According to the U.S. Census, 2019 is the year that Millennials are poised to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. The term “millennial” is often simplified down into negative traits like narcissism and entitlement, but the reality is that this is a generation of tech-savvy consumers who are choosy about the brands that they support. It’s more important than ever to make sure your marketing resonates with this massive portion of the population that was born in the 1980s through mid 1990s.

Where To Reach Them

Millennials spend more time on their smartphones than any other age groups – up to 5 hours a day. Many check them within 5 minutes of waking up. Phones have become the primary source for gathering information. In order to get their attention, you need to reach Millennials where they already are: on social media, games, or other popular apps. Facebook is still the number #1 social media platform for Millennials. Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and YouTube are close behind.

Facebook collects so much data about users that marketers can use this information to get very specific with their ad targeting. Purchasing behavior, life events, and general user activity on the site (pages that you follow, posts you like, etc.) are all factors that advertisers can use to identify and segment their target audience. With Millennials spending so much time on Facebook and providing so much data, marketers can leverage this to their advantage.

Facebook Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences

One of the ways to do that is with Facebook Custom Audiences. These are groups of people who already have an existing relationship with your business. They may be existing customers, people who have visited your website, downloaded your app, or perhaps subscribed to receive a newsletter or other information from your company. You can then create highly targeted ads for these people who are already familiar with you.

For contacts who were pixeled when visiting your site, you can leverage remarketing to remind them of the products they were interested in but may not have completed the purchase. Similarly, you might want to specific target a segment of your custom audience who has already purchased from you to come back and make a repeat purchase.

You need a minimum of 1,000 contacts to create a Custom Audience. However, if you aren’t quite there yet, you can create lookalike audiences based on the contacts you do have from people who have liked your facebook page or visited your website. This will allow you to expand your reach to people with profiles that are very similar to those contacts that you already have and know are fans of your business.

Layered Targeting

Another tactic marketers can use on Facebook to get very specific in marketing to millennials is layered targeting. This is the practice of combining behaviors, demographics and geolocation data to hone in on a more specific segment of your audience. This is useful in making sure the messaging and creative in an ad is truly tailored to the audience you are trying to reach.

How to Reach Them

Now that you know you need to market to them digitally, the challenge is how to get their attention among all of the content that is out there. Millennials are scrolling through their feeds and timelines pretty quickly so you need to catch their eye with something visual that will interest them. Video is a great way to do this. But the messaging and content within your video can’t follow the traditional advertising tropes. This is a generation that was raised on technology and does their research. They need to be able to visualize themselves using your product or service and be able to feel good about that. Millennials won’t buy something simply because of a cool celebrity spokesperson or expensive ad campaign. The brands who are most successful reaching Millennials are the ones that appeal to their emotions, are innovative, creative, and authentic. Once you have won them over, they can also become excellent brand ambassadors for the companies that they believe in.

What’s Important to Millennials

Digital and mobile marketing is so important to Millennials because of how it aligns with their lifestyle. These are people who live so much of their lives online that even something like their job isn’t necessarily tied to a specific geographic location. If you want to get them excited about your product or service, you need to think about the qualities that are going to resonate with them:

    • Flexibility/choices: Think about providing them with different ways to buy (monthly subscriptions vs. a single payment), or even just different ways to pay (online, through your app with Apple Pay, etc.)
    • Accessibility/Mobility: Having an app or mobile-friendly site with support that they can access on the go. Giving additional options like chat for support is also really handy.
    • Ethics: Millennials want to know that they are giving their money to a company with values that align with their own. If you do anything to give back to the community or support the environment, these are all qualities that will earn the respect of Millennials
    • Authenticity: This is a generation who really values recommendations from real people. Word-of-mouth can be just as important as digital. If a Millennials hears that a friend or family member trusts a brand, they will be more likely to purchase from them.
  • Input: Gathering input from the audience that you are trying to target is really a win-win situation. You gain useful insight about what they are thinking and they feel good about a company that is interested in their opinions. Consider things like allowing them to be part of a beta group, inviting feedback on a product or service, or sending out a survey with an incentive.
  • Experiences: In your messaging, focus less on the use of the “stuff” you are selling and more on how the person will feel when they are using it. Millennials value experiences above possessions. That’s a driving factor behind the success of businesses that allow you to rent things like clothes (StitchFix), cars (ZipCar), and even homes (AirBNB)

Not All Millennials are Created Equal

While there are a lot of similarities in how this generation came of age that unifies them, you still need to realize that the same messaging won’t work on everyone. When segmenting your campaigns, don’t only focus on age. Get more specific with the attributes of the audience that you are trying to attract. Collect actual user data and a/b test different options to determine what will work best for your specific product or service.

Millennials have an annual buying power of $200 billion and are expected to make up 75% of the world’s working population by 2025. Winning over this influential group is more critical than ever. If you haven’t already embraced the digital transformation within your business, now is the time to do so.