The idea of needing to search for Millennials online is a bit hilarious as this is the most connected generation in history. Immersed in digital tools, people born from 1982-2004 represent the largest living generation, with a population of +74.5 million in the U.S. (Pew Research 2016). According to ComScore’s reporting for the past few years, Facebook continues to dominate in terms of percent of time spent with the fastest growing competitor being SnapChat.
Asking where to find millennials is a rather simple question if you understand how to tune to the right channel and use data to confirm you’ve found them. Think about it in this context, turn on your TV or radio (insert millennial joke about what’s that), browse the stations, moving between signal and noise being generated for a particular audience. These stations with targeted content attract audiences in the same way that hashtags, fan pages, and conversations attract them.
Mobile and tablet mediums are where this generation is spending increasing amounts of their time. Rather than getting too trapped in the idea that there is a magic honey pot of young people on a specific app that should then guide your strategy – instead look at the full picture.
Using Demographic Data to Find Millennials
Knowing that Millennials are the largest living generation and dominate online usage on mobile/tablet devices should help inform any content or targeting strategy. Beyond this, most major platforms make it even easier to see engagement by demographic as it relates to your content. So the ultimate strategy is to analyze what is working for the demo and do more of it across your platforms. Here is a summary of the various demographic data available and how you can use it.
Forget the social media platforms and remember that Millennials ask questions too of the all-knowing search giant. If you are able to understand the psychodemographics, motivations and needs of your audience, it becomes very easy to figure out the types of things they may be searching. Aiming at the college age population consider searches around “paying for college,” and “scholarships.” Looking for recent post college, think about who would be searching for “tips for how to dress for work,” “how to interview for your first job.”
While it may seem like you are guessing at these phrases, you can use the Google AdWords Grant (or just pay to advertise) to show ads against those keywords. Then use Google Analytics to understand the demographics of the audience that traffic is driving. If it matches what you’re after, then consider creating content that could build that traffic. The following is a snapshot from PowerPoetry.org’s data around millennials engaging on the site:
To understand more about what this demo is doing on the site you can create a segment that allows you to see the content and the sources of traffic that is sending them.
Here is more reading on how you can understand how colleges might be using your site and how to set up your Google Analytics account.
Finding Millennials on Facebook
The above strategy can show you the age of the traffic that Facebook is sending to your site. On the Facebook platform you can quickly find demographic data on your page through Facebook insights. Ad targeting makes it even easier to pinpoint this audience – here is a guide on how to find teens on Facebook.
The following screenshot came from the Facebook.com/PowerPoetry page in the insights < Page Views section:
Millennials on Twitter
Google Analytics source traffic will show you the general demographic information of traffic sent from the platform. Demographic information for Twitter followers is also available, though it can be harder to segment this audience to see their interests. Here are a couple guides on how to navigate Twitter Analytics.
The following screenshot came from @PowerPoetry in the http://analytics.twitter.com audiences section:
Millennials Watching on YouTube
YouTube is the second largest search engine second only to Google Search. There is a massive audience watching and searching including this generation. The key is to look at your demographic data behind your video content to understand if it is resonating with the audience. This guide shows how you can find and use YouTube analytics data to do this.
The following snapshot is from the Whole Whale channel in the Analytics < Demographics section:
Where Can’t I find Millennials online?
By now it should be clear that if you can’t find this audience online you simply aren’t trying. Most major platforms are moving to include analytics on demographics and usage. This is the perfect measuring tool that should allow communications/programs/content teams understand how to use data and do more of what works.