In In the Media, Marketing, Media

Multicultural group of friends using cellphones - Students sitting in a row and typing on the smartphones

Millennials are NOT shopping on social media and it may be time for marketers to recognize that.  While it is clear that Snapchat and Instagram are the most frequently used visual social media tools by Millennials, that hasn’t translated directly into sales. It seems that Millennials are not using these channels to purchase products on, as several marketers and retailers had hoped they would.  A recent survey by GumGum revealed some interesting statistics on purchase patterns of Millennials on the top visual social platforms: Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest.  And it contained some unpleasant shocks for advertisers.

The big take-away from the study was that despite marketers and retailers making bold attempts to push social commerce on Millennials through Snapchat, Pinterest  and Instagram, their efforts have met with very little success. The idea behind these marketing campaigns lies in the click; the idea that Millennials want everything instantly or “with the tap of a finger”. Marketers see this as meaning that Millennials will be more likely to buy products if they see them while tapping through their stories or scrolling through their Insta feed. Although it was actually found that 93 percent of Millennials prefer original content on Instagram and 53 percent of users on Snapchat are watching just their friend’s stories. The most important stat discovered in this survey is that 99 percent of users have never bought anything on a visual social platform.

While it is true that Millennials want products instantly and they look at their Snapchat feed on an average of five times per day, it cannot be assumed that they are always looking to buy something. Most Millennials are looking at their mobile devices throughout the day because they are bored or are communicating with friends. In fact, most users on visual platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, prefer to “lurk” rather than take any action at all.  Almost half, 48 percent, of users are browsing their friends’ Instagram images throughout the day, rather than performing any action of their own.

Celebrity influencers on these platforms are also a bust. If marketers are using them to sell their products on Snapchat they are not getting the payback they expected. While a greater amount of people follow celebrities on Instagram,- 60 percent to be exact –  only 20 percent follow celebrities on Snapchat. This is most likely because they want to treat Snapchat as a personal platform.

It’s time for marketers and retailers to put their efforts in selling products far away from these visual social spheres. We Millennials value the community that we create and the last thing any one of us wants to see is an ad. The best way for a brand to benefit from these platforms is to join in on the conversation and post original, interesting, informative and creative content. Keep it social and keep your website link handy in your bio so we can seek you out ourselves, but you better have overnight shipping.

Danielle Murray heads the Millennial Principle team.


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