Boomers, that doesn’t mean they watch the commercials. When commercials come on, it’s estimated that 78 percent of millennials engage in second-screening. Global Web Index uses the term “second screening” to refer to the times when viewers pick up their smartphones and tablets and quickly surf the internet, mainly to check social media sites, during commercials.
This creates a huge opportunity for internet-based marketing to reach millennials. The brief time periods allowed for surfing the web during TV commercials emphasize the importance of keeping messages short, easy to process, and bluntly to the point. One way to counter this screen-switching phenomenon is to plan a multi-faceted marketing approach that includes a mix of written content, video, infographics, and traditional ads.
Traditional ads are fading as a way to engage the millennial audience. However, with as many as half of all millennials using ad blockers to avoid seeing them. Ad-overload and ad-frustration are cited as issues driving the use of ad-blocking technology. One type of traditional ad that seems to still work with millennials are programmatic ads. Programmatic ads are created based on a large quantity of digital data that predicts what will catch the attention of this ad-averse generation.
According to Forbes, video is cited as the type of content that delivers the highest ROI by as much as 52 percent of marketing professionals. That makes videos one of the top mediums to use when marketing to millennials. The logic behind this is that millennials view a lot of short-form videos. Try to hook their attention within the first eight seconds, and keep the total video length short.
Think of this strategy as the 30-45-60 rule, and apply it to media such as live-action video, interactive infographics, and animated/motion graphics video. The maximum video length for a message shared to catch the attention of a millennial audience via Instagram should be 30 seconds, 45 seconds is the ideal length for Twitter shares, and 60 seconds is the max for Facebook shares.
Social media is an important research tool for millennials, with Global Web Index noting that four out of 10 using it to find entertaining and comical content when they’re online. A lot of product research is also done via social media, but only about 17 percent say they would ever buy using a ‘Buy Now” icon that’s posted on a social media site.
What that tells you as a marketer is that it’s important to be on social media, but it’s something that’s near the top of the buyer funnel. It may catch a potential customer’s attention if you put great content on a social media site, but it isn’t nearly as likely to hook them as client. An important thing to note is that most people don’t buy on the first contact, or touch. It usually takes multiple contacts before a customer feels comfortable and familiar enough to make a purchase, and social media helps with that.
Influencer marketing still works as a way to reach millennials because it doesn’t get caught in ad-blockers. It does, however, need to be done with authenticity. It can’t be canned or fake, and to be both effective and legal, the influencer needs to state things up front, such as whether it’s a paid promotion or if they received a free product.
There are three main types of influencer marketing that are especially effective when trying to appeal to this market segment. These are vlogs, celebrity endorsements, and expert blog posts. Millennials grew up in a culture that valued word-of-mouth advertising over commercials. Endorsements from trusted people who provide testimony to the effectiveness of products are considered more reliable than a paid advertisement.
Traditional internet searches are still the main tool used when this generation want to find something. Well-optimized content that answers questions and solves problems without wasting the reader’s time still rules. The key is to tell a story that catches and holds the interest from the very beginning or one that answers a question followed by details that are important and useful.
Providing rich, valuable information that ranks well in search engines is a way to bypass the ad-aversion and ad-blockers. It also gives you the chance to be the one telling your company’s story and guiding potential customers deeper into the sales funnel. When you’re ready, the experts here at CopyPress can help you in creating this type of content for your website.
The wide age range of millennials means they are in a variety of different life stages, and no one marketing approach speaks effectively to the entire group. Recognizing the way this tech-friendly group interacts with one another and their technology is a vital aspect to use as a foundation for your marketing. Finally, putting together a marketing package that combines a variety of authentic strategies that avoid high-pressure tactics is likely to produce the best results.