With 98.6% of millennials owning a mobile phone in the UK, they’re officially known as the mobile generation. For millennials, a smart phone acts as an integral part of their life. One in five browse the internet exclusively via a mobile or tablet, they are constantly connected to their devices for social media updates, selfie uploads and shopping. For brands wanting to engage with millennials, they’ll have to do so via their smart phones.
But brands mustn’t fall into the trap of treating millennials as one entity. There are two distinct groups, Gen Y and Gen Z and each react differently to the media and consume content in different ways.
Generation Y, the ‘internet generation’, were born between 1980 and the early 1990s and are aged between 22 and 36. They have witnessed the birth of the internet and have grown up embracing technology.
Generation Z, the ‘screenagers’, were born between 1995 and 2010 and are aged between six and 21. They are a diverse group who don’t remember a time without the internet and social media.
By 2020, millenials will make up to nearly two fifths (40%) of all consumers and are predicted to have the greatest spending power of any generation by 2018. Marketers need to adapt to these generations’ demands now to future proof their brand. So what are the techniques for maximising brand engagement with generations Y & Z? Which methods do you deploy to meet your brand objectives and how can you capture the attention of this hard to reach audience?
1. Does your content standout and engage?
Generation Y has grown up with SMS in the mobile era, has a typically linear way of communicating and is swift at processing information with an eight to 10 second attention filter. Generation Z had to adopt a hypersonic speed to process information and is even faster at processing information with a two to six second attention filter. The window to grab their attention is getting smaller and as such short, sharp content is proving popular.
Although this platform may have ultimately failed, Vine was one of the original pioneers to bring short-form content to our social feeds. It forged the way for brands to understand the potential for succinct message delivery, and shaking up storytelling for brands within a six second timeframe.
The three-second rule for video content, the amount of time a brand has to engage with the consumer, also reflects the instinct consumers have been forced to develop to enable them to process and accept or dismiss information. Recently, Facebook suggested that fast is getting faster with only 1.2 seconds to capture a consumers attention. In that very short moment of time, an evaluation is made as to whether a message, piece of content or advertising is relevant.
In reaction to hypersonic decision-making, brands must adapt the whole narrative of their content; advertising is simply no longer consumed in the same way. Not only do brands have to stand out and engage, but also land their story, cut through the noise and the mechanisms that consumers have developed to screen content out.
2. Is your publishing strategy visual?
Generation Y reads articles, writes emails and watches video content with these later adopters of Twitter moving towards consuming more digestible content. Whereas, generation Z uses instant messaging, browses Snapchat stories and Instagram, and subscribes to vloggers. Generation Z’s use of social media is having a big influence on the type of content brands are producing.
The way in which brands connect visually with the content they produce needs to be considered within any publishing strategy. Creating visual posts for social enables brands to tell a story and build a connection to both the brand and the products and services it offers. Easily digestible, engaging content is key. A good example of this is WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji campaign which invited Twitter users to donate every time they tweeted one of the 17 endangered animal emojis.
To drive visual connections, it’s important to be genuine, authentic and clever. Try and provoke a reaction by demanding a pause point from the audience. Think outside the box; not every piece of content needs to be video; crafted images and clever copy also work well.
3. Are you offering intuitive experiences?
Generation Y uses multiple screens, sometimes using up to three screens on one given task. Generation Z however, takes this to the next level and uses up to five devices at once. Because of this, their attention span can be very limited and very task driven on what they want to consume.
With shorter attention spans across an increasing number of devices, it is important to ensure marketing content is mobile-ready to capture attention. In 2015 a third of all transactions were made on mobile; a £20 billion market, and with Gen X three times (29%) more likely to purchase online than Gen Y, the importance continues to grow.
To best connect with millenials in future, brands need to ensure that websites and landing pages are fully responsive and optimised for mobile. In addition to this they need to always test on a mobile screen to ensure assets are fully utilised for audiences ‘on the go’. If marketers follow these three steps, it will help them to capture the attention of this hard to reach audience and improve the connection between millennial consumers and their brand.