“Only 90s kids will know this.”
Heard this phrase before? We’re sure you have. It loosely refers to millennials or people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Now, nearly 20 years since the last of the millennial was born, this demographic has grown rapidly to be the most populous generation in the world, outnumbering Baby Boomers even in the US (according to Pew Research). As per reports, every 1 in 4 adults today can be considered a millennial. In total, this cohort was 1.8 billion strong in 2020 and is growing at breakneck speed.
Understanding the fuss around millennials
One can argue that they are the pioneer generation of digital natives, tech-savvy, fast learners, and always connected to the Internet. The 2020 Consumer Culture Report projects that millennials will rack up $1.4 trillion in annual spending and make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. No wonder they present such a lucrative proposition to businesses worldwide. Content marketing is the best way to get in front of millennials because they are perennially online. But it is easier said than done. Their attention span is shorter than a goldfish, and their likes, dislikes, and preferences are evolving continuously.
This guide will help you understand the millennial psyche better so that you can align your content strategy more effectively around their quirks, traits, behaviors, and interests.
Five Behavioral Traits that Define Millennials
Since they have been exposed to similar kinds of social stimuli, millennials share quite a few psychological behaviors. For instance, they are innately distrustful of ads, rely heavily on word of mouth and influencer recommendations, and like conducting their own research before buying something.
Let us delve deeper into the millennial mind to understand why they do what they do and how content marketers can capitalize on these cognitive insights and hacks.
1. Millennials hate pushy marketing
Millennials hate the hard sell and will quickly dismiss you if you’re too clingy as a brand. Instead, they like taking time and putting in the hard yards before purchasing something. Rarely would you see millennials do an impulse buy; if they do, there is a high chance they have been exposed to persuasive subliminal marketing. For a generation accustomed to using ad blockers, any sponsored content or pop-up ads that seem out of place will be rejected in the blink of an eye.
- Create ads around their needs, wants, and pain points.
- Give them a reason to share. Write a copy that speaks to them rather than at them. Tug at their emotional heartstrings than their purse strings.
- To engage millennials for prolonged periods, pull them in with content that is:
- Fresh / unique
- Personalized / helpful
- Informative/eye-opening (triggers an Aha! moment)
- Funny/entertaining (stands out from the rest)
- Visually stunning
- If you have a unique, premium product, consider switching to a subscription model than showing tacky ads.
- Don’t interrupt their reading flow. If you want to show ads, time them well and place them in such a way that is not abrupt or jarring to the senses.
- Don’t be dishonest. Millennials hate being lied to, and if they find out you’ve been less than forthcoming with your claims and have gone over-the-top with your features, they’ll drop you faster than you can say, “Wait!”. Don’t exaggerate or float any misleading ads.
2. Millennials conduct thorough research
Content marketing trends show that millennials like to look stuff up on Google or Amazon, or other eCommerce websites before plunging head-first into actually buying it. This comprises the Awareness and Consideration stages of the sales funnel and is the place where content marketers make money and can shine.
- Since they love comparison shopping, create a blog series to compare your product with your competitors along with various features, benefits, and price axes. Create a comparison matrix that can be shared as a snapshot on social media.
- Build your reviews, ratings, and testimonials. Millennials trust user-generated content more than marketing copy and value the thumbs-up given by unbiased, neutral, impartial users who have experienced your product/service.
- Don’t be a dinosaur in an age of robots. Craft riveting content that generates buzz and brand awareness. Don’t compromise on a strong online presence.
- Don’t design only for the web. Millennials are on multiple devices (mobile being the primary), so make sure your content is mobile-optimized and responsive.
3. Millennials suffer from FOMOphobia
Constantly being tethered to their screens does have its downsides. Millennials have become addicted to staying in the know and being updated on all things. It gives them a dopamine hit. So much so that they are afraid of missing out on the latest gossip or hot takes or going off the grid. Content marketing trends reveal that women feel a stronger urge to remain connected than men and check their phones more often.
- Leverage ephemerality — which is the property of lasting for a very short time — the thing that propelled Snapchat and Clubhouse up the usage charts. Content that vanishes will hook users in and create a sense of urgency.
- Come up with limited-time offers and deals.
- Don’t scrimp on your social media updates. Be active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and post witty campaigns on-trend. Out of sight, out of mind. Will boost your brand recall if users see a new post from you every time they launch a social media app.
4. Millennials care about social causes
Millennials are socially and politically aware. They connect well with brands that take a stance on social and cultural issues. In light of this, you should keep the following things in mind:
- Be opinionated and discuss the latest social goings-on.
- Proactively communicate your sexual harassment policies, employee policies, and green initiatives.
- Showcase that you take Corporate Social Responsibility seriously by partnering with an NGO that reflects your company’s values and ethos.
- Don’t be apolitical. Penalize racism, bigotry, and misogyny at the workplace.
5. Millennials are visual creatures
For millennials, a picture speaks more than a thousand words. They prefer visual content over textual content, as is evidenced by the latest content marketing trends. Not only do they find it easier to consume, but they are also more likely to share it in their circles. Some do’s and don’ts
- Embrace video. 81% of customers claimed to have been convinced by a brand’s video (Hubspot)
- Create different kinds of visual content (carousels, animations, GIFs, images) to break the monotony and liven up your feed
- Don’t create a lot of sales-y visual content. It will lead to banner blindness and hardly get any traction.
Formats that Work Best for Millennials
We have already seen that visual content strikes a chord with millennials, but what kind of content really resonates with them?
1. Relevant: 3 out of 5 millennials connect better with brands who put out content that matches their personality, preferences, and lifestyles.
2. Educational: Millennials are big on self-improvement and growth, so 75% of them like to consume content that teaches them new things.
3. Innovative: Millennials are early adopters, and they like being clued in to the latest developments in content formats. Be it Stories in 2016 or TikToks and Reels in 2020; millennials are quick to get on the new content format bandwagon and make it mainstream
4. Social quotient: A staggering 50% of millennials would buy a product if a portion of the proceeds went to a charitable cause they deeply care about
Millennials can make or break your company. We hope that this comprehensive guide has shed enough light on content marketing trends for millennials and armed you with enough tips and tricks to attract them more effectively.