Study: Millennials value and share branded content

A report from Havas Worlwide reveals how brands can connect with today’s youth.

It turns out that millennials depend on brand content more than we think—and some prefer it.

Surprised? I was.

In a Havas Worldwide study entitled: “The Hashtag Nation: Marketing to the Selfie Generation,” it finds that brands play a key role in creating content millennials want to share. Focusing on those aged 16 and older in 29 markets, the study found that 60 percent of respondents used branded content in their social media activity frequently, agreeing that it is “an important part of the creative content online.”

A Brand Momentum poll found youth connected most with technology brands, including Samsung, Google, YouTube, PayPal and Facebook. Half of the 10,000 participants were more than happy to “welcome (the brands) into their lives” and saw them as “essential,” as compared with 25 percent in the 55 and older age range.

A real sense of partnership between young people and brands

Another part of the study found that four in 10 participants aged 16 to 34 said that brands don’t take them seriously enough. (There’s some room for improvement for us marketers.) Despite this, half of young people say that pop culture (i.e. brand marketing) has helped to shape both their personalities and attitudes.

These young people acknowledge that brands and their voices (i.e. content) are part of their everyday lives. “What’s particularly encouraging about this study is that the data point to a real sense of partnership between young people and brands,” said Andrew Benett, CEO of Havas. With that in mind, marketers should aim for brand attachment with millennials.

Millennials make an impact for brands worldwide

Contrary to what we might have thought, millennials actually do have an openness—even a desire—to connect with the brands they love, openly and publicly via social media or otherwise. Brands rely on youth in these markets to consume their content, not only monetarily, but through their enthusiasm and brand advocacy on social media.

This is happening not just in the U.S., but across the globe. Participants in this study were from: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Vietnam.

The study makes us realize that it is the global marketplace, not just the local one, which we hope to attract through branded content. For PR, branded content remains an important way of connecting with our audiences as we move into the future, especially among millennials.

This bodes well for marketing and content marketers, since we’re delivering this branded content more than ever.

Christine Oneto is a PR specialist who has been a blog editor as well as a campaign creator and PR consultant. A version of this post first appeared on Meltwater’s blog.

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