Brand Speak: Yahoo Insights Guru Lauren Weinberg on Engaging Millennials


The following is a guest post by Lauren Weinberg, Vice President, Strategic Insights and Research, Yahoo

Capture the Hearts and Minds of Millennials with Creative Content

It’s no surprise that millennials are so popular among digital marketers. This group of highly connected individuals makes up 27 percent of the U.S. population. They spend 18 hours a day consuming media and check their smartphone 43 times a day. And, most importantly, they have buying power. According to a recent Mintel report, millennials in the U.S. will have more than $1.4 trillion to spend by 2020.

While millennials may be the ideal digital consumers, the way marketers reach them needs to be carefully considered. That’s especially true when it comes to content marketing, which can be a highly effective channel for reaching this group. In fact, according to a Crowdtap report, millennials find content marketing 35 percent more memorable than other sources of information.

The fact that millennials are more open to content marketing means that brands already have a foot in the door, but that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Millennials have distinct expectations when it comes to the ads they engage with and share, raising the bar for marketers. Reaching millennials through content marketing hinges on understanding their values and their daily habits.[more]

Millennials have a unique set of values: realness and transparency, creativity and self-expression, positivity and fun. These qualities drive how millennials live their lives and represent what they look for in their relationships, including relationships with brands. These values should be the foundation for the creative philosophy behind a brand’s content marketing.

Six best practices that brands should keep in mind when creating content that millennials will engage with and share: 

● Set the Mood: Millennials prefer brands that tap into their emotions and help them bond over universal human experiences. When developing branded content, make sure it provides an experience that conveys an emotional sentiment, such as “I adore you” or “I can’t wait to see you.” These emotional connections will help keep millennials engaged.

● Help Them Escape: Use imagery that reinforces the Millennial desire to embrace life and find happiness along the off-roaded path to adulthood. Mercedes-Benz’s #GLApacked campaign on Instagram is a perfect example. The company loaned popular Instagram users a Mercedes GLA to travel across the country while documenting their trip—and how they packed for their travels (above)—on Instagram. These kinds of campaigns give millennials a new way to experience the world and to engage with brands. 

● Fuel Creativity and Play: Millennials love to see a brand’s creativity. Inspire playful mash-ups and creative expressions that gets millennials involved. Leverage popular memes that are the right fit for your brand’s attributes, and get creative with them. Taco Bell has used Tumblr and other social outlets to get their customers involved. Taco Bell’s Johnny DLT comic on Tumblr was fun and creative, and matched the playfulness millennials are looking for from brands.

● Spotlight Pop Culture: There’s no better way to engage millennials than with a nod to pop culture. Support your superfan customers with campaigns that connect your brand to the celebrities and trends popular today and loved in their youth. Trigger millennials’ nostalgia with cultural references to TV shows, music, brands and aesthetics from the 1990s and 2000s. 

● Help Them Succeed: Millennials are still thirsting for knowledge, and how-to content often fills the need. It can take the form of serious help (financial or career advice) or not-so serious help (how to get a date, for example). 

● Help Them Discover: Tap into millennials’ desire for discovery by giving them a peek behind the curtain of how everyday things are made or a deep dive on a subject they might want to explore. With information that is free, fun and information, they’ll want to learn more about your brand!

Millennials aren’t a one-size-fits-all audience, but keeping in mind the values that drive them will help inform your content marketing strategy. Whether it’s creating a video campaign, or a how-to series, the most important thing for content marketers to keep in mind is to speak to the hearts and minds of Millennials. So get playful, creative, emotional and informative, and help Millennials around the world engage with your brand! 

[For more insights, check out Content Marketing: Best Practices Among Millennials, a study by Yahoo, Tumblr, Razorfish and Digitas.]


Lauren Weinberg is vice president of insights at Yahoo, where she oversees global research in areas such as consumer insights and ad effectiveness, and is responsible for bringing insights to the marketplace. She was previously vice president of Digital Insights and Research at MTV Networks where she was the primary contact for syndicated and primary research and supervised MTV Network’s proprietary 15,000 online community as well as oversaw the Digital Ad Sales Research Team. Prior to joining MTV Networks, Weinberg spent three years at as director of research and worked at Nielsen NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix as a media analyst.