February 2017

Impact of Millennial Parents, Politics and a Brand’s New DNA, and Facebook’s Trend Upward

Impact of Millennial Parents

We are often asked by marketers about new strategies to reach millennial parents now that children play such an important role in their lives. 

Our consumer study included questions about the makeup of the millennial family, what the segment may look like in a decade, and key values for millennial parents.

To set the stage, there are 75 million millennials (according to Pew Research). The U.S. Census Bureau states that about 25% (or about 18 million) millennials have children. This indicates that millennials are rapidly becoming the face of the young American family.

The highlights of our consumer study included the following findings about Millennial parents:

  • Nearly 75% (or 56 million) plan to have children over the next 10 years.
  • When it comes to child-rearing, millennial parents describe themselves as “available” and “hands-on.”
  • Millennial parents are deal-seekers and thrifty when shopping for themselves, but choose quality over cost when it comes to making purchases for their kids.
  • Among the consumer segments most impacted by “influencers” are millennial parents, with nearly 70% saying their purchase decisions are primarily based on recommendations from friends, family, and strangers they believe to have expertise and credibility.

Politics and a Brand’s New DNA

During the last 18 months, we’ve observed the increased importance consumers are placing on knowing the “politics” of the brands they buy. In addition to its history, product attributes, and community involvement, a brand’s political stance is something young consumers want to understand, making politics a new factor in a brand’s DNA.

Our consumer study produced some surprising results that indicate millennials and older Gen Z consider a brand’s politics as more than just a litmus test to determine what to buy.

Recently, there have been multiple examples of brands intentionally (and some unintentionally) becoming involved in the political discourse. One such instance included ride-sharing brands Uber and Lyft. It’s among the most notable examples because Lyft seized on the opportunity to differentiate its brand from Uber, calling President Trump’s executive order, “…antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values” and promised a donation of $1,000,000 to the ACLU. To read more about Uber and Lyft’s PR battle, see The Atlantic.

In our consumer study, three key themes emerged relevant to brands and politics:

  • In sharp contrast to our surveys one year ago, this month’s study indicated that the top three issues on which brands should take a political position were climate change, women’s rights, and immigration. Our surveys in early 2016 indicated young people overwhelmingly thought that companies should take positions only on political issues that directly related to their business, such as minimum wage, family leave, and the economy.
  • Nearly 65% of teens and young adults said knowing a company’s position on political issues was important to them. A third of those consumers said it was “very important.”
  • But less than 50% of those consumers indicated that a brand’s political position would impact their purchase decisions. Some consumers described the importance of knowing a brand’s politics as “preparation” which allowed them to defend their decision, if necessary, in buying certain products.

Facebook’s Trend Upward

A study released last month by the UBS Evidence Lab indicates that Facebook usage among teens is up 6% (from 59% to 65%) since 2014. Their findings contrast much of the recent media coverage about young people’s love of Snapchat and Instagram.

But like the UBS study, our consumer survey on Gen Z’s social media habits indicates a deliberate and steady upward trend for Facebook.

The highlights of the study included:

  • The number of brands teens are fans of on Facebook is up about 5% since last year.
  • The percentage of teens who are on Facebook “multiple times per day” is up to 65% from 58% only 6 months ago.
  • A 5% increase in how often teens are liking, commenting, and sharing content in comparison to the times they log on but are not engaged with Facebook content.

For Facebook pages that are not seeing these positive trends, we recommend considering the following to increase engagement among teens and millennials:

  • Content: take inspiration from the most successful content you’ve posted over the last 12 months for new posts.
  • Photos: over a 3-month period, BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million Facebook posts and found that posts with photos had engagement rates almost 2.5 times higher than posts without.
  • Video: Facebook appears to favor its native video app over YouTube, so using the Facebook’s native app instead of a YouTube link should increase comments, shares, and reach.
  • Community Management: shorten your posts, reply to customers, and use a call to action each time.