Millennials Online: Global Web Index Report

This report from Global Web Index looks at worldwide data on the behaviours of 21-34 year-olds and asks their views on technology and digital marketing.

The full report is free to download, but here are some of the key findings and what they mean for arts, culture, and heritage organisations:

Mobile first 

Almost all online millennials own a smartphone and they are spending almost as long online via mobile as all other devices combined. 

This means there is no excuse for not having a mobile-optimised website. In addition, online ticketing systems should be mobile-friendly too.

Traditional media is still important

Eight in ten millennials watch broadcast tv and two thirds regularly watch streaming tv. 

With all of the analytics available from digital marketing channels, it's easy to forget that traditional channels are still effective options for brand awareness and sales among younger audiences. For brand discovery – traditional methods such as search and tv advertising still rank the highest among millennials.

They use several devices

Millennials get online via an average of 2.8 devices and still spend nearly 4 hours online via PCs, laptops, or tablets each day.

Again, this just underlines the importance of a streamlined and responsive website. Having a very clear purpose and target audience for your organisation will help keep your offer and information as relevant and focused as possible.

Facebook still dominates

Millennials spend 2 hours and 38 minutes on social media each day. And are members of 9.39 different social networks.

Reports of millennials leaving ‘uncool’ social sites such as Facebook in their droves are untrue – Facebook is still king and this applies across all age groups that are engaged with social.

Outside of China, 88% of online millennials have a facebook account. The one platform that can truly challenge the reach of Facebook is YouTube.

Convenience is key

The most influential purchase driver for millennials is free delivery (58%), and an easy returns policy (36%) also performs well. 

Ask yourself how you can provide greater convenience, flexibility and instant access to what you offer. Some things to think about: consistent and convenient opening hours, flexi-tickets, food and drink offers or availability, easy purchase paths, and high-quality user experience on websites and ticketing systems.

Millennials are happy to ad-block

So we need to provide entertaining and relevant content that people want to see.

This is good news for cultural organisations - we're selling a much more interesting product than most commercial brands and we've got creative and innovative people surrounding us. instead of selling the features of a product "Mozart conducted by Joe Bloggs" emphasise the benefits instead "get glammed-up and experience an atmospheric art deco night out at the opera"

Willing to pay

There is a misconception that younger audiences are unwilling to pay for entertainment and culture, but two-thirds of millennials pay for digital content such as music streaming, tv streaming, mobile apps and games.

If they value an experience or product, there is scope for sales. Focus on a quality product and emphasise the experiential benefits and value to your potential audience. Millennials are also a highly ethically-conscious group, so they may be more willing than you might imagine to support the arts if you put your purpose at the core of your messaging.

Influencers - not as important as they may seem

Influencer marketing may not be the game-changer that many have predicted it would be. Only 12% of younger millennials and 8% of older millennials perceived influencers as impacting their purchasing decisions.

Instead, social media, consumer advocates and recommendations are very important for persuading younger audiences to try a new product or service.

The power of social proof

Good reviews are a purchase driver for 40% of millennials and social media is their second most important product purchase research tool.

So we need to keep an eye on what people are saying about us on social (have you checked referrals to your website or ticketing pages lately?). And we also need to encourage visitors to post online and leave reviews. Here's some advice on how cultural organisations can encourage visitors to provide this 'social proof'.

While Millennials are highly engaged with social, they are actually more likely to discover a brand through a word-of-mouth recommendation than they are through a comment on social media - so providing a second-to-none customer experience and quality product is vital.

From customer to ambassador

But how can we encourage customers to become brand advocates? Those that advocate for brands generally do it for one of the below reasons:

  • Out of pure love for the brand and its products (very relevant to cultural organisations)
  • In exchange for exclusive content (video/music)
  • If it enhances their online reputation (so ‘being in the know’ or ‘cultured’ could be a side-effect of sharing cultural products/events/news)

One-size does not fit all

A millennial internet user is most likely to be living in an urban location, working full-time, and be educated to university level.

But millennials are not all at the same life-stage. 

  • 58% of them are Younger Millennials (21 – 27) of which 17% are students and only 19% are married.
  • 42% are Older Millennials (28 – 34) of which 58% are married and 66% are full-time workers

Digging deep into your own audience data should help you to create a picture of your current and future audiences. Look at the age profile of your visitors and from census data on your local area.

Global Web Index's report on millennials' online behaviors and their attitudes to digital and marketing.

Download Report

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