Simply churning out lots of content is not a sustainable or effective way to target Millennial customers, who are increasingly turning to their social networks for content discovery, far outranking online customisable newsfeeds, according to a global study by SDL. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The 'Content Finds the Customer' report concluded that the volume of content doesn't really matter but creating the right content and delivering it consistently - wherever your customers are - does matter.

In the midst of today's undeniable "ontent explosion", digitally-savvy Millennials are always connected to content and information. In fact, European consumers aged 18 - 36 are checking their smartphones an average of 36 times a day compared with those living in the US who look at theirs an average of 43 times a day. This suggests that, if a brand was to send a Millennial an email, it's likely that they will see it the same day, or even within seconds of it being sent.

Millennials are constantly consuming content and then discerning and sharing what they find relevant on their social channels, so it's important that the content finds them on the right social platform and in the way they are trying to engage.

Among the study's key findings:

  • Millennials embrace brands on social media
    Five out of six Millennials surveyed said they connect with companies on social media networks.
  • European markets use fewer channels to discover content
    Social networks dominate content discovery amongst Millennials, drastically outpacing online and customisable newsfeeds, email and search engines. Facebook is the most popular platform for content discovery in the UK (52%), the Netherlands (38%) and Germany (44%) followed by YouTube and Twitter.
  • Social media is overtaking email
    On average, Millennials share 6 pieces of content via social media per day, which has overtaken email (at 5 shares per day) as the de facto standard channel for sharing content.
  • Hyper-targeting is the new norm
    Millennials are expecting content that is tailored to them and their needs, whether it is personalised social networks, customised news feeds or music streams that constantly adjust to their changing tastes. Some 71% of survey respondents said they are most likely to listen to hyper-targeted music streaming services like Spotify over non-targeted listening options like local radio.
  • A prompt reply is a must
    Millennials consider speed of response important when they engage or communicate with companies. The study showed a preference for instant gratification approaches, such as online technical support via chat.

"Today's customers are accessing a wide range of on- and off-line channels to start, stop, re-join and jump engagement levels, carving out highly individualised paths to purchase," concluded Paige O'Neill, CMO for SDL. "Social is the channel of first choice for Millennials, and that will have broad implications for marketing as brands seek to build trust and relationships with this important demographic. We now have the ability to create and target content in context, which means content will truly have the ability to find the customer."