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5 Essentials for Digital Marketing to Millennials

5 Essentials for Digital Marketing to Millennials

Young adults have long been an important demographic for marketing. This vibrant, dynamic group often has higher disposable incomes, less financial commitments and is more likely to consume, especially in areas of technology, fashion and entertainment.

However, as mentioned in a previous post, millennials are resistant to advertising and most likely to block ads. This post explains where this demographic is spending time online, and how to market to them in ways to which they will be more receptive.

But where to find Millennials?

The millennial generation spans 20 years – all babies born from 1981 to the 2000s are included in Generation Y.

With previous generations (Baby Boomers and Gen X) there were usually only one or two technological developments that defined that group.

However, with technology rapidly changing in the last 20 years, the things that were big game changers 10 years ago, were no longer relevant 5 years later, and have completely disappeared from the radar today (yes, Myspace, we’re looking at you).

As a result, the millennial generation has grown adept at communication and the rapidly progressive nature of the digital landscape.

When looking for marketing channels to reach this particular demographic, statistics show that they are moving away from traditional offline channels, and engaging with established online channels instead. For example, traditional TV viewing by 18 to 34 year olds have been in steady decline according to Nielson’s 2015 audience report, with young people watching roughly 30% less TV compared to 4 years ago.

Despite watching less traditional TV, millennials are still tuning in. The time they used to spend watching traditional TV is being spread across other channels, such as Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services.

The same pattern can be seen online. Contrary to popular belief, millennials are still spending a significant amount of time on Facebook.However, as a group, they are spreading their attention across a number of social networks, including Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Vine, and Tumblr.

Millennials are consuming a broader range of content than other demographics, using various media channels and social networks for very specific or niche purposes.

Millennials avoid advertisements like the plague

18 to 34 year olds make up the largest demographic to install ad-blocking software and to use the strictest rules to exclude as much advertising as possible. They also are most likely to use ad-free video streaming services, and PVR technology to skip ads.

While access to technology may be a big factor in how Millennials avoid ads, a large part of the reason why they avoid blatant ads lies in how the online space has grown and adapted in the last ten years.

For this demographic, the online environment is a community where real people interact and build meaningful connections. For this reason, merely offering a great product may not be enough to close a sale.

These people are looking for genuine passion, community engagement, and meaningful interactions from the brands that they choose to interact with and support. A coffee brand that invests in improving health, education and living standards in the communities where they source their beans is extremely attractive to this demographic.

Brands that engage with customers and create communities that help guide the evolution of their products and services are also extremely successful with this demographic.

For people who view their online space as a community of connected people and brands, an advertisement on their screen would be as welcome as someone knocking on their front door to sell products to them. It’s considered an intrusion into their personal space, and would very likely give them a poorer perception of the brand.

So how do you market to millennials? Here are 5 tips to consider when targeting this technologically savvy generation:

  1. Foster two-way communication

Traditional marketing relies on sending a message and having that message heard. This doesn’t work for millennials who look for interaction from their online experience.

When planning a marketing campaign for this demographic, make sure that you are creating plenty of opportunities for two-way communication, and not just talking at your audience.


  1. Show passion and authenticity

Remember that you are communicating with a group of people who are adept in the communication channel being used. They can sense veiled attempts to use content for marketing. That’s why it’s so important to add layers of transparency about your brand by breaking down the wall between corporation and consumer and being an honest open book.

As a business, millennials also expect you to be passionate about what you do, and your marketing campaigns needs to convey that passion across to them. Marketing your products or services to this demographic should feel more like two friends discussing something interesting, rather than a sales pitch.


  1. Be community-minded

As mentioned earlier, millennials view the internet, and especially social networks, as communities. If you want to appeal to this group, you will need to engage with various media channels from a community point-of-view.

While this may sound easy enough, many companies struggle, especially when dealing with complaints, or interacting with competitors. Businesses that deal poorly with complaints adversely impact the community as a whole and will be seen as part of the problem.

Similarly companies that interact negatively with competitors, or ignore competitors also disrupt the community. Imagine 2 people at a party that intentionally ignore each other while in conversations with others. Awkward!


  1. Collaborate

Millennials love brands that they feel some level of ownership for, and nothing builds ownership like direct input into a brand’s products and services.

Large food and beverage brands have run very successful campaigns where consumers can select, vote or even develop new flavours or variations.

Millennials appreciate being involved, and so by including them in the product development process, you are building a loyal customer base, audience testing, and designing better products all at the same time.


  1. Give back

Brands that have community, environment, and social projects are more appealing to millennials. While other demographics see the online space as a separate eco-system, the Gen Y cohort considers it to be an extension of their everyday lives. Contribution to local and global communities is a major factor for 18 to 34 year olds when making a purchasing decision.

As millennials live by their values, they prefer to purchase from companies whose values align with theirs. As millennials live by their values, they prefer to purchase from companies whose values align with theirs. Brands that actively involve themselves with charitable causes are more desirable for Gen Y.

Consumers feel good knowing that their purchases are giving back and helping improve the community and small, simple daily actions are having a positive impact on the world in which they live.

When marketing to millennials, it is vital that your brand provides an engaging, interactive discussion rather than a sales pitch. This group live by their values; looking for genuine, meaningful connections, and have strong loyalties to brands that listen and contribute to the community.



Metrixa helps brands develop and execute successful marketing strategies, focused on reaching your target audience with appealing content and through the most appropriate marketing channels. Drop us a line today  or Find me on Twitter @nathan5ri to discuss your marketing needs. We’re always up for a chat. Try our AdWords Audit.