A couple of weeks ago, a few of our team members attended Digital Summit Atlanta, and we repeatedly heard, “Millennials dominate the Internet.” Plain and simple. Born between 1980 and 2000, this group of digital natives make up about 94 percent of Internet users (nearly 80 million total) and have more than a trillion dollars in purchasing power according to one presenter, Anne Gherini, director of marketing for StumbleUpon. These socially savvy individuals eclipse the digital space, and yet this audience continues to be misunderstood.
Gherini helped clear up a few stereotypes that continue to linger for this desirable demographic:
- Generation Lazy In 2009, the Wall Street Journal nicknamed millennials “Generation Lazy.” Mind my millennial bias, but this just isn’t true. Born at the peak of a digital revolution, this generation knows how to use technology to their advantage, allowing them to work fast, leaving room for extra free time that they enjoy fully. Millennials may work quickly, but this resourcefulness shouldn’t be confused with laziness.
- Closeted Readers With online video consumption on the rise, another stigma is that millennials don’t read. But don’t be fooled when you see a young adult staring at an iPhone instead of clutching a book. The average millennial reads 72 minutes per day (Gherini). In the modern era, this age group most often finds their reading material online in relatable articles that resonate.
- Conscious Young Adults Millennials make up our most educated generation to date, with the number of college students increasing by 24 percent between 2002 and 2012 (National Center for Education Statistics). Young adults aren’t just socially conscious, they’re also mindful of global and environmental issues. Make sure to reflect these insights in your content.
Millennials, between the ages of 22 and 35, ate their Lucky Charms while texting ETAs to their parents on flip phones. They grew up on dial up, instant messaging on AIM and the first generation of iBooks and iPods. The Millennials born between 1994 and 2000 enjoy Snapchatting, and may remove their Instagram posts if they don’t reach 100 likes. Both grew up during a time where technology was becoming faster and faster with every passing month, when innovation and brand authenticity set companies apart.
So how do you effectively reach Millennials?
Here are a few tips from our team to yours for building a bridge to millennials:
- Authentic Content is King We’ve heard (and continue to hear) that “content is king.” Although that phrase has become almost cliché, it’s no less true. Your content should be digestible and to the point, but also authentic. Don’t overthink it, but don’t be afraid to challenge your readers! Millennials are educated, critical thinkers so make sure you’re being thoughtful when you interact with them.
- Connect Using Causes Keep in mind that today’s young adults read the news and are very aware of current global and social issues. Connect with them using the causes they care about, or real-life scenarios. They are down to earth and appreciate content to which they can personally relate.
- Aesthetics are Important Millennials value content that is visually appealing so include relevant images and videos. If your website or article isn’t appealing to the eye, the quality of your written content will be missed.
- Mobile Comes Out on Top On average, millennials spend 75 hours per month on mobile apps through continuous partial attention (Gherini), so content should be created for mobile first. Also, make sure that your website is responsive on mobile. If you aren’t sure if your site is mobile-friendly, here is a Google test to help you.
- Follow the Leader When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Follow their lead! Pick up on their culture. Keep up with the new trends and take note of what’s popular. If you can successfully relate to them in their own language, they’ll take notice of your brand and remember you in the future.
Have you engaged millennials in an interesting, captivating conversation? Tell us about it! What story are you telling through your content? We want to know, and so do your readers.
- Gherini, Anne “Mobile Millennials: The Past is Not Prologue” Presentation
- National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Services, n.d. Web.
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