Courtney Eckerle

3 Content Tips from StumbleUpon for Reaching Millennials

December 18th, 2015

When marketers talk about Millennials, the reigning opinion is that it’s a demographic of 24-year-olds, according to Anne Gherini, Head of Marketing, StumbleUpon.

Anne explains this fallacy in her interview with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at DMA’s &THEN 2015. She also goes in-depth about how marketers can effectively reach and resonate with these 18-34 year olds.

“40% of Millennials are parents. So when we talk about Millennials in general, we have to think about how vast this demographic really is. So testing becomes key,” she said.


With so much content out there to choose from, authenticity and trust is key, Anne said.


Tip #1. Test for relevant content

StumbleUpon is a discovery platform that finds and recommends Web content to its users using peer sourcing, by showing users to webpages, photos and videos that can then be personalized to their tastes and interests.

With typically Millennial users who, by the nature of the service, like personalized and relevant content, StumbleUpon tests “everything,” Anne said.

This is especially true from a social media perspective, she added, but extending extensively into email as well.

“That’s a big piece for us. So there we’re testing everything from subject lines to pieces of content to templates,” she said.

Testing can help marketers understand how Millennials are digesting content and what type of content works best for them.

“We take the sixty trillion webpages that are out there, and we serve you what’s best for you … There’s a tremendous amount of content, and picking the content is crucial for us,” she said.

When testing, Anne added, it really comes down to understanding what content is best for different types of users. An example, she said, of an especially useful test has been figuring out the best time of day to send to users.


Tip #2. Build mobile first

Another crucial aspect StumbleUpon has been testing is what platform Millennials are opening their emails on.

“When we’re talking about Millennials, the majority of them are mobile first. … So that means not only does your email need to be responsive to mobile, but you should probably build that template mobile-first, knowing that they’re going to open it there,” Anne said.

What building mobile first means for marketers is keeping in mind that “you’re building for a six inch device,” she said.

Testing to discover what pieces work and what layout is going to be most effective is imperative so that Millennials can easily scroll through and find the content that they want.


Tip #3. Create snackable content

One of the key statistics that Anne said her team found at StumbleUpon, “which at first was a warning flag,” was that average users’ session length had decreased over previous years.

What the team ended up finding was that while session length had decreased, Millennials are logging on multiple times a day.

“It’s more bite-sized pieces of content consumption as opposed it sitting down in front of your desktop or laptop computer for an hour at a time. Now it’s 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there,” she said, adding that when you look at how long users are spending on aggregate throughout the day, it’s actually a greater duration.

“That’s important to remember when you’re trying to connect with them, because you want to make sure that content is easily digestible in 10 minutes, five minutes, whatever that piece of time you get from them,” she said.


Video content and Millennials

StumbleUpon uses content from throughout the Web, Anne said, and discovering what types of content resonates with different demographics. They’ve discovered that especially with Millennials, video has become incredibly important.

The idea of quick content still weighs high in video, she said, because, “it isn’t that high production value video anymore, now it’s some of these short bursts. That’s why Vine, Instagram, all of these short-form videos have really taken off in the last few years.”

In all content, it’s more about being straight and to the point with Millennials. The difficulty is in getting your audience to connect and providing value in such a short window.

“That’s very difficult for brands, especially entering into a new social platform. So it’s always hard to jump right in, so finding experts in the space can be quite helpful in getting connected to right audience,” she said.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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