Millennials, the group of individuals born between 1980 and 2000, officially represent the largest living population ever. Moreover, they are currently the biggest influencers in the world because they tend to spend more than $200 billion annually. Although their shopping habits might give the impression that they are easy to sell a product or a service to, advertising companies find it very challenging to reach this group of customers and target millennials. The popularity of ad blocker use among millennials is a clear sign that they are rejecting ads.
To target millennials, you need to think like one. You need to understand their needs and habits. Millennials grew up using technology. They are always connected with their smartphones in their hands, and they are called appaholics because they have an app for nearly everything. Living their entire private and work lives on their smartphones, using mobiles to even plan, book and pay for entire vacations. Millennials, who are also called Generation Y, are an Internet- and smartphone-dependent generation.
There are three rules or steps that brands and advertising companies need to follow:
- Get noticed
- Get popular : Search engines and word of mouth
- Get reviewed: Reviews
First, advertising companies need to leave marketing strategies built on outdated ideas behind and start working on new strategies. Changing to a new marketing strategy might not be easy, but it is necessary to better target millennials. The goal should be to get into the millennials’ circle of comfort. These companies need to find a way to get their attention.
However, getting their attention is simply not enough. Millennials don’t trust brands no matter how popular they are. So whom do they trust and how do they look for information?
Search engines and word of mouth are two of the top three sources that influence millennials’ purchases. Two of every three millennials prefer to use their smartphones to search for information about a product or service. Just like millennials, search engines use signals from social media to determine the popularity of brands and companies. The Pew Internet Project revealed that 74% of all adults 18 and older go online and that 93% of young adults between 18 and 29 go online daily. The same research found that over the past decade, search engine use has consistently been among the top online activities, second only to email. In fact, 91% of adults who go online use search engines to find information on the web.
They use Google mostly to search for restaurants, nightlife and ‘hard information’, but they also use it for other kinds of research. Therefore, brands need to pay attention to their online visibility. They need to be consistent across platforms, and they need to make sure all the available information about a product or service is reliable and accurate. One could say that millennials are a tough audience, but they just know what is good and what is bad—and they want what is good. They do not tolerate inaccurate or partial information because they make decisions based on this data.
Millennials are also impatient. According to research, if your website is slow, i.e. if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of your visitors will head elsewhere. Now imagine what would happen if they book an entire trip and find out, for example, that the hotel’s address information is inaccurate?
The third source with a high level of influence on millennials’ purchasing decisions is user-generated content or reviews. This new generation is obsessed with customer reviews. Today, almost every application has an integrated rating and review feature . People read reviews before choosing a movie or hotel. Prior to trying out a new restaurant, they will check out reviews on Yelp or Zagat. In this case, we can also see how important businesses’ online visibility is for not only their main attributes, such as contact information or location, but also their rich attributes, such as reviews and ratings.
Targeting millennials might be tough. Advertising companies are spending millions on new strategies trying to reach them. Their opinion about your brand depends highly on two key factors:
- Research results. First and foremost, millennials use search engines to look for information about your product or service.
- What do others say about what you’re offering? Millennials trust their peers more than anything.
Moreover, peers’ opinions about a product or service are also based on the results of their research. Therefore, a business’s online visibility, data accuracy and data consistency across different platforms are essential if you want to target millennials. Once your brand gets their attention, this group of people can become your brand’s personal advocate. They can spread the word among their peers, and before you know it, everyone will be online searching for more information about your product or service.