By David Howell - February 18th, 2015

Understanding how the Millennial group of consumers engages with content is crucial to the long-term success of today’s marketing campaigns.

The Millennial generation, they have become the most coveted group of consumers on the planet. Corporations and their key brands have pursued this group for several years, but with the advent of social media, Millennials have taken on an almost mystical status. 
This is perhaps not surprising, as research from NewsCred places this group’s spending power at $1.4 trillion by 2020. And with numbers in excess of 85 million, marketers have been placing this group of consumers at the centre of many of their marketing messages.
Loosely defined at anyone born between the early 1980s and 2000 with an age range between 15-30, the opportunities to build lasting and lucrative commercial relationships with this group have not been missed, yet research indicates that nearly half of the messages that are supposedly targeted at this group are not compelling, engaging or drive the intended call to action.
NewsCred concluded: “While content presents an amazing opportunity, brands have their work cut out for them. Millennials can call B.S. faster than any other audience. They consume copious amounts of content, but lose interest in under 10 seconds. They are identity obsessed. They like to laugh. They are “independent” (or at least they want you to think they are). They crave cultural relevance. They want to read your brand’s content, but unfortunately, they’re not really feeling it right now.”
Often, the content that is developed for this group of consumers is in actual fact not relevant to them. Research suggests that marketers are not understanding the key traits of the Millennial group and offering them content that isn’t relevant and not tailored to their cultural interests.
Creating engaging and relevant content for the Millennial group of consumers is also an excellent way corporations can cut through the mass of marketing messages that this group receives on a daily basis. Millennials will seek out those businesses that understand their motivations, needs and desires. And of course this content will be shared widely.
“NewsCred’s survey found that 60% of Millennials only share content when it is “thought provoking and intelligent.” So what is the opposite of that? Boring and stupid. Those two words are probably not the ones you want associated with your brand. Aside from your content inspiring, educating, or entertaining your audience, it also needs to be a positive reflection of your brand’s perspective. 
“It should elicit thought and sharing. It should feel smart. The days of long-form content are not over. This just means that content should not feel like an empty marketing ploy. What does this mean for your brand? Form a perspective and a point-of-view. Take a step back from the content you create and question whether or not it will contribute to an interesting discourse. If your content is thought provoking and intelligent, Millennials will share it.”
Millennials Share Interesting Content
The choice of social media platforms to support the Millennial consumer is of course critical to get right. Says the GlobalWebIndex (GWI): “Facebook regains pole position when we examine usage frequency: more than half (56%) of Facebook’s active users are logging in more than once a day – a figure which puts it 25 percentage points ahead of second-placed YouTube. And, significantly, if we re-base this to be among the total online population, 24% of all internet users aged 16-64 outside of China are logging on to Facebook multiple times each day.
"That more than half of Facebook’s active audience is connecting so frequently is a testament to how ingrained it has become within daily lives, but also of the on-going migration of social networking behaviours to mobile platforms; the nature of smartphone internet usage means that many users are checking in multiple times a day, albeit for relatively short periods. There’s also a strong age effect at work here: the younger a Facebook user is, the more likely they are to be using the service more than once a day. By region, it is users in LatAm who are ahead for this behaviour; by country, users in Argentina, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey are the most engaged.”
GWI Frequency of Visits to Top Global Social Media Platforms
GWI continued: “Across the three networks, which saw the biggest increases during 2014, it is 16-24s who are the most likely to be active users – a trend which confirms that this group is at the very forefront of new networking behaviours. It’s Instagram, which records the best figures of all for the 16-24 group, with 16% now using it. On Pinterest, meanwhile, 16-24s and 25-34s share the honours as the most active age brackets.”
GWI Active Usage on the Fastest Growing Social Media Platforms
For corporations and their brands, the Millennial group is still highly attractive, but it becoming more elusive, as their use of social media networks evolves. To ensure your business’ content reaches this group it is critical to understand their motivations and how they now see specific social networks. Facebook is still out in front, but visual networks are fast catching up. And also factor in the growing trend for ‘dark’ or ‘hidden’ users that visit multiple sites to consume content, but they don’t register or logon.
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