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Social Media ADD: Marketing to Millennials

Written by: Shaun McGrath, Marketing Intern

As I sit here in the Nanigans office (the nicest one I’ve ever been in) and think about how I am going to write this blog post I get distracted. As a 22-year-old college student I am constantly fighting the urge to visit my Facebook page or finally give in to the urge of opening my iPhone, which has been vibrating for the last hour. Lord knows if I open up that thing there is no way I won’t check my Instagram, and if I do that my Twitter may feel left out. I am part of the millennial generation, a generation defined as adults aged 18-34. We currently make up 24% of the US population and our lives revolve around our phones. We are living by the phrase “If it wasn’t posted on social media, did it really happen?”

First we needed to keep up with Facebook, then Twitter, followed by the ever so popular Instagram — and let’s not forget about Pinterest, Snapchat and WhatsApp. To make matters worse our smartphones put all these sites in our pocket and allow us access with the touch of a finger. We’re under pressure to keep our followers happy, and it’s gotten to the point where a seasoned social media vet like myself has to wonder when it will all stop.

With an introduction like that any online marketer has to be licking his chops at the billions of opportunities to reach out to this millennial generation while our heads are buried in our phones. With 50% of 18-24 year-olds logging on to Facebook when they wake up, it’s still the best bet for reaching a younger audience. However, it is no secret that teens are multi-tasking with social media. Where else is our attention going?

As smartphone using millennials we have mastered Facebook and signed on to additional apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp that are also very mobile friendly.  Each app has its own appeal – for example, with Twitter I only have to deal with 140 characters from my friends, and the tightly packed scrolling timeline allows for easy disposal of useless information. I can get up to the minute news and updates from various blogs and interact with official accounts of actors, athletes, musicians, etc.

Millennials seldom make purchases on social media, but do share their purchases with friends.

Twitter has slowly begun to advertise. Similar to Facebook, we are not buying much from ads – however, you can be sure that we will be sharing our recent purchases with friends on social media, likely with a picture of the product as well as a tag directly to the company. This is great news for companies looking to target millennials, as we are very heavily influenced by what our peers are posting. In fact, nearly seven in ten millennials are influenced by peer posts about products and brands on social media.

Next, we touch on another millennial favorite. Snapchat, an app that allows you to share pictures that appear only for a few seconds before they are deleted forever, has been increasing in popularity. This app is primarily used between very close friends as you are sending photos directly to them, whereas Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow for a much larger audience. With 400 million photos sent a day, Snapchat’s appeal is that it is a fun way to pass some time without the pressures of all your friends or followers seeing what you are talking about. As of right now there are no direct advertisement opportunities with Snapchat. However, 73% of college-aged users said they would open a “snap” from a brand they knew, which could pose as a successful avenue for advertisers in the future.

With 200 million monthly active users, Instagram has become increasingly popular among 18-34 year olds. This photo-sharing tool allows users to share minimal information about themselves with the public while still offering interaction among peers, brands and celebrities. Instagram is primarily used from mobile devices, and since 80% of millennials own a smartphone, they have a big user base.

Five months ago Instagram delivered its first advertisement to users and experienced very promising results with millennials. Levi’s was able to reach 7.4 million 18-35 year olds in 9 days while Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million in 8 days. While these advertisements are not currently showing any click to purchase, they are paving the way for successful branding. By leveraging Instagram, companies are able to push content to teens.

Despite the low monetizing rate my generation is currently tracked at, the future looks bright for companies looking to boost brand awareness. With the immense amount of time we millennials spend on social media, and mobile use growing all the time, the opportunity to capitalize on our engagement and interaction with each other is only increasing.  It’s on you to figure out what we want to hear and where we want to hear it.

Interested in marketing to a younger demographic? Check out How to Market to Millennials on Facebook.

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