Since the early 2000s, Generation Y has been considered a key demographic by almost every brand. This trend will continue to grow as we come into 2014 when Millennials have the most purchasing power they have ever had. In order to stay relevant, brands must capture Millennial interest through new innovations and strategic campaigns that engage Millennials through a variety of different networks. Here, we have compiled a list of the top five Millennial trends to watch for in 2014:
1. Social media paradigm shift
In 2014, we will see a paradigm shift in the way online privacy is used. Now, more than ever, employers and marketers are using social media profiles as a way to learn more about future employees and clients. This new paradigm shift in online privacy is changing the perception of what/why information is shared online. Instead of being afraid to share information, users are now focusing on what benefits come from sharing personal information online.
2. Social ads are replacing banner ads
Social advertisements are the new way to engage Millennial social media users. Different from banner ads, social ads provide a brief description of the product or company being promoted and are included in the users news feed. Traditional online banner ads are mostly ignored by social media users and are only clicked on 0.2 percent of the time they are seen. Social ads are smaller and more suited for smartphones than traditional banner ads do and are more preferred by Generation Y.
3. Pictures speak louder than words
Instagram is one of the top media channels used by Millennials on a daily basis. The popular social network engages Millennials through pictures and encourages them to use creativity when editing and sharing content. Facebook recently purchased Instagram when it became clear that Millennials preferred sharing pictures instead of status updates on their Facebook profiles. As a creative generation, Millennials value brands that allow them to express themselves in unique ways. Photo sharing is a way Millennials can connect with others through creative expression.
4. Say bye-bye to luxury branding
Affluent Millennials are a growing segment within Generation Y. According to Unity Marketing, this group will take over the luxury segment by 2018. These Millennials do not seek out products that show off their high status. Instead they are driven by experiences and opportunities to create memories that they can share with friends. Luxury brands are also becoming more available to the general Millennial demographic. Brands like, Nike and Honda are now considered luxury brands are generally favored by the majority of Millennials.
5. More mobile
The Millennial generation is redefining the way brands are using mobile marketing. According to a study released by InsightExpress, two out every five Millennials say would feel anxious without their smartphones. Now, it is imperative that every platform be optimized for mobile use. Millennials make up 70 percent of consumers who say they are more likely to immediately delete an email if it is not adjusted for mobile use. Millennials are an on the go generation with no plans to slow down in 2014. The connection between mobile use and brand engagement will only get stronger as the year progresses.
Leah Swartz contributed to this post.