Various studies confirm what most of us already suspect – that millennials have embraced technology, social media in particular, more than older generations. It is clear to see that they are often quick to pick up on new features, make recommendations to friends and interact with the companies they support. However, new research shows that millennials may not be as far ahead of older users as some of us may have assumed when it comes to engaging with brands and content in digital media.

According to a survey recently conducted by independent advertising agency Barkley, fielded in part with Service Management Group, younger adults are more likely to interact with brands on the social networks, but only at a slightly higher rate than older consumers. Sponsored by Boston Consulting Group, the report, called “American Millennials,” found that over 50% of millennials ages 16 to 34 use social media sites to learn more about their favorite brands. This is in comparison to only one third of older users.

The catchphrase “content is king” is a popular saying in the SEO community, but it holds true in the social realm as well. According to Barkley’s research, 23.5% of millennials interact with the content a brand publishes on their Facebook page at least once a day. Older users are not far behind, with the study showing that 17% do the same. When it comes to actually feeling a closer connection to brands, the two groups were considerably further apart as 33.4% of millennials said they like a brand more that uses social media, compared to just 17.4% of older users.

Social vs. Email Consumption

Although email marketing is alive and well, there is research showing that it may be losing a bit of its “cool” factor with millennials. According to data from comScore, time spent using web-based email has declined 10% among those aged 19 to 24, which was similar to the decline in usage by consumers up to 54 years old. comScore found that usage was actually up 15% among consumers ages 55 to 64, and 17% for those 65 and older. comScore suggests that the increase in usage with older users is likely spurred by people being introduced to the internet for the first time. This makes sense because email is almost always the first stop for the average newcomer.

comScore’s findings revealed that email usage has plummeted among teenagers, showing a 48% decline from those 12 to 17 years old. While many of these users are likely engaging with text and social media, the research only considered those using email in the desktop environment, meaning it didn’t take into account all the teens that could be reading messages on their mobile devices.

Recent research showing how generations are divided over social media and email usage is certainly interesting news for marketers. This particular data hints that younger users may be more responsive to social strategies while older users are ripe for email.


作者 Francis Santos

Francis Santos is based in the LA area and is the Search Marketing Manager for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs.