Millennials are a ‘generation of idle trophy kids’ who are good for nothing and lazy. They don’t want to spend money and have an attention span worse than a fish, literally. If this is how you feel about Millennials, then you are missing out on an epic marketing opportunity.

Millennials (aka Generation Y, 18-34 year olds) are a widely misunderstood generation. Contrary to stereotyping they are confident, self-expressive and open to the idea of change. And they also happen to be on track to become the most highly educated generation in history.

As they are predicted to be spending $2.45 trillion annually by 2015, marketers need to embrace this challenging demographic and reap the rewards of winning over these loyal customers.

Millennials have been raised in a connected world, growing up as the internet as we know it came of age.  For them, smartphones are practically an extension of their hand so they want information now, and they want it to be engaging.

Millennials spend more time than any other generation online. Recent research by comScore reported that they spend an average of 96 hours per month surfing the web. The research also stated that they watch 356 online videos per month, nearly 100 more than Generation X.

It is clear that online video is attracting the valuable time and attention of Millennials; however with more than 100 hours of YouTube content being uploaded every minute, the competition for attention is fierce.

A problem for traditional marketing tactics which involve video advertisements being shown in the middle of an episode of Hollyoaks is that Millennials want to watch TV on their own schedule, preferring to watch TV on demand rather than being constrained to viewing at a certain time. To make matters worse, 90% of Millennials will skip ads when watching recorded TV.

This abandonment of the traditional TV channels means that marketers must get smarter in order to connect with this generation with their videos.

Rob Norledge, Digital Media Services Director at MEDIAmaker shares his top four tips to help you successfully engage this vital demographic.

1. Breaking through the scepticism

The minute that your video turns into a sales pitch alarm bells will start ringing in Millennials’ heads. This demographic prefer to research products and listen to recommendations from friends to make their purchase decisions. They are highly sceptical of traditional sales messages and are not easily fooled by sales jargon.

The best way to break through this scepticism is to create a video that engages their emotions. Create something funny. Tell them a story. Show them your that your brand has a human side, and is not just a corporate selling machine.

If you focus on conveying something valuable to Millennials not only will they be more likely to consume their content, they will also want to share your compelling video with their friends. Millennials are extremely loyal to brands who add value to their hectic lives, so providing a video worthy of their time will increase the chance that they will become advocates of your brand.

2. Add interaction to increase engagement

Millennials love to be in control. By creating an interactive ad where they call the shots on what they see enhances the user journey in ways that aren’t possible with traditional pre-roll advertising.

Researchers are seeing 5 times higher intent to purchase when using interactive ads, compared to the standard, static form of video content that many users are used to.

In The Drum Jon Block, controller of commercial digital products at ITV, explains that using interactivity in online video ads helps users ‘progress further down the purchase funnel, actively evaluating the brand and even, potentially, driving them through to the moment of purchase’.

3. Easily consumed, easily shared

As 640TB of data is transferred on the internet every minute, Millennials have a lot of content vying for their attention. This means that making a 10 minute long video explaining all the benefits of your product isn’t going to cut it.

It is clear from the explosive popularity of both Vine and Instagram video in 2013 that Millennials love videos that are ‘snackable’. Research suggests that 20% of viewers will click away in 10 seconds or less.

If you want Millennials to watch all of your video, remember to keep it brief as well as engaging.

4. Optimise for mobile

Millennials, who may as well have been born with a smartphone in their hand, have the highest rate of smartphone penetration compared to other age categories. According to Yahoo research, watching videos is one of the most common things that people do on their mobile devices. These two factors mean that ensuring your content is mobile-optimised is vital.

At the end of it all

Millennials may be the hardest generation to reach with any form of marketing. Their short attention spans and hatred of the hard-sell mean that marketers have to get smart to engage this savvy generation.

This generation is up and coming, so we can expect that these trends will only become more popular in the future. Learning how to produce videos to engage Millennials may be a challenge, but you will reap the rewards of this loyal generation if you succeed.

Ignore the Millennial generation at your own peril.

Rob Norledge

Rob Norledge


Rob Norledge is the Digital Services Director at MEDIAmaker.