Here’s How You Really Market to Millennials (New Insights From Huge Survey)

Marketing to millennials isn’t easy.


Millennials make up 25% of the U.S. population and are a key demographic to target, no matter what you're selling. Millennials spend $600 billion in the U.S. every year — and that number is increasing by the day. Millennials are also the first to try out new technology, and are 2.5x more likely than other age groups to be on the cutting edge of inventive products.


Millennials are also a demographic that many companies struggle to reach. The first generation to come of age with the internet has a unique set of spending habits and preferences.

Who Are Millennials?

To target millennials, first you have to know millennials. And that brings us to our first challenge. There is no single, accepted definition of the generation called millennials. People argue that millennials include people born as early as 1977 or as late as 1982. Some think we should stop using the millennial marker for those born after 1994, while others say 2004.


At the end of the day, it’s generally accepted that millennials are people born from the 1980s to 2000 and include some 71 million people. That’s a pretty big age range to try to target, including people from 19-year old students to 40+ professionals — and everyone in between. Add to that the fact that there are even more millennials than baby boomers and you’ve got yourself a marketing challenge.


Luckily, there are things every company can do to market to millennials.

Understanding Millennials

There are plenty of oft-repeated tropes about millennials being lazy kids who never move out of their parents’ houses and spend all of their money on avocado toast. But most of these assumptions simply aren’t true.


Millennials are the most highly-educated generation in U.S. history. One-third of millenials have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree.


Millennials are diverse. American millennials are more likely to be non-white or identify as LGBTQ+ than any other generation.


Millennials are also ambitious: 54% of millennials want to start a business or are already entrepreneurs. 87% of millennials in the workforce are in management roles. Millennials are ambitious and hard-working. And 25% of millennials already have children.

Targeting Millennials

Millennials aren’t the same kind of consumers as previous generations. Millennials respond to different kinds of marketing than previous generations and need to be targeted specifically. Importantly, Millennials don’t like traditional ads.

Get On Social Media

Social media is an obvious — and important — way to target millennials. Millennials use their smartphones, and the social media apps on them, more than any other generation. 34% of millennials say that social media helps them making purchasing decisions and 62% of millennials say they’re more likely to become a customer if a brand engages with them on social media.


For over a decade, Facebook was the dominant social media platform with basically all age groups. Today, Facebook and Facebook Messenger remain the dominant social media for reaching the widest possible audience, but privacy concerns about Facebook are driving younger millennials to other platforms. Younger millennials, in particular, are increasingly using sites and apps like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat as their go-to social media platforms.

Be Funny & Informative

To best reach millennials, use a mix of funny and informative ads. Our study found that funny ads (44%) are most likely to resonate with millennials, followed by informative ads (30%). To best target millennials, try using some mix of the two; for example, using a funny ad to draw views and following up with an informative ad, to pitch your product.

Use Influencers

In 2019, you can’t ignore the influence of influencers. Millennials are 54% more likely than older generations to buy a product or service that was recommended by a social media influencer, like a YouTube or Instagram star. 44% of millennials have purchased something that was recommended by an online influencer


Influencer-created content is very effective with millennial consumers. Millennials trust user-generated content and believe that user-generated content is 50% more trustworthy and 35% more memorable than branded content. Finding a YouTube or Instagram star whose vision, values, and ethos align with your brand is a winning strategy for marketing to millennials.


Millennials are a large and diverse group and thus can be difficult to market to — but they make up 25% of the population and spend $600 million annually, so it’s important to do effectively. Do your research and start thinking outside the box to make sure your company is reaching out to millennials in the most effective way.