8 tips for marketing to millennials online

Marketing and social media experts discuss the best ways to target and engage with consumers in their 20s and 30s.

More than 80 million millennials, people born between the early 1980s and 2000, currently live in the United States alone. And according to Accenture, these 30-somethings, 20-somethings and teens are spending some $600 billion annually. So how can your ecommerce business capture some of that billion-dollar millennial spend? And what is the best way to reach, or target, this highly social, highly mobile, digital generation?

1. Personalize the shopping experience. "Millennials like brands who get to know them and give them an opportunity to be part of the experience,” says Tink Taylor, founder of dotMailer. “Listening and engaging in a two-way dialogue is very important among these consumers. [And] finding ways to … engage [millennials] in a personalized way can come in many forms, from [greeting returning customers by name] to [offering] live chat to [personalized] email. The key is to build interactions that capture their attention in a human way.”

“Millennials demand personalized experiences,” says Tony Bartel, COO, GameStop. And brands can (and should) use customer data to personalize, and improve, the customer experience.

“Data from GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards loyalty program helps personalize the shopping experience down to the individual to understand millennials’ interests and how they prefer to engage,” he says. For example, information the company gathered from its loyalty program “showed that 80 percent of GameStop customers visit a physical store to purchase a product seen online.” So GameStop developed ‘pick-up at store’ and ‘Web-in-store’ programs, “which allow customers to purchase products online while in the store and determine when they can pick up their purchase at the store.”

2. Incorporate and promote user-generated content (UGC). “Given millennials’ penchant for posting their opinions publicly, consumer-generated content is increasingly a factor in their decision-making process – [with] 54 percent of shoppers between the ages of 25-34 cit[ing] consumer-generated content as having some influence on their in-store purchase,” says Sara Spivey, CMO, Bazaarvoice. “Add to that the fact that millennials spend nearly five hours per day with consumer-generated content (CGC), [and] there is an incredible opportunity for brands to get in front of this audience. Those who embrace CGC increase the potential to convert millennial consumers.”

“User-generated content is like a magnet to [millennials],” agrees Dimitrios Kourtesis, CEO at Goodvidio. “They trust UGC more than mainstream media because it looks more authentic. To cater to their taste, place UGC at the heart of your offsite and onsite marketing,” he says. “Collaborate with Instagram influencers to create interest for your site. Then when they land on your pages, use UGC, such as… reviews, to continue the storytelling about your products. Millennials appreciate the sincerity.”

3. Create and share videos. “Create videos that will move your followers,” says Allison McGuire, marketing director, PaperMart.com.I don’t mean move them to tears (although that can be good too), but make them smile or inspire a reaction that makes them want to share. Focusing on short, engaging videos has certainly become the norm for millennials with Snapchat and Vimeo leading the way.”

Millennials “relate to authentic product videos that tell stories of how other shoppers used products in real life,” says Kourtesis. “Millennials are 1.5 times more likely to watch videos while shopping online before they decide if a product is a good buy. [And] about a third buys products directly as a result of watching product videos.”

Millennials “are also more interested in consumer-made how-to, unboxing and haul videos than overly stylized brand videos,” he explains. So “be proactive and add this content to your product detail pages to inspire purchases and make the experience more realistic. We [have seen a] 37 percent increase in conversions on ecommerce sites that feature product videos.”

4. Leverage social media. “Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, this is where millennials are spending their time,” says Mike Satterfield, creative director, Satterfield Group. So it’s important to “creat[e] relevant content in those spaces, [content that provides] value to [that] audience…with subtle calls to action.”

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in