This year marked the first time that Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest age demographic in the United States. Millennials in the US represent a quarter of the population and are estimated to have over $200 Billion in buying power each year,  making marketing to Millennials an increasingly lucrative venture.

However unlike marketing to Baby Boomers, Millennials grew up with the Internet, making many of them savvier than their advertising counterparts. They are also using their annual buying power much differently than previous generations. Millennials prefer mobile devices to desktops, they opt for advertising-free Netflix over network television, and many of them chose to shop online with Amazon instead of in-store at retail locations. It is estimated that they spend more than 25 hours online per week, much of which is spent on social media and 95% of them watch at least one video on their phone per week. But beyond knowing that Millennials are between the ages of 18 and 34, and are active online, many marketers are still struggling to find the best strategy for capitalizing on these digital natives. For that reason, here are five strategies for marketing to Millennials:


1. Create Mobile-Friendly Content

In our current digital climate 1 in 5 Millennials admit to only accessing the Internet via mobile devices. In other words if you aren’t running mobile ads you are likely missing 20% of this demographic right out of the gate and if this trend continues, desktop browsing will soon be a thing of the past. With smartphones becoming more capable, consumers are getting everything they need in their mobile devices. In the past year alone we have seen the rise of mobile-only apps like Uber, Instagram and Snapchat. We are now seeing a trend where popular mobile apps are monetizing their users through selling ad-space as long as you follow their in-app aesthetic. For example Instagram ads that are creative enough to blend seamlessly into a user’s feed or Snapchat Ads that play as a creative Snapchat story. Mobile ads are being effectively integrated into all of the top mobile apps like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and its no surprise why. Google credits their success to mobile video ads, which are quickly becoming the most effective way to interact with a consumer, especially a technically minded consumer like many of the Millennials.


2. Keep Up With Digital Trends

It is no secret that Millennials grew up around technology. Many of them are more likely to know how to code than how to write in cursive, and they have never known life before computers and TVs. For this reason, they are less affected by traditional advertising than their Baby-Boomer counterparts. Advertisements in Magazines and Newspapers are less likely to be seen by this demographic than trendsetting viral posts online. It is therefore important to keep up with the latest digital trends in order to capture the attention of this younger generation. Back in July YouTube unveiled one of these marketing trends with its 360-degree video ads. These videos give users control over the content they see through a 360-degree POV lens. Now instead of waiting until the skip option appears on a YouTube Ad, users can interact and have fun with the advertisement by moving their mobile device and seeing different visuals. Many brands are seeing an increase in views because of this new video trend. For example Coca Cola’s 360-degree video Ad highlighting their 100th anniversary received a 36% boost in view-through rates over their normal videos. New advertising innovations like 360-video are exactly how brands should be interacting with Millennials and younger generations as it sets them apart from stagnant TV ads that have over-saturated the market.


3. Promote Authentic Content

Millennials are actively seeking out authentic, organic content that promotes their aspirations and dreams. Focusing on Millennial content creation will help brands not only connect with that demographic but also gain social authority because creative content is more likely to be shared on social media. In fact the very essence of most social media platforms is user-generated content sharing. Millennials want to be able to promote the interesting content they found online, especially when it is focused on something they are interested in such as social-good. Think back to how viral trends like the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” grew online because they were promoting “social-good,” through raising money for ALS. Brands need to be able to tap into this share-ability in order to harness the value of the social media savvy Millennials and they will do this through creative, and authentic content.


4. Capitalize on the Micro-Moment

Marketing to Millennials means you need to connect with them wherever they are, on whichever mobile device they are currently using. One key way to do this is through effectively harnessing their Micro-Moments. These are the impulses people have on Google that cause them to seek out instant gratification through learning, doing, finding or buying something.  Take for example the “I Want To Go” micro-moment. These are Millennials on the go who want to find a store or item nearby. Examining this moment alone, Google found a 2x increase in location based queries such as “near me” and “nearby.” Most Millennials have never had to sift through the yellow pages or clip out ads in a newspaper to find a store or sale they are interested in; now all it takes is a few keystrokes and the brand with the best location optimized site will end up getting their business. It is therefore important to ensure you are focusing on micro-moments and location advertising in order to connect with Millennials on the go.


5. Collaborate With Trend-Setters

Since Millennials are less susceptible to traditional advertising, they are instead relying on their peers for trusted insight into the best products and purchases for their interests. In a recent study it was found that over a third of Millennials review blogs before making a purchase and many rely on their peers’ online reviews for product insight. Brands need to capitalize on this by creating helpful, relevant content and through the promotion of product reviews for E-commerce websites. The same concept can be applied to other aspects of marketing, such as social media. Collaborating with a top Instagrammer or YouTuber to promote your brand or run your account is a great way to connect personally with your followers. Millennials are less likely to see these collaborations as branded content and will be more likely to trust the opinions of these social media influencers. As a bonus, brands can takeaway strategies these influencers provide and apply them to future social media posts or campaigns.


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