Millennials and their online user behaviour

Today we’ll do some tidying up! We’ll do away with widespread clichés surrounding the online user behaviour of millennials.

Susanne Gmachl | © punkt & komma
Susanne Gmachl
Content marketer

An early spring-cleaning regarding stereotypes

Yes, we all know it by now: The term “millennials” is out. Today, people call them “Generation Y” or even “Generation Z”. But who are the people belonging to these generations, which some of us might be a part of too? How do you characterise them? And is there any truth to the prevalent stereotypes about these groups? 

We’re doing an early spring-cleaning and we’ll do away clichés surrounding Generation Y and Z. Stereotyped thinking? Not on our watch! 
Short & crisp

The most important facts

Generation Y or millennials were born between the years of 1980 and 1999 – they’re something like the Facebook amongst social media. They were there from the outset and know what the deal is. But still: The younger ones are somehow a tad bit cooler. 

Generation Z is the follow-up generation to Generation Y. Zs were born between 2000 and 2015. If you had to compare the Zs to a social networking site, they’d be Instagram. Or Snapchat: younger, zappier and more trendsetting. 
Mitarbeiterin auf einer Instagram-Seite. | © punkt & komma
A short experiment to begin with
Imagine you’re sitting on a bus. Now look around. What do most people do to pass the time? Do they read the newspaper? No! Do they look out the window? No! Do they talk? Umm – of course not! An educated guess: Their eyes are glued to their smartphones? Excellent! Then we’ve made it to stereotype number 1: 
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Stereotype number 1

If it doesn’t work on mobile, it’s out

That’s true for both Generation Y and Z. For the latter, even more so. And Google doesn’t need to be told twice: “Mobile first!” is the motto. What we know – as of now – is that Google was working on a mobile-first index that has been completed at this point. Mobile website versions are preferred over desktop versions. What that means for website owners is pretty obvious: It has become even more important to offer a full-featured mobile version. 
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Stereotype number 2

Generation Y can be reached on social media

Even if lots of online marketers are already casting their net in an attempt to reach Generation Z, they shouldn’t completely forget about Generation Y! They feel at home in the digital world and use social media almost around the clock. The most important thing for a marketer is to understand Generation Y. Their interests, their habits and their needs. Which content gets shared, liked and commented on? 

The most important mainstream generations at a glance 
  • Baby boomers: born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X / digital immigrants: born between 1965 and 1980 
  • Generation Y / millennials / digital natives: born between 1981 and 1999 
  • Generation Z: born between 2000 and 2015 

Keep in mind: You need to think outside the box! Generation millennial spans across almost 20 years and that means: All Ys aren’t created equal – if only for the mere fact that technology constantly advances. Since opinions about what’s hot or not differ, they do so within Generation Y as well.  
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Stereotype number 3

Snack content = content hero

Better, faster, more wide-reaching: Hardly ever has a trend been hyped as much as is the case with snack content. Short and crisp media content served to whet your appetite for more. Just like finger food at a buffet. Good snack content is bold, fresh and funny. Generation Y and Z, especially, are thrilled by snack content. 

No wonder: As a complement to text, snack content attracts attention. It incites users to engage with the company, a product or a brand. What could be better? 
Zwei Social Media Marketerinnen von punkt & komma bei einer Abstimmung. | © punkt & komma
As you can see, there’s always a bit of truth to every stereotype. The same goes for the ones in this article. For this insight alone, our early spring-cleaning was well worth it. We’re already looking forward to the next one. In spring. 

To make sure you know what your target audience looks like, we recommend creating personas for your content marketing measures. We’ve compiled a detailed how-to guide for creating personas – including a persona template you can download. 

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