It's no surprise that Millennials are regularly active on nearly every social media channel. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat capture anywhere from two-thirds to more than three-fourths of young adult users on a daily basis. 

With numbers like those, every modern business should create an effective social media marketing strategy. 

But although we know that Millennials will see a brand's social media posts, do those networks actually create meaningful conversions? And if so, how can growing brands determine which social sites they should invest their time, energy and money into? 

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How do Millennials Shop? DesignRush Social Media Survey

DesignRush conducted a survey analyzing 219 Millennials’ shopping habits on social media and eCommerce websites. We found: 

  1. 30% of adults age 22 to 37 purchase products directly on Facebook, 17% purchase products on Instagram and 8% purchase products on Pinterest.

  2. 35% of Millennials say that Facebook builds the most brand and product trust, 32% build the most brand trust through Instagram, and 21% build trust on Pinterest. 

  3. Just 5% of Millennials believe Snapchat creates the best brand and product trust with consumers.

  4. Meanwhile, 8% of Millennials believe Twitter fosters the most brand and product trust.

  5. Facebook helps 37% of survey takers find products they would actually use. This is followed by Instagram (30%) and Pinterest (24%). 

  6. However, only 4% find products they would use on Snapchat, followed by 5% on Twitter.

  7. 61% of people surveyed trust their friend’s product or brand endorsements. This is followed by their own experience (51%) and website reviews and testimonials (48%).

  8. Say goodbye to celebrity endorsements! It turns out that just 10% of young adults value celebrity endorsements the most, out of all brand promotions.

  9. Influencer marketing, endorsements and sponsored posts fare slightly better at 12%.

  10. Nonetheless, the survey found that 18% of respondents will trust a brand or product more because an influencer used it on social media. Plus, an extra 38% of Millennials will "maybe" trust the product more, and an additional 20% will find value if the use was organic to the platform and the influencer's normal posts.

  11. But celebrities are still the weakest link, as 48% of Millennials will not trust a brand or product more based on a traditional celebrity posting about it on social media.

  12. Email retargeting and remarketing campaigns aren't helpful with Millennial audiences. 41% say those campaigns do not encourage them to complete a purchase. In fact, another 18% of Millennials say they are actually less likely to buy a product due to email retargeting and remarketing campaigns.

  13. Traditional retargeting had similar results. Our survey found that 37% of young adult shoppers are not inspired to purchase a product because of remarketing, with another 16% saying that retargeting makes them less likely to complete a transaction.

  14. However, 12% of Millennials say that traditional email newsletter promotions make them more likely to complete a transaction. An additional 50% of respondents say they are sometimes swayed to complete a transaction because of an email newsletter promotion. 

  15. Only 10% of Millennials prefer to shop at brick and mortar stores and 12% prefer to shop on social media platforms. Instead, businesses should still focus on eCommerce websites, where 47% of Millennials enjoy shopping the most.

  16. 31% of Millennials say social media influences their shopping habits, but they don't complete the purchases directly on social media sites.

Ages 18 to 34 are the most valuable target audience for retail businesses -- which almost completely overlaps the Millennial age group of 22 to 37.

This age bracket is crucial for brands because young adults now have the ability to make purchases and spend money. But more importantly, appealing to this age group effectively increases the likelihood for lifelong brand loyalty. This provides long-term success for businesses.

What's more, our brand-new survey results can inform strategic social media tactics and campaigns for growing brands. 

The Millennials Who Shop Directly On Social Media Largely Prefer To Use Facebook

One-third of Millennials don't purchase products directly on any social media platform. This proves that social networks can influence Millennial shopping habits, brand loyalty and product discovery -- but they don't necessarily need the "instant gratification" of purchasing them right then and there. Instead, they prefer traditional eCommerce interfaces. 

However, a large subset of Millennials has purchased products on social media sites. Unsurprisingly, 30% of these conversions were made on Facebook (color Mark Zuckerberg shocked). Companies aiming to create strong Facebook eCommerce conversion rates should create custom target audiences, paid media ads, and even fully-integrated eCommerce website platforms like Shopify.

Snapchat Won't Drive Website Visits, Conversions Or Revenue

Despite the fact that Snapchat has 300 million regular users, the platform doesn't directly drive website traffic, conversions or revenue. Thus, brands who are hard-pressed for time and money should scrap Snapchat if they are focused on those business objectives. 

However, Snapchat can still provide brand-boosting benefits. Therefore, growing businesses may want to employ Snapchat tactics to create a brand identity that customers recognize and identify with. 

Millennials Will Believe A Friends’ Brand Experience Before They Trust Influencer & Celebrity Endorsements

Perhaps the most telling result from our survey findings is that Millennial consumers trust real people over famous faces. Young adult shoppers value their own experiences with products and brands and their friends' endorsements.

However, they are wary to trust social media influences and, even more so, celebrity endorsements. 

To appeal to Millennials that value human connection -- even within retail and eCommerce shopping -- businesses should prioritize user-generated content. This can come in the form of client testimonials, website reviews, and even reposting customers' social media posts on your own accounts.

By employing these digital strategies, businesses can still show their brand's value while fostering a positive and authentic relationship with Millennial customers. 

Brands Should Always Focus On Increasing Valuable Website Traffic 

Despite the fact that Millennials are strongly manipulated by paid social media advertisements, online brand endorsements and influencers, social media isn't the end-all-be-all for them. In fact, young adults would still rather shop on eCommerce platforms as opposed to social sites. 

Therefore companies who are hoping to improve their online conversions shouldn't rely solely on integrated eCommerce platforms. Instead, brands should also still product paid media and pay-per-click advertisements, organic posts, and sponsored content. This can directly funnel consumers to their eCommerce site.

How Can Brands Improve Their Social Media Marketing Strategy & Improve eCommerce Conversion Rates?

Not every business is targeting Millennials. However, brands that are striving for a younger target audience or hope to capture a demographic and transform them into lifelong brand loyalists should implement effective social media strategies. These will increase website visits, conversions and revenue from young adults. 

In order to create a great social media marketing strategy that appeals to Millennials, Baby Boomers or someone else in between, businesses need to: 

  • Conduct thorough market research
  • Determine specific business goals
  • Understand the social media platforms that their target audience actively uses
  • Discover the tools, channels and websites that will reach their demographic and objectives
  • Enlist top social media marketing experts to conduct strategic campaigns across paid media, sponsored content, retargeting, integrated eCommerce plugins to reach the business goals and grow the business successfully.  
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