When Millennials Are All Grown Up

Publishing

Let me start by saying that this is not, in any way, another post complaining about millennials, our rank entitlement, our financial sloppiness or our terrible love lives. If you’re on the hunt for one of those, feel free to check out my tumblr, or every other article you come across. Instead of blaming younger generations for acting the way young people normally do, I would prefer to talk about what we can expect from them in the future.

That is because young people have the tendency of, well, growing up. And as they do, many of the traits that represent their generation mature with them. In time, the millennial way of life will become the way things simply are. If you can put aside your horror for one moment, let me warn you: Dismissing this age group is at best, shortsighted, and at worst, catastrophic.  

This is especially true for those of us who work in content, who are experiencing an exciting and confusing time, with major shifts in how content is consumed. The mobile revolution forced publishers to adjust to new screen sizes, technical abilities and monetization models. Here at Playbuzz, we believe that the combination of new technology and user behavior will result in more change within the industry. Here are a few things you may want to prepare for:



Trust Issues

A study conducted by marketing platform Crowdtap showed that millennials spend a great deal of time consuming media, with a major focus of over 30% on user generated content (UGC). In fact, UGC was voted most trusted and most memorable content form by this age group. Some interpret the focus on UGC as a product of what they consider to be a self-absorbed generation, but it is also the result of the flattening out of the publishing landscape – a viral tweet can make headlines, a YouTuber can make millions. Millennials like their content to come from people who look and think like them, so you can expect this shift towards UGC to only keep growing.

As members of this generation mature, the need to get unfiltered information will only increase. We can expect UGC to enter new territories, and take over news coverage and other “serious” corners of content creation. Publishers and brands looking to use content as a marketing channel, must make it so that users’ social circle participate in both creating the content and spreading the message.

 

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Reality Check

We don’t have to wait for millennials to reach adulthood in order to recognize that there’s more than enough content out there. To rise above the noise, today’s marketers know that written content requires visual support such as images, GIFs and videos. In the years to come, new technology like AR and VR will become a part of our daily routine and without a doubt, will find its way in to the content around us.  

The idea of incorporating these technologies into content pieces works well with another topic we know a lot about: gen Y. This generation needs to be completely immersed in the content it consumes. The focus on interactive content isn’t going anywhere, but different forms of interaction will evolve and appear. Publishers and advertisers should put new tools and techniques to use, and take every opportunity to encourage readers’ participation.

The Time Is Now

One of the more crucial questions of content marketing has to do with timing your efforts correctly. A great tweet sent at the wrong moment, for instance, can get lost in the chaotic feed pace, never to be seen.

The good news about millennials is that their media consumption habits make it possible for advertisers to reach them around the clock. Not only that, but the generation that embraced Netflix has an active “pull” approach to content, and is willing to both search for valuable content, and pay for it.

While we cannot predict the future, we can definitely learn from the changes we see today and strategize for tomorrow. Publishers and advertisers should take a close look at their current content creation process, and ask themselves how big of a leap is required for them to adjust to what the future holds. Embracing today’s newest technology and interacting with readers as much as possible is a great place to start.

About the author

Jo Barrow

Jo Barrow is Head of Content, UK, at Playbuzz. She can be contacted at jo@playbuzz.com.

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