Young customers want to see content produced by other people like themselves, so companies must adapt their branded marketing materials.

The Millennial generation is the most tech-savvy and has fully embraced the internet in their lives, and web marketing strategies aimed at them must take those attributes into consideration. It’s also true that, as the youngest and largest cohort, their habits offer valuable insight into the future of brand-customer interactions. Studies indicate they have more brand loyalty than previous generations, but there are additional remarkable differences that set them apart from other age groups.

A recent study by Crowdtap explored what Millennials think of user-generated content, or UGC. It turns out they consider it 20 percent more influential and 35 percent more memorable than branded messages, and they’re 50 percent more likely to find it trustworthy.

Marketing that puts users first

It may be tempting to see these results and begin revamping content marketing strategies to emphasize UGC, but that’s easier said than done. UGC generally doesn’t crop up on marketing websites, but there are some ways brands can encourage customers to speak for themselves.

Social media: The Pew Research Center estimates that 90 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds are active on social media, and it may be that they’re drawn to channels like Twitter and Facebook precisely because they’re dominated by user-generated content. Marketers need to understand that, for many in the Millennial generation, social networks are places to start conversations with consumers and increase brand awareness.

Millennials have come to expect content that matches their experiences and expectations, which may also explain why they prefer UGC over typical branded content. 

Reviews: Companies may run into trouble communicating their value props to younger customers and clients, but reviews speak for themselves and help build trust. As genuine UGC, they’re hard to dispute, so they should be solicited whenever possible.

Case studies: While these aren’t UGC, strictly speaking, they come close to capturing the same information about users’ experiences and opinions.

Personalization: As Brafton reported, Millennials aren’t just tech-savvy – they’re also the most diverse generation. They’ve come to expect content to match their experiences and expectations, which may also explain why they prefer UGC over typical branded content. Custom content that targets the right customers will be much closer to what Millennials expect and prefer.

Engaging, useful content is a common refrain in marketing, so this prognosis shouldn’t come as a shock. However, it’s precisely because of Millennials’ habits that such practices are increasingly important. Going forward, marketers should keep an eye on the habits of the youngest generation – even if their primary customers are older. 

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.