Commentary

Millennials Aren't Lazy. You Are

Millennials’ consumption-driven nature has resulted in widespread content fatigue and the dire need for advertisers to adjust the ways in which they produce and distribute content. 

Considering this audience is here to stay, it’s crucial we understand how to successfully speak to them. Here are five common media misconceptions regarding millennials you should ignore, and why.

Myth #1: Millennials are lazy

Generation Y is considered lazy and unwilling to consume most content, especially if it requires effort. So then why is this group considered to have the biggest workaholics of all time?

These workaholics make up the generation that reclaimed content creation as their own, with 46% of millennials posting original photos and videos they create and 40% participating in the co-creation of products and brands.

Lazy? No. Unapologetic in refusing to simply stare at text? Yes.

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Instead of being frustrated with a group that refuses to consume any content pushed towards them, brands must produce stories that facilitate a 1:1 dialogue and compels interactivity, like visuals, polls and ranked lists. Data supports this: interactive content far outperforms static content, with 93% of marketers describing interactive content as effective in educating buyers, versus 70% when it comes to static content. 

Myth #2: Millennials have low attention spans

Millennials’ attention spans are likened to that of a goldfish. However, the binge-watching generation has proven time and again that consuming large amounts of content at once is possible, as long as the content is actually good. 

Millennials are protective of their leisure time and thus choosy about what they consume, making them simultaneously productive in reading only what sticks out to them. Not surprising as this generation considers productivity the key to happiness. 

Brands can harness these fleeting attention spans by breaking content into interactive segments that combine different storytelling elements to keep readers interested, as ABC did here. In fact, our data shows that combining visual interactive elements (like polls and flip cards) with text results in a 20% increase in dwell time.

If you want millennials’ time, make it worthwhile for them. 

Myth #3: Millennials are one segment

We can no longer assume this group responds the same to content, especially since millennials are the biggest, most diverse audience group. In reality, this group encompasses 6 sub-groups ranging from the successful “Gadget Guru” to the “Hip-ennial” who wants to make the world a better place.

To cater to millennials’ preferences, marketers should base their content creation on segmented data, not assumptions. Monitoring users’ behavior, and targeting them based on insights, eliminates the need for overarching stereotypes.  

Myth #4: Millennials are shallow

Today’s popular communication methods — emojis, memes and GIFs — might make millennials appear less serious, but keep in mind that they are out-reading their elders.  

Millennials aren't shallow, they're efficient. Their short, visual language is best designed to fit the media channels of the 21st century and beyond. And research shows that emojis help us communicate in a fraction of the time.

Catering to millennials’ visual side, while not wasting their precious time, will allow marketers to communicate with this audience and deliver a memorable message.

Myth #5: Millennials are self-centered

Perhaps the harshest accusations is that millennials only care about themselves. Odd considering they created the concept of crowdfunding while also contributing to social media revolutions, public marches, and more. 

They have transformed charitable giving, demanding to know exactly where their money is going and what purposes it will serve. These expectations have acted as the important catalyst to charities upholding a higher standard of transparency.

Debunked myths

Now that we’ve moved past myths into reality, it’s time we replace these five misconceptions with five actionable tips: Make your content interactive, digestible, data-based, visual and valuable. In doing so, you’ll truly cater to the preferences of this audience, instead of hyped-up stereotypes.

1 comment about "Millennials Aren't Lazy. You Are".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 23, 2018 at 8:05 a.m.

    Millennials are only one segment of the consumer base for most marketers and, in many cases, they are not the largest number nor the most loyal ones. In fact, while it's easier to get a millennial to latch on to a new vogue, millennials are constantly jumping ship, tyring to keep pace with their "in-crowd" as it shifts from one venue---or TV show--or product brand---to the more "cool" one of the moment.

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