If you work in influencer marketing, you’ve probably heard your fair share of gross generalizations about Millennials. It’s a term that seems inherently and instantly polarizing.
Most polarizing in the debate surrounding Millennials is their impact on the economy and entire industries. The media is making almost daily announcements about how Millennials are “killing” certain industries, including napkins, cereal, fabric softeners, flat sheets, bars of soap, golf, and diamonds. Their purchase habits are different from other generations and have a direct impact on trends. This means that marketers must fit their digital marketing efforts to these habits in order to find traction with this demographic.
These statistics try to find the common ground for Millennials as a group, but Millennials are a diverse group. See the trends for their social media use and purchasing habits, so that you can reach Millennial markets with your brand.
According to the American Psychological Association, Ernst and Young, and the Federal Reserve Board, a Millennial is…
Anyone born 1981-1996 (24-39 years old in 2020)
There are 71 million Millennials in the United States now, accounting for approximately 30% of the population.
Facebook continues to have a commanding lead across all age groups, but Millennials are increasingly spending the bulk of their social media time on Instagram and YouTube. Facebook might also be at a disadvantage with Millennials because 77% of them are concerned about how the company uses their personal data.
YouTube and other streaming services also allow Millennials to watch digital video. As of April 2018, ThinkNow Research found that Millennials are more likely to watch TV shows through Netflix and YouTube than live through television services.
Millennials are more wary of ads than ever before. 75% of Millennials find ads annoying, which seems obvious, but ads are unavoidable, right?
Actually, more than 1 in 4 internet users (25.8%) are now using ad blockers when browsing the internet. In fact, MediaKix estimates that the number could be as high as 1 in 3 Millennials. However, that doesn’t seem to have stopped Millennials from interacting with ads altogether. In fact, Millennials are 25% more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to buy a product, or engage with a social ad.
Of these social ads, Millennials place a high priority on the entertainment value. Millennials prefer funny ads 43% of the time and informative ads 29% of the time. The most successful brands are able to merge these two qualities in their advertisements.
Millennials also purchase from ads. Here’s a breakdown of Millennials who have purchased from ads:
However, just because Millennials buy from ads, doesn’t mean they like them. Millennials generally accept ads as a necessary evil, but 85% still find it creepy that ads follow them after visiting a brand’s website.
Millennials have more than a trillion dollars in purchasing power and make up more than 21% of all consumer purchases.
Millennials are becoming more dependent on their mobile devices for their purchases than previous generations. In fact, 58% of Millennials prefer their phones for making purchasing decisions.
Millennials use their purchasing power to support causes. If companies support the same causes they believe in, 74% of Millennials said they would buy the product. 48% of Millennials are actively trying to buy from brands that support social causes.
In order to appeal to Millennials by supporting causes, it is important to do it authentically. Cause marketing can be an effective form of marketing, but this marketing strategy falls flat if consumers suspect it to be superficial. The causes that brands support should be ingrained into their entire business model. If a brand stands for their favorite causes, Millennials will take note.
Millennials had front row seats to data breaches and social media data scandals, so they are careful with their data. In fact, 92% consider the appearance of a website or app before deciding to trust them with personal data. Brands selling to Millennials should pay attention to how their website instills trustworthiness at first glance.
Inbound marketers have an even tougher time with Millennials. Only 32% of Millennials were willing to submit their information in exchange for a free download.
When Millennials are looking to use their purchasing power with trustworthy, socially conscious brands, then they turn to influencers. More than half of all Millennials would be more likely to purchase a product after it was promoted by an influencer.
72% of Centennials (those born 1995 or after) and Millennials follow influencers on social media. They are looking to these influencers to discover the latest trends, inspire them with new ideas, and entertain. In many ways, Millennials are looking to influencers to provide the same content that they also expect brands to provide—engaging content with plenty of entertainment value.
When a friend recommends something on social media, 65% of Millennials are likely to buy the product or service. 70% of Millennials also feel a responsibility to share feedback with companies, whether the experience was good or bad. 50% will also share their brand preferences on social media.
What this creates is an influencer culture in which Millennials reach out to their peers to share about brands and to get the information they need before a purchase.
In addition to sharing their opinions about brands online, they are also content creators. More than 46% post videos and other content that they created themselves, with Millennials spending an average of 15 minutes editing per piece of content.
In other words, Millennials are a generation of people who are using their voices to influence the people around them and they value the opinions of others when making their purchasing choices. In many ways, your brand’s customers could also be your customer service, if you empower them to talk about your brand to your target audience—otherwise known as their friends.
So, how does influencer marketing compare between Millennials and Baby Boomers?
Baby Boomers gravitate toward reviews for making decisions and want information from influencers who are authority figures and/or industry leaders. Millennials seem to have shifted the buying journey away from this type of research and rely on more casual recommendations from friends and influencers on social media. 65% of Millennials would buy a product recommended by a friend on social media, compared to just 40% of Baby Boomers.
This disparity in following social media recommendations could also be connected to friend groups on social media. Millennials were more likely to have 200+ Facebook friends than any other age group. This interconnectedness through social media could explain their reliance on it for purchasing decisions.
In marketing to Millennials, the best advice seems to be to think like their peers. They are looking for casual, authentic recommendations, as well as the entertainment value that they would get from talking to a friend.
This is why Millennials-focused influencer marketing is so effective. Influencers are able to situate themselves as a peer and friend, rather than an out-of-touch celebrity. These influencers are also providing the entertainment value that helps advertisements and product recommendations resonate with Millennials.