Millennials have been described as the generation who want it all, and want it all now as they are ambitious and confident with high expectations. They are, after all, the first generation of digital natives with access to all of the information they could ever desire at the touch of a button – or swipe of a screen. They are now entering the job market for the first time, having an impact on the economy, and influencing the way brands interact with and market to their customers. Their impact on the global economy is huge, and so it is vital that we take some time to understand them.

Let’s take a closer look at some statistics relating to Millennials, from CBRE Residential:

  • They make up 25% of the UK work population
  • They feel entitled to rapid work progression and frequent rises in salary
  • They expect to be always digitally connected, blurring work/life distinctions
  • They are digitally native and use their smartphone for selection, purchase and fulfillment
  • They expect the ecommerce revolution to continue and think that all retail activity in the future will take place online

As you can see business who aren’t targeting their products and services at Millennials are probably doing themselves a disservice – they are an important part of the population and a sector that is continually growing. It is vital, therefore, that we have a better idea of how they are interacting with brands online – whether this be on search or social – as this will have an impact on both user engagement and marketing campaigns. Knowing this will help brands to interact with this sector of society better.

How do we define Millennials?

Before we even start thinking about how Millennials interact online, we need to be sure about what the definition of Millennials is. They are generally defined as people who were born between 1980 and 2000 – however, there will be some technological adaption differences between someone born in 1981 and someone born in 1999 though. Millennials can now all be described as adults, as even someone born in 2000 will be 18 now.

Anyone born since 2000 then is known as being part of Generation Z. There are a lot of similarities between these two sectors of society but the way they use social media is subtly different. Millennials will tend to use social media for social reasons – to update their statuses and check in with their friends. Generation Z on the other hand, tend to use social media to find content and to entertain themselves.

Global Web Index recently published some research on how Generation Z and Millennials use social media, and they discovered the following:

  • To fill up their spare time (48%)
  • To find funny or entertaining content (45%)
  • To stay in touch with what my friends are doing (41%)
  • To stay up-to-date with news and current events (38%)
  • To share photos or videos with others (35%)
  • Because a lot of my friends are on there (34%)
  • To meet new people (34%)
  • General networking with other people (34%)
  • To share my opinion (31%)
  • To research / find products to buy (29%)

How do Millennials use social media and search?

One other interesting thing about Millennials is the way they gather information when they are looking for recommendations about things. Despite many people believing they would turn to social media first, only 5% of them did with the rest heading to the search engines like most other people. They tend to view social media as a place to gather the opinions of many people at once, but when they really wanted a more concrete answer they turn to Google.

It is also interesting to take a look at social media usage vs search amongst Millennials with 97% reporting that they searched online at least once a day compared with just 69% saying they logged into their social media accounts.

Looking deeper at the statistics on search in the Millennial generation, 62% reported that they searched online 5 times or more per day, and 68% reported that they did their searching on their phones.

What all this means is that search is still important in a marketing strategy that is aimed at Millennials as despite the fact they are more prolific on social media than other sectors of society, they still turn to search engines when they need find out information.  


Social media is important as a way of sharing content, however search is important from a practical point of view. Understanding how Millennials interact online is vital if you want to come up with marketing strategies which engage them and help you to drive your business growth.