The Data Based Guide to Millennials on Social Media

Chances are, if you’re in the social media marketing world, you’re looking for ways to improve your contact with Millennials. Maybe you’re worried about your touchpoints, your message, or even your overall strategy. In our experience (as members of Gen Y), most companies get at least one of these things wrong. Many get it all wrong. We have a unique view on this issue in that we are Millenials, often marketing to Millenials. We feel that we can shed some light on issues from both perspectives.

Let’s start with a story. I recently received a message from a company (that I won’t name) that read something like this: “Hello there, I would like to personally invite you to take part in this upcoming promotion.” Normally, when I hear about a promotion I like to at least check it out. Despite being a marketer I am pretty susceptible to marketing (it’s probably because my empathy bone hurts for marketers everywhere). But this “personal message” – that didn’t even take them time to use some simple software tools to recognize my name – made me so mad that I actually unsubscribed from the service. If you’re going to be personal, actually be personal. Millennials can smell a lie a mile away – especially fake authenticity. I recently learned that I’m in good company: 43% of millennials value authenticity more than they value content on social media, and only 1% said compelling advertising makes them trust a brand.


Now let’s take a step back. What exactly is a millennial? This may seem like a trivial question, but many organizations truly do not know. Most people define millennials as an age group. Goldman Sachs, for example, defines a millennial as anyone born between 1980 and 2000. This is a good place to start, but not every person aged 15 to 35 fits the millennial profile. We believe it’s much more important to focus on the characteristics that define this generation. Here are some key metrics to look at:


So What?

What do these demographics mean for your organization’s marketing team? Since Millennials are so educated, they enjoy reading. 33% rely on blogs before they make a purchase. They’re cash strapped by their student loans and their marital status: there’s no such thing as a family income for this generation and thus much shopping is done online, where it’s easy to compare prices. You’ve heard the marketing adage that wives control 70% of a family’s purchase decisions. Well: Millennials don’t have spouses or families, it’s friends that influence their purchase decisions.

All of this links back to one key area: online presence, especially on social media. Brands that understand social media are able to become friends with Millennials consumers, as 62% say that engaging with a brand on social media makes them a more loyal customer. However, with 82% of millennials using more than one device on a daily basis, it’s key to customize content and message for each device/medium.

Optimizing content for each device is going to improve interaction, but not if you use the wrong social media channel. Millennials check their smartphone quickly for updates and messages. This makes twitter a perfect medium for smartphone content. The high quality images on Pinterest make more sense for the larger screen of a tablet. Remember that while Facebook is high in all categories, only 50% of Facebook sharing is on mobile, compared to 75% for Twitter and Pinterest.

Some very interesting research has been conducted by the Pew Research Centre, showing that income levels affect social network of choice.

Facebook use is negatively correlated to income, while snapchat use is positively correlated. Furthermore, female Millennials have different social media patterns than males, using more image focused sites.

Key Takeaways

Millennials want to engage with companies. However, they want to engage on their own terms. In order to effectively manage this, companies need to stop segmenting Millennials based on age, and look to different segmentation variables. It is essential that marketers take the time to understand how each social network, device, or type of content is used. If marketers truly take the time to understand their millennial consumers, they will be able to create a communications plan that is authentic, and will be trusted in the marketplace. Here are the steps we recommend taking to effectively market to Millennials:


Data collected from Elite Daily’s Millenial Consumer Trends suvey.