Businesses of all sizes are nearing the tipping point where internet marketing becomes the best way to reach their audience. The driving force behind this change? Millennials. By 2025, 44 percent of the workforce will be millennials, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Millennials on the older end of the generational spectrum will start moving into upper management positions and yielding more money. Those on the younger end will graduate college and enter the workforce, further increasing the earning potential of the entire generation. With more money comes more purchasing power and a resulting shift in the dominant consumer base. This means that having a strong web presence will become vital in targeting those with the highest potential to spend money, millennials.
The first step to reaching the millennial consumer base is understanding that while web applications are essential to your marketing initiatives, it’s naive to think that millennials take the internet, and especially social media, as gospel. But with this in mind, it’s impossible to dispute that the internet takes a leading role in influencing millennial spending habits.
Data collected by Sacunas, a marketing agency that helps promote business-to-business brands, shows that among the top three ways millennials research a product or service, social media actually ranks last, contrary to the stereotypes that have been assigned to this generation. The age subsets of 20-24 and 25-29 both saw 23 percent of respondents declare that search engines were their first choice when looking for a product, while vendor websites saw responses of 20 percent and 18 percent respectively. Respondents aged 30-35 clocked in with 29 percent for search engines and 20 percent for vendor websites. This data suggests that SEO and the design of a website are very important when targeting millennial consumers. Keyword strings and metadata will ensure Google searches continue to lead millennials to your landing page, while an attractive web layout will ensure they don’t dismiss your page as unprofessional.
While social media might not beat out search engines and vendor websites in overall millennial search habits, it does hold its own with the younger subset of millennials. The age 20-24 subset showed 19 percent of respondents turn to social media when looking for a product or service. This is only 1 percent lower than vendor websites, and 4 percent lower than search engines, giving credence to the belief that social media is an effective way to tap into younger markets. In fact, the data correlates a lower age with an increased use in social media for research. If exposure to social media at a young age continues to increase trust in the platform, it will only become more important to establish a professional social media presence, with Facebook being the apparent platform of choice.
The last piece to the millennial marketing puzzle is embracing the move toward mobile information consumption. A study conducted in 2015 by the Pew Research Center indicates the smartphone market is nearing saturation, with 86 percent of adults aged 18-29 owning a mobile device. It’s no wonder then, that 82 percent of millennials turn to mobile devices when researching new products and services. The Sacunas data revealed that 29 percent of millennials pointed to videos as the most important platform when researching a product or service and further went on to indicate that on mobile platforms video takes an even more significant role. Short (2-3 minutes) information-heavy and demonstrative videos, along with a dedicated mobile layout, are likely to increase the chance a millennial uses your product. In a fast paced world where time is money, businesses need to create their websites and video content under the assumption that on-the-go access will be a priority.
As time moves forward, the internet is only going to become more and more integrated with the coming generations. The embrace of technology will likely never falter, leaving it up to businesses to stay tech savvy. However, take care not to lose touch with facts in place of flashy web design. Hard data and evidence of success are still valued by millennials. If your business is to appear on a review site, it’s best to provide your own, unbiased, information as well.
If you’re thinking about strengthening your web presence, contact us. We’re in the know on millennial internet habits (some of us are millennials ourselves!), and we can help you expose your products or services to the right demographic for your business.