Millennial Influences

When Millennials look to buy products, their purchase influences have a strong foundation of reviews; friends and family; and ads in that specific order.

Factors that influence purchase decisions

For brand communication, email is still used the most despite all the newer, flashier forms of communication out there. 63% of Millennials from the US and UK said it was their preferred form of communication with a brand in a questionnaire by Urban Airship.

Email is also a very efficient format for getting Millennials to navigate to e-commerce sites. When a discount code is added to a retail email, it seems to inspire people to make purchases in the same manner that free cheese samples attract everybody . 57% of online retail purchases are primarily influenced this way.

A visual is a key component to any ad and the fine-tuning of visuals can make an enormous difference in terms of conversions.
Christine Carey, GM, SVP Sales

Organic promotion on instagram is proving to be valuable to companies as users will engage with branded posts even despite the lack of brunch or baby present in the promotion.

Snapchat is very useful to companies looking to target Millennials specifically because their user base is largely Millennials.

Facebook is still the most popular social media site for young and old Millennials. People also tend to spend the greatest amount of their social media time on Facebook. Older Millennials use Facebook for product research more than other generations with younger Millennials coming in a close second. As mentioned previously, Millennials trust their friends and family second to reviews which makes Facebook an obvious place to do research. This assumes of course that your Facebook isn’t entirely filled with spambots and enemies.

US Facebook users who use social media for research



  • Your social strategy should focus on optimizing and curating quality reviews and user generated content (UGC).
  • Have a strategy to get more social endorsements and shares from satisfied customers
  •  Have a strategy to showcase UGC and good reviews to potential customers

Tips & Tactics

  • Make sure your ads are shareable and formatted to make the leap to social media since so many millennials use it for research
  • Participation in online trends with hashtags to take advantage of free and potentially massive exposure
  • Make your instagram page shoppable with programs like Feedshop that allow instagram users to add items they see to a shopping cart. The fewer steps to the purchase the better and you can’t get any fewer than that
  • Add discount codes to your promotional emails because they are clearly a goldmine
  • Collect emails everywhere: in-store, online, in your advertising, etc
  • Use technologies such as Contobox’s Hashtagger to showcase positive UGC from top social networks in your digital advertising

Images Images Images

Millennials communicate a lot through images which is why the camera is one of the most important features on a phone for this generation. The image can tell you so much more than text about how great your vacation is and why others should feel bad about their lives right now. “A visual is a key component to any ad and the fine-tuning of visuals can make an enormous difference in terms of conversions”- Christine Carey, GM, SVP Sales.

Importance of cameras on mobile devices



  • Think Visual. High impact images create an emotional connection creating more memorable messaging

Tips & Tactics

  • Big and bold images are effective – make sure your advertising has a big enough canvas to make an impact. For example larger display formats such as the super-leaderboard, homepage takeovers and Contobox Display expandable provide the space to make an impact
  • It doesn’t always have to be about size – interactivity and subtle animations such as cinemagraphs can make visuals have a big impact while conserving on space
  • Use dynamic creative to find out which images are more effective in selling your product and which combinations of text and images really work together

Further Reading

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Steve Patrick Adams is a writer, illustrator, and animator with a glowing love of all things Ad Tech. He's been a digital media producer since 2010 when he got his start working for Bite (Blue Ant Media) and has since worked for a variety of publishers including CBC Comedy, Mashable, and IAB Canada.