Why Millennials are Important to Your UGC Efforts
Millennials are quickly becoming one of the most important marketing blocs. They are already spending an estimated $600 billion per year, and that number is expected to grow to more than $1.4 trillion by 2020; equivalent to about 30% of all retail sales (source: Accenture). The rapidly increasing purchasing power of Millennials combined with increased longevity and hyper-connectivity via social media is quickly making marketers pay closer attention to Millennials’ digital consumption behaviors.
Who are Millenials?
While the precise definition of a “Millennial” is up for debate, it is roughly the generation born between 1977 and 1995, making them the last generation of the 20th century and the first truly digital generation. There are approximately 80 million Millennials in the United States, and they are the fastest growing demographic in both the workplace and the marketplace.
With so much money and influence on the line, appealing to Millennials is quickly becoming an essential component of any marketing campaign. This begs the question: what types of marketing appeal to this burgeoning generation?
The overwhelming answer is that Millennials like to be a part of the story. According to market research, about 65% of users aged 18-24 use information they find on social media to influence their purchasing decisions (source: eMarketer). Unlike previous generations, Millennials are far less influenced by mass-market television and radio advertisements, as they feel that they are not really a part of “the conversation” in those marketing campaigns. Instead, Millennials want to see content and reviews generated by their peers, which is defined in marketed terms as UGC, or “user-generated content”.
How to create UGC
There is no single formula for creating user-generated content. What works best for your company will depend on the message you are trying to convey and your specific industry your product or service falls into. However, the following are some of the most common and successful forms of UGC:
Photos – There are few more effective ways to show that your product or service is used by Millennials than to have UGC photos in which Millennials are doing exactly that. Unlike staged marketing photo shoots, spontaneous UGC photos can have a much stronger impact on other Millennials, particularly on social media.
Text – If users don’t want to have photos of them shown, or they don’t feel like they are photogenic, text-based testimonials and ratings can add legitimacy to your brand and influence other Millennials to consider your product.
Video – With the increased bandwidth capabilities on both desktop computers and mobile devices, video is more accessible than ever before, particularly to the hyper-connected Millennial generation. If a UGC photo says a thousand words, than a video says a million.
Contests – Millennials are particularly responsive to contests in which they can win a prize. Random chance contests can get Millennials talking (especially if they win), but contests that are based on skill (such as a writing or other artistic contest) can really fire up the discussion on social media and get Millennials talking about your company.
Millennials are increasingly a force to be reckoned with in the marketing world, and UGC is one of the most effective ways to reach this increasingly important segment of the market. Millennials are unlike any generation before them, and companies that want to effectively tap this segment of the market must learn to adapt to their market preferences. If nothing else, Millennials are less willing to conform than any previous generation, and their purchasing choices reflect that fact.