‘Must try harder’ is the gist of feedback issued to advertisers after their recent attempts at connecting with millennials, arguably the most important consumer generation, fell wide of the mark.

A new study from Social Chorus warns that brands are missing the chance to engage with a highly connected audience by bombarding them with the same old messages. This applies especially to those advertising online, as the advocate marketing solutions provider highlights that just 6% of millennials consider internet placements to be credible.  

There is certainly room for improvement, though, as the target group also dropped a number of hints regarding some of the ways they would prefer to be reached.

Missing the target

If there is one thing the study made clear, it is that millennials matter. US web users born between 1980-2000 are believed to have a purchasing power of $170 billion per year and outscore the nation’s population of generation ‘Xers’ – or those born between 1965-1980 – by 79 million to 48 million.

They also grew up in a completely digital age and have the highest social networking penetration of any age group. What millennials appear to be missing is a way to share their experiences without feeling like they are buying into an idea.

Social Chorus discovered that millennials can spot advertisements easily, which could be part of the reason why 63% refuse to click on Facebook’s sponsored stories and 98% prefer to connect with posts made by their friends rather than brands.

A total of 95% said their friends are the most credible source of product information, but this supposed negative could also entail benefits for brands that are struggling to reach out to digitally savvy groups.


In offering a way in for advertisers, the study suggested that brands should try marketing with their audiences rather than to them, also paying attention to the close relationships they have with their online friends.

For example, 91% of millennials would consider buying a product that had been recommended by an acquaintance, which opens up huge potential for co-marketing with the people they trust. Being a brand with high social responsibility was also advised, as too was the building of long-term relationships to breed lifelong customers.

Social Chorus summarised by stating that brands must develop a strategy that connects and engages with millennials, with plenty of focus on letting people share their stories.