How to Reach Millennials

In today's generational big picture, understanding and effectively reaching Millennials has become a key priority for businesses for some very good reasons…such as the bottom line. To successfully tap into this influential demographic, any and every business’s best move is to develop strategic marketing approaches tailored to their preferences and behaviors.
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Who Are Millennials?

Born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the first generation to grow up with the Internet, and they now comprise a sizable percentage of the global consumer market.
Growing up during a time of rapid technological advancements, Millennials have embraced digital tools and platforms, making them the first generation to fully integrate technology into their daily lives. They’re a highly educated, value-centric generation with a strong sense of individuality and big opinions.
To understand what makes Millennials tick, let's take a deeper look at their typical characteristics, especially pertaining to digital communication, preferences, and their response to advertising:
  • They’re tech-savvy: Millennials are the masters of all things digital. They've grown up surrounded by technology and are incredibly comfortable navigating the online world.
  • They’re social-media obsessed: You'll rarely find a Millennial without a social media account. They love to stay connected and engaged with their friends, family, and the world around them through platforms like Snapchat and other major social media networks.
  • They’re authenticity seekers: Millennials value authenticity above all else. They appreciate brands that are genuine, transparent, and honest. They can easily spot inauthenticity, so being real and staying true to your brand is key.
  • They’re personalization enthusiasts: These people love experiences that feel tailored to their individual needs and preferences. They appreciate personalized recommendations, product suggestions, and content that speaks directly to them.
  • They’re seekers of and responders to user-generated content (UGC): Millennials love to participate in and to be part of the content creation process. They’re very much into creating and sharing their own content: reviews, videos, social media posts, and the like. So encouraging user-generated content can foster a sense of community and engagement.
  • They have a mobile-first mentality: Millennials are always on the go, and their smartphones are their constant companions. They rely heavily on mobile devices for browsing the internet, social media, shopping, and everything in between. Hint: Optimize your digital presence for mobile if you want to reach them effectively.
  • They’re ad-resistant: Traditional, interruptive ads don't resonate with Millennials. They've developed a knack for ad avoidance. That being said, they do engage with ads that are seamlessly integrated into their online experience and provide value or entertainment — or, better yet, both.
  • They’re influenced by peers and influencers: Millennials heavily rely on recommendations from people they know and/or follow. They trust the opinions and experiences of people they admire, making influencer marketing a powerful strategy to capture their attention.
  • They’re socially conscious: Millennials are passionate about social causes and sustainability. They appreciate and tend to support brands that take a stand and demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on society and the environment.
  • They value research: Millennials are avid researchers. Before making a purchase, they take the time to extensively research products, read reviews, and compare prices to help them make informed decisions and ensure they're getting the best value for their money.
90% of Millennials choose brands they believe are authentic; 43% prioritize authenticity of a brand over content.¹

Why Millennials Are Important

Understanding the importance of targeting Millennials is crucial for businesses aiming to achieve long-term success. They’re already landing a solid footprint — but they’re going to play a huge part in the economic future as they mature and their financial position generally improves. 
Why should Millennials be a focal point of your marketing strategy?
  • Population size: Substantiating our earlier point, Millennials represent the largest generation in history, with an estimated global population of over 2 billion members. In case the math’s not clear: Ignoring this substantial market means missing out on a vast consumer base.
  • Buying power: As Millennials enter their prime earning and spending years, their economic influence continues to grow. Because they’re becoming increasingly influential in shaping market trends, they can significantly impact a business’s success or failure in very real terms.
  • They’re digital natives: Millennials are true digital natives — again, constantly connected and engaged online. They actively use social media platforms, consume digital content, and rely heavily on peer recommendations and online reviews. This digital fluency provides businesses with unique opportunities to reach and engage with them.
  • Brand loyalty: Despite their reputation for being fickle, Millennials can be highly loyal to brands that resonate with them. If you can build strong connections, address their needs, and deliver authentic experiences, your business will find itself establishing long-term relationships that prove invaluable to both you and your Millennial customers.
75% of Millennials prefer to buy from brands that are environmentally sustainable, and believe that brands should give back to society rather than just focusing on profits.¹
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Reaching Millennials through Savvy Marketing

Marketing to Millennials is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Done right, it requires ongoing research, analysis, and a willingness to adapt to their changing needs and expectations and build meaningful bonds.
When it comes to reaching Millennials, it’s important to understand that along with the usual digital and analog marketing channels, social media platforms like Snapchat represent the essential tool in any marketer's arsenal. There’s no better way to establish reach and engagement, and on Snapchat, you can get started by creating a free Public Profile for your business.
To wrangle Gen Y, try these strategies:
  • Create authentic and shareable content. Consider the interests and aspirations of your Millennial audience as you develop content that reflects your business’s values, personality, and offerings. To resonate with them and inspire them to share, work your magic by interweaving creative storytelling, visual elements, and language, and encourage the contribution of user-generated content.
  • Utilize influencer marketing. Millennials tend to trust recommendations from their peers way more than from traditional advertising. Collaborating with influencers who align with your business’s brand identity and have a significant Millennial following will help you cast a broader net than you can on your own and reach your target audience in more impactful ways.
  • Engage in conversations. Fostering meaningful interactions does wonders for building a sense of community and establishing a positive brand image. Respond promptly and genuinely to comments, messages, and mentions. Encourage conversations by asking questions, conducting polls or surveys, and hosting live Q&A sessions. 
  • Optimize for mobile. To reach Millennials effectively, ensure that your website, content, and advertisements are optimized for mobile devices. Mobile responsiveness, fast loading speeds, and user-friendly interfaces are key factors in providing a seamless, compelling browsing experience.
  • Create personalized experiences. Leverage data-driven insights to segment your Millennial audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Use that segment information to deliver targeted content, recommendations, and offers across various touchpoints, including email marketing, website customization, and product recommendations.
  • Support social causes. Identify causes that align with your business’s values and matter to Millennials, and support those causes through partnerships, donations, or initiatives that create meaningful change. Clearly communicate your commitment to social responsibility and sustainability, and share the progress and impact of your efforts.
  • Embrace user-generated content (UGC). Remember, user-generated content carries loads of weight when it comes to Millennial purchasing decisions. Encourage them to create and share content related to your business by hosting contests, challenges, or campaigns that encourage user participation. Feature UGC through your social media channels, website, and advertising campaigns.
  • Utilize influencer partnership. Consider forming strategic partnerships with influential individuals or organizations that have a strong Millennial following. Those partnerships can and should extend beyond social media, and include events, co-creation of content, or joint campaigns — all of which can increase your brand's visibility among Millennials and establish credibility.
  • Remain relevant and evolve. Stay up to date on the latest trends, technologies, and cultural shifts that shape Millennial preferences and behaviors. Continuously monitor and analyze data, conduct market research, and gather feedback directly from Millennials to understand their evolving needs and expectations, then adapt your marketing strategies accordingly.
One crucial fact to keep in mind as you strategize: Millennials say privacy is important to them. If you want to win them over, go the extra mile and afford them the ability to take charge of what they share and who can see and interact with their content.
85% of Millennials are active on social.¹

Getting through to Millennials with Snapchat

Snapchat’s more than just funny face filters and disappearing messages. As businesses like e.l.f. Cosmetics, Mirinda, COTY/COVERGIRL, and Lacoste have experienced, we’re actually one of the most effective solutions on Earth for marketing and advertising to Millennials. Why and how, you ask?
  • Millennials love Snapchat. It's like their digital playground. They spend a significant amount of time on the app, sharing Snaps and Stories and exploring the content of their friends and favorite brands. A functional business presence on Snapchat creates a direct line of communication with Millennial audiences, and you can get started with a free Public Profile.
  • Snapchat loves authenticity. We enable businesses like yours to showcase their personality and humanize their brand through sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses, sneak peeks of new products, and fun, candid moments.
  • Snapchat features collectively represent a mighty powerful marketing tool.
    • Snapchat Ads: Snapchat Ads are engaging and designed to capture attention in a quick and captivating way. Robust targeting options ensure your ad is seen by the right people.
    • Sponsored Lenses: Create your own branded lenses to enable Snapchat Millennials to engage with your business in a playful, memorable way — a fantastic chance to create buzz and increase brand awareness.
    • Snapchat Discover: Businesses can partner with publishers or create their own Discover channels to provide valuable, entertaining content to Snapchatters. A great way to engage Millennials with relevant and captivating content, this content can include articles, videos, quizzes, or even exclusive offers and promotions.
1 Source: “The Changing Face of Retail: Connecting with Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z”, May 18, 2023, Zeta Global.