How to Optimize Your Website for Millennials

Posted / 27 April, 2016

Author / Enginess

millennial on smartphone

Millennials are a generation of well educated, well paid individuals, and they’re known to be fiercely loyal to the brands they love. But how do you get them to love you? Here’s what millennials are looking for when they go online.

The demographic group dubbed "millennials” is now between 16 and 36, with a buying power of some $200 billion currently which is projected to grow to $10 trillion in their lifetime.

Every business needs to start thinking about millennials – if they aren’t already.

Millennials are a generation of well-educated, well-paid individuals, who are known to be fiercely loyal to the brands they love. But how do you get them to love you?

We take a look at what the numbers tell us about what millennials are looking for when they go online.

Good mobile design

Most of what millennials value in an online experience can be summarized as a good mobile experience.

If the principles of sound mobile design are being followed, then millennials will be on board.

Why? Because millennials love mobile.

 18% reported being mobile-only, which is huge. Not mobile first. Mobile only.

There are plenty of aspects that go into a great mobile experience, and to meet the high (and rising) expectations of these consumers, you need to hit them all. But there are a few in particular that are worth pointing out:

  • Keep your website fast. We know that millennials love videos and social sharing (more on that later). But you know what they love even more? A fast website. Don’t compromise speed for an extra share icon or a video hero image. With short attention spans, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. (Read more on  keeping your website fast)
  • Apps are the way forward. Within the millennial generation, there’s a skew for younger individuals to move towards apps over the mobile web. To truly future-proof yourself, we recommend an app over other mobile solutions (Read more on app vs mobile web)

Rich content

chef steps

 

Both the increase in video content on social networks and the emergence of totally new video and image-based social networks has been largely driven by millennials.

In fact, nearly half of millennials exclusively watch video content on their phones. They’re extremely active on YouTube,  comparison shop with video, and use video content to research purchasing decisions.

The message is clear: video is a favourite content format for millennials.

To engage with this audience, brands and companies are getting involved in video in different ways, including:

  • Branded videos/longer form advertisements (5 minutes vs 30 seconds, built specifically for social media)
  • Helpful videos (product reviews/recommendations in your field, how-to videos, etc.)

One brand which does a fantastic job of this is ChefSteps, which produces a range of helpful recipe videos to help people learn how to cook.

The goal? Be helpful, and be shared. They’re successful on both fronts.

 

Social sharing

social

 

Millennials are talkers, that’s for sure. For the millennial generation as a whole, both sharing and listening on social media are absolutely essential.

For example, millennials are more than twice as likely as older generations to have 200+ friends on Facebook and 70% will ask for advice and help with big (and small) decisions online.

So what can you do on your site to help?

Make it easy to share. Make buttons available to push content directly to major social networks. Make them easy, obvious and fast to use.

You don’t need every single social network out there – pick the relevant ones (these will depend on your specific website) and call it a day.

Second, listen out for yourself. Listen to what your customers and visitors are saying, both to and about you.

There are a number of social listening tools that are built exactly for this purpose. Many of them will let you monitor multiple channels for keywords, showing you what people are saying about your company, products or service.

You should also give users an avenue to provide you feedback – whether it's through your website or another specific channel – make sure your customers have a way of being heard.

And of course, engage on social media. A big part of sharing about brands and companies on social media (especially negatively) is just the desire by the customer to be heard. Show you hear them by responding, even if you can’t offer a resolution.

Personality

Microsoft’s Twitter Profile

 

Microsoft’s Twitter profile

Companies can no longer afford to be faceless organizations, hiding away in a 1990s office park. The expectation has shifted as companies face more public scrutiny for poor behaviour.

As a result, companies have to embrace the limelight, and millennials expect more than just a token effort.

Millennials, with their fierce brand loyalty, tend to love brands that have vivid, engaging personality, with a clear set of core values and who don’t take themselves too seriously.

It’s now more important to be honest and human than formal and professional.

Conclusion

Millennials are looking for more out of every company they interact with. Expectations are high, but so are the payoffs for businesses willing to invest in attracting this powerful demographic.

Brands and companies need to work more to engage with millennials on their level, rather than waiting for customers to ‘come around’ to the company’s way of thinking.

To do that, brands and companies need to do four things:

  1. Create a great mobile experience. Many millennials are mobile only.
  2. Create videos. Millennials love video content.
  3. Create the tools for millennials to share your content, listen to what people say about you, and respond whenever you can. Engagement is the name of the game.
  4. Develop and own a personality. Millennials are a relaxed bunch. They respect honesty and humility more than stiff upper lip professionalism. Provide that.
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