Reaching The 21st Century Audience

The term millennials is defined as the part of the U.S. population born between 1981 and 2000. Understanding this segment is valuable to the communication industry because of it’s size and potential spend. 

A few unique factors define this generation, such as

  • familiarity, if not obsession, with technology
  • short attention span, due to constant expose to a variety of stimuli
  • more difficult to connect with, convince and entertain

These factors create a unique set of consumer behavior in this population. For instance, they have a lower chance to be persuaded by TV ads and higher brand loyalty than older generations. While ads less often capture their attention in the first place, they do however have higher ad recall for those they do pay attention to than other generations. They are also more engaged with the messages in front of them than older generations, for both TV and digital. They are more engaged with digital overall, performing better with digital ad testing than they do with TV and than older generations do with digital. 

Given this information, communicators must take a new approach when trying to reach this generation. Understanding they have a shorter attention span, partially because of ad overload, challenges communicators to develop new, unique creatives and messages to capture this audience’s attention. Because they spend much of their time online and are more engaged with digital messages than others, understanding and implementing online features that facilitate site use are essential. This is where User Experience Design is key.

For digital commerce, user-focused site functionalities drive performance by making it easier for the consumer to find the information they want, shop in ways convenient for them, and trust the e-commerce store with their private information. Social and mobile commerce is also largely effective, but similar user-focused functionalities unique to each channel are just as important. Functionalities include security, the ability to filter and search for specific products or information, and user reviews. User reviews have proven significantly influential because it helps people trust a product more and increases sales (source: Therefore, the reviews and recommendations feature is something that should be included in all e-commerce sites. The fact that sites and online communities like Yelp and UrbanSpoon exist for the sole purpose of reviewing products, companies and places shows how important this is to the modern consumer. Google even added this feature to it’s business search system recently because it saw the value it provided internet users. 

Furthermore, developing an in-depth understanding of your target audience and brand reputation among them is just as important as ever, with new tools like Q Scores to do so. 

Questions from the reading:
The data for the millennials study is based on all women. Is this really an accurate representation?

Can we expect the generation younger than the millennials to have the same behaviors, or will this shift toward technology create even more change in this audience?