How do millennials consume media? Millennials now represent the second-largest generation in the U.S, with the highest social media usage reach among adults, spending 211 minutes accessing apps or the internet via smartphone per day. They also have a lot of spending power—an estimated $4 trillion by 2030

Just as each generation can be subdivided into personas, Millennials have been grouped into six segments by “The Millennial Consumer” report. These distinctions can be helpful when considering user journeys, language choice, and other Millennial content decisions, and were defined as:

  • Hip Millennial (29%)
  • Millennial Parent (22%)
  • Anti-Millennial (16%)
  • Gadget Guru (13%)
  • Clean and Green (10%)
  • Old-School (10%)

Millennial segments

How Millennials Interact With and Consume Content

Fractl and BuzzStream narrow down Millennial content consumption through the hours they spend engaged with online content per week, revealing:

  • 20% spend 20+ hours
  • 12% spend 15-20 hours
  • 16% spend 10-15 hours
  • 23% spend 5-10 hours
  • 18% spend at least 5 hours
  • 8% spend 0-5 hours

Hours Millennials Spend Online

When do Millennials consume content? The two most popular slots are late morning and late evening, with 35% of Millennials online between 8 p.m. and midnight and 17% reachable from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. — Moz

Almost all Millennials (nearly 100%) say they use the internet, and 19% of them are smartphone-only internet users. More than nine-in-ten Millennials own smartphones. And 86% use social media. Pew Research

They have an average of 9.2 social media accounts which makes them bigger multi-networkers than any other generation, even their younger Gen Z counterparts. — GWI 

Millennials use social media to connect with their peers and with the world around them, and that’s not slowing down; 63% have increased their usage over the past year, and 46% expect it to continue to increase over the next three years. Three-quarters of Millennials also say that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies. — Sprout Social

They often split their time between two screens when they consume content. In fact, 95% of Millennials say they always, often, or sometimes find themselves multi-tasking and browsing the internet on a separate device. BigVillage

Millennials are more likely to talk about a brand over social media. Forty-two percent of Millennials who reach out on social do so to express love for a product or service, the most of any age group. And 60% of Millennials have used social media for customer service, by sending either a private message or posting publicly on a brand’s page. — Sprout Social

What are Millennials Consuming?

What type of content do Millennials like? What do Millennials read online? Keeping track of news and current affairs and finding funny or entertaining content are their top reasons for logging in. The top social media accounts followed by male Millennials are gaming bloggers, sports stars, entrepreneurs, politicians, and comedians. Among female Millennials, beauty, food, and fitness bloggers are the most popular. — GWI 

Millennials are still spending a lot of time on long-standing social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Facebook and YouTube rule the roost. The leading social networks among Millennials are Facebook and YouTube, with Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter following as favorites. — ypulse

How much time do Millennials spend on YouTube?  37% of Millennials say they binge-watch on a daily basis. YouTube is the leading channel for video content consumption, preferred by 35% of Millennials. Comscore

Millennials spend significantly less time with TV news than adults 38 and older. While people 38 and older spend almost an hour each day watching TV news, Millennials spend an average of just 12 minutes with TV news each day. Rather, 88% rely on digital news.Nielsen

Thirty-seven percent of Millennials report listening to podcasts at least once each week, while 13% say they listen every day, which is significantly higher than the 5% of consumers 35 and older who listen daily. — Nielsen 

Opportunities for Companies

Not all millennials are the same when it comes to content consumption. Companies need to merge their understanding of how to communicate with different millennial population segments with their knowledge of their target audience to create personalized experiences.  

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Brands succeed when they gain cultural relevance. While the rise of crowdculture diminishes the impact of branded content and sponsorships, it has greased the wheels for an alternative approach called “cultural branding, researching and identifying ideologies that are relevant to Millennials and gaining traction in crowdcultures. — Harvard Business Review

Millennials appreciate thought leadership and expertise. This is your company’s chance to provide killer content that ranks highly on Google and show young consumers that you’re the industry buff. — HubSpot   

Millennials are savvy internet users. Keep in mind that 57% of millennials block ad content because it is too pushy. “We’re doing a lot of self-education and prefer it that way. We’re used to on-demand info. We’re skeptical, critical thinkers. We’re into transparency, and we want personalized experiences.” — Alex Rynne, Linkedin Associate Content Marketing Manager

Focus on providing a personal experience that resonates with your target market. A Millennial’s brand affinity lies in engagement—62% of Millennials say they are likely to remain loyal customers through consistent engagement with a brand. — Social Media Today

As they grow older, Millennials want expertise. They’re looking beyond video, interactive tools, or “cool” social experiences when they consume content. Personal touchpoints are key, but business content still must provide real insight and inspiration versus blatant product marketing. — Content Science Review

Many Millennials are now in senior leadership and decision-making roles, and 80% or more want content that provides information on a seller’s products from their peers, colleagues and the seller’s customers. They want a curated content experience that addresses their business, industry, or market conditions. —  Digital Commerce 360

Their preferred format for B2B content consumption? Nearly all (96%) say that video is important when deciding to move forward in the decision-making process, and video content and communication is useful in the post-purchase stages.  A whopping 80% of Millennials prefer video for learning how to use a product or service, and 81% prefer video over written formats for troubleshooting. And for 70%, video is the most helpful content format when creating awareness of business-related problems. — Brightcove

Bottom Line

When creating content for Millennials, avoid targeting the “Millennial” audience in general. Instead, understand that this generation is especially tech-savvy, connected, and more likely to share brand experiences. Narrow your engagement efforts by targeting highly specific niche audiences, and interacting with your users on an individual level.

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

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