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How Younger Adults React to Brands on Social Networks

Do millennials really interact most with brands on social sites?

Older social media users have grown more likely to follow brands on social media sites as they’ve gained more experience interacting on them, but younger adults still outnumber them in this activity. Millennials’ enthusiasm for making friends with brands, though, may not be too far above average.

The “American Millennials” survey, conducted by Barkley in advance of September’s Share.Like.Buy conference, found that over half of millennials, defined here as consumers ages 16 to 34, liked checking out brands on social media sites. That compared with just over a third of older adults.

The survey, fielded in partnership with the Service Management Group and sponsored by Boston Consulting Group, also found that a third of millennials like brands more if they use social media. That was nearly double the percentage of older adults who said the same. Still, over 30% of millennials thought it was annoying for brands to be on sites like Facebook and Twitter—making this group less tolerant of social media marketing than those 35 to 74.

The Barkley survey did find that millennials were more likely than older adults to “like” a brand on Facebook, and did so more often. And interaction rates were somewhat higher as well.

Nearly one in four millennials (23.5%) interacted with content from a brand’s Facebook page at least once a daily, vs. 17% of older adults who did the same. Millennials were also 4.4 percentage points more likely to interact with brand content between one and six times per week. While similar shares of both age groups interacted at lower frequencies, overall older adults were nearly twice as likely never to engage with brand content on Facebook.

Brands have the opportunity not only to attract younger adults as fans of their brand, but also to interact with them frequently once they do. The fact that many millennials sign on to Facebook almost every day, and a substantial percentage are willing to engage with brands that often, means that a stream of updated and valuable content has the potential to attract their attention over and over—as long as it doesn’t annoy them.

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Check out today’s other article, “Online Gaming Audience Defies Stereotypes.”

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