One of the key target markets today is Generation Y – or the Millennials. This is the demographic cohort following Generation X and broadly speaking encompasses people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. This young target market has increasing purchasing power and it’s therefore vital to make the effort to incorporate into any digital marketing strategy the kind of content that is proven to appeal to this market.

First of all let’s take a look at the platforms that Millennials use most in their everyday lives. As can be seen from the diagram below, millennials consume content across a number of different platforms, and part of a successful marketing strategy is putting content on the right channel.


However, as part of an effective digital marketing strategy, not only the platform but the content needs to be right! In 2014, a study called “Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials” was conducted by Yahoo and Tumblr, in partnership with Razorfish and Digitas. It found that 45% of Generation Y are not impressed with the content of most marketing communications. To follow this up further, another study was then commissioned by NewsCred to survey 501 millennials. The results of this second study revealed that whilst 62% do feel that digital marketing makes them feel more connected and loyal to a brand, only 32% actually find the content of that marketing helpful.

The two surveys made various suggestions as to how to create content that does appeal to this critical demographic, and we have summarised them into the following five Top Tips:

1. Tailor content to millennial culture

It is essential to bear in mind the age, location, and cultural interests of this target market at all times. 54% of millennials prefer content tailored to their age, 55% prefer content tailored to their location, and 63% prefer content tailored to their cultural interests. Millennials expect you to understand their needs, their preferences, and their passions. It’s all about them! You need to use all the analytical tools at your disposal to develop a detailed understanding of Generation Y : who they are, where they are, and what motivates them.

2. Keep it short

The average attention span of the millennial generation is very short: 41% of millennials said the main reason they abandon content is that it’s too long. It’s therefore essential to keep things short and simple: if they can’t find the answers from your marketing content, they are likely to quickly go elsewhere. Also bear in mind the context of how people read your content – they may be on a mobile device looking for a quick information rather than wanting to research in-depth.

3. Be funny

Just as you like to laugh, so do millennials! “Comedy is the number one most watched genre online and speaks to their values of fun and positivity,” explained the Yahoo! study. In your digital marketing strategy don’t take yourself too seriously but find ways to be humorous and a little self-deprecating as this will endear people to your brand. Even if your products are not fun in themselves, your branding can still make people smile.

4. Be authentic

As well as being funny, ensure that your content is a genuine and positive reflection of your brand’s perspective, and that it draws people in. Give Generation Y a good reason to connect with your content and, in turn, your brand. Building an emotional connection with them is the first step on the pathway to building trust. There is also evidence to suggest that millennials are very receptive to cause marketing and more likely to purchase items from brands associated with issues they care about such as alleviating poverty, sustainability, equality, and animal welfare.

5. Make it a two way street

Millennials are used to interacting online so avoid falling into the trap of making your digital marketing strategy static. Giving them the opportunity to contribute user-generated content ideas can make millennials feel like they are part of your community and that you are listening to what they have to say. They are also then more likely to share your content – NewsCred’s survey found that millennials only share content when it is “thought provoking and intelligent” and/or “it’s relevant to my circle of friends.”

We hope that these Top Tips are useful pointers for gearing your digital marketing strategy to engage Generation Y. Whilst you may need to put some initial effort into adjusting your platform and content, this will reap dividends in the longer term and keep your brand firmly in the focus of the millennials.