Brands must fully understand how young people use social media in order to engage with them via this platform more effectively, an expert has insisted.

According to Jeremy Phillips, UK managing director at UCAS Media, 92 per cent of people in the so-called millennial generation – anyone born between 1982 and the early 2000s – are on Facebook. Meanwhile, 42.1 per cent of those in this group are active on Twitter, while 37.5 per cent use Snapchat.

Mr Phillips therefore believes an understanding of how teenagers and young adults use these platforms is “crucial” for brands if they are to get results from their marketing campaigns. For instance, he noted that while many of these people say they are active on Facebook, a growing number of millennials are using it “passively”. At the same time, Snapchat and similar platforms are encouraging active use and are “rapidly increasing their brand offering with innovations such as Discover”.

“These could be a more successful route for brands to pursue,” Mr Phillips commented. “The fact is that social media usage is high among the youth market, so marketers need to get their heads around each platform in order to connect with young people.”

Mr Phillips went on to note that millennials are largely consumers who are making choices about which brands they purchase from for the first time in their lives. This, he said, looks like a “golden marketing opportunity” in theory. However, he stated that young people often shop in a very “thrifty and resourceful” way. As a result, their behaviour can be unpredictable and unlike that displayed by other consumer groups.

One particularly interesting difference between millennials and other age groups appears to be the fact they are especially keen to buy goods on the high street. Mr Phillips said this partly reflects the fact they often regard shopping as an experience and a social outing. Furthermore, he pointed out that young people are particularly likely to make snap decisions to go out on a certain evening, in which case “waiting for delivery is not an option”.

“The lesson for brands is that offline is still as important as online, even to a generation of digital natives,” Mr Phillips remarked.

He went on to note that while a large number of millennials own a smartphone, just one in three own tablets. Furthermore, many use the PC to do online shopping more than any other device. Mr Phillips therefore thinks that brands must remember that young people could be priced out of certain markets, while those in education are likely to spend longer periods of time using desktop or laptop computers.

“In this instance, top-of-the-funnel branding activity (efforts aimed at brand awareness) will work well on mobile, but direct-response marketing is likely to perform best on desktops,” he added.

Marketers: how to get inside the minds of millennials, The Guardian

Posted by Robin McCrink