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How (and Why) Millennials Interact With Brands on Social Networks

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For interaction with companies or brands online, Facebook is the most popular platform with millennials, followed by Twitter and Pinterest, according to recent research from The Center for Marketing Research at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

The study was based on data from a survey of 576 Millennials (defined in the report as those born between 1980 and 2000) who were asked about their interactions with brands on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

A large majority of respondents (62%) say they like at least one brand on Facebook, compared with 23% who follow a brand on Twitter and 11% who have pinned a brand on Pinterest.

Below, additional key findings from the report.


Why Millennials Interact With Brands

  • Across all platforms, the top reason Millennials like, follow, or pin is to support a brand.
  • The next most commonly cited reason is to receive regular updates from brands, followed by the desire to get coupons or discounts.
  • Respondents said those companies offering coupons or discounts in exchange for a like/follow/pin would be most likely to see an increase in sales.

Pinterest Drives Purchasing

  • 47% of Millennials surveyed with Pinterest accounts say they've purchased something online after pinning it.
  • In contrast, only 38% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users say they've purchased something from a brand after Liking or following it online.

Multi-Channel Shopping

  • 77% of millennial Facebook users, 66% of Twitter users, and 63% of Pinterest users are multichannel shoppers (after viewing something on a social network they've made purchases both online and in stores).
  • Pinterest users are the most likely to purchase exclusively online.

About the research: The study was conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes and Ava M. Lescault of The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. It was based on data from a survey of 576 US respondents born between 1980 and 2000 (49% male and 51% female).


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and the co-founder of Inbound ContentWorks, a marketing agency that specializes in content creation for businesses and brands. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His past experience includes working for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Marcom Guru Fri Feb 7, 2014 via web

    This data isn't all that helpful without contrasting with non-millennial behavior. The hypothesis of the article is that millennial behavior is somehow different from non-millinnial behavior and that might not be the case at all. Everyone likes coupons and discounts. Virtually ever age group under 75 are multi-channel shoppers. Also the sample size is too small and there's no mention of geography. It's possible that millennials in the Silicon Valley behave very differently from millennials in Detroit. So what are we really expected to get from this study? How is it actionable?

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