Web heavyweights Yahoo, razorfish and tumblr joined forces to produce a recent study entitled Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials, and the statistics they discovered are worth enshrining on the mantle of every online marketer who is probing the demographic group beyond GenX. The report correlated over 60 insight studies and interviews with more than 15,000 Millennials to produce an in-depth paper which certainly sheds light on many aspects of the preferences of this important but idiosyncratic generation.

Statistics show the extent of Millennialism

Some of the highlights of this study include:

  • Trillion+ $ – Within 5 years Millennials will be responsible for $1.4 trillion in U.S. spending power.
  • However not a rich demographic – 45% are seeking online resources to assist them through their financial woes.
  • They only spend on web devices – Millennials’ average number of web enabled devices? 7.1!
  • Not lemmings – 45% of Millennials do not find content marketing interesting enough to share.
  • Love their vids – 55% state that they are watching video several times a day on various devices.
  • Seeking information – 76% want to be informed on specific topics, and 75% want to learn online in order to be more educated.
  • What they’re looking for – The main keystones for effective branded content for Millennials is (in order) brief, entertaining, funny, fresh, unique, informative, and relevant.
  • So much out there – 72% of Millennials state that they tend to lose themselves in a vortex of content.

Native content can’t be deceptive

Millennials are willing to assist you in reaching your marketing goals by viewing and sharing your promotional content, but only if they believe that there is inherent value. If a Millennial feels as if they have been misled they will punish your brand by dropping their affiliation as well as by spreading the word among their social circles that your brand is not to be trusted. However, if you are able to maintain their trust, 79% of them are willing to watch your video and 51% will actually share it with their friends. It’s all about trust!

Selected strategies to apply to Millennial marketing

The study goes on to provide some extremely interesting insights into the realm of content marketing to Millennials by making a number of additional points:

  • Act like a local – If you want to reach Millennials, you have to act like one, so become conversant with the rules of conversation in their space.
  • Humor rocks – Comedy is the most watched online genre as it relates to Millennials’ values of fun.
  • Provide an escape – Adventure is a key concept in Millennialhood, so provide them with a new way to look at the world and themselves.
  • Let them play – Inspiring creative collaboration in an art installation or mashup can help reinforce your brand’s identity with them.
  • Hook up with celebs – Millennials can never get enough celebrity news, especially when it is directly related to the stars from their own generation (Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, etc.)
  • Show them how – Tutorials and how-to’s are absolutely magnetic to Millennials as it caters to their thirst for knowledge.

Nostalgic … for not so long ago

Another interesting aspect is the retro nostalgia aspect of this young generation. Psychologists seem to agree that the media that an individual is exposed to at the age of 12 or 13 is the one that will mark them as adults and stay with them. Chances are that your own favorite playlist features an inordinate number of tracks which were popular when you were that age. Therefore, if you were going to appeal primarily to 25 year olds in a brand promotion, you’d be wise to include tracks by En Vogue, Boyz II Men and TLC.

It is fair to say that there has never been a generation which has the potential to reward a brand to the extent of Millennials as well as has the hair-trigger feasibility to trash it thoroughly if you take a single misstep. Millennium marketing is not for the obtuse, as the only way to be successful is to understand the generation thoroughly and craft a marketing strategy to precisely suit their preferences.