They engage in media like no one else and they’re ‘grown up’ and have money to spend. It’s a demographic ripe for targeting, but why is it so hard to connect with them?

Published March 23rd, 2017

It’s hard enough to hold one person’s attention, let alone an entire generation’s. Millennials have grown alongside advancements in technology and media platforms, they engage in media like no one else and they’re “grown up” and have money to spend, placing them in intriguing territory with regard to media habits. When it comes to television, their eyes are glued to the screen. With commercials, they’re still tuned in—but their eyes are on their cell phones.

Nielsen’s Millennials on Millennials report offers critical insight into the evolving media habits of this highly digital demographic, and it was produced by a team of Nielsen Millennial associates keen to help clients engage and reach a generation that every modern marketer is seeking a connection with.

As marketers and advertisers look for the best opportunities to reach this demographic, they need precise insight into the evolving viewing and consumption habits of Millennials, which are closely watched and coveted.
A new report from Nielsen, the Millennials on Millennials report, reveals three things you might not have known about Millennials.

TV still constitutes the majority of video consumption, but every other screen is much more valuable to Millennials. TV-connected devices compose four times the percentage of Millennials’ total video minutes than adults 35 and older: TV-connected devices account for 23% of Millennials’ total time with video, compared with just 6% for consumers 35 and older. And as a result, Millennials spend about 27% less time watching traditional TV (89% among 35+ vs. 66% among Millennials).

The report looked at a handful of popular, primetime programs to understand the dynamics of multi-tasking and attention among Millennials compared with other generations. During premiere episodes of various primetime programs in the fall of 2015, Millennials were least likely to change the channel during commercial breaks.

Less than 2% of 18-34-year-olds changed the channel during commercials, compared with 5.5% of 35-54-year-olds and more than 8% of viewers 55 and older. Given their engagement with other devices, however, Millennials had the lowest program engagement and lowest ad memorability scores during the studied shows.

Knowing that audiences, including Millennials, may opt to skip advertising if given the choice, content providers often disable ad-skipping features in their VOD content. In terms of openness to advertising, however, Millennials are quite open to viewing ads as long as the content they are viewing is free on their mobile devices. As a result, marketers and advertisers have a notable opportunity to present their value propositions to young viewers who are tapping into the realm of content available via their connected devices.

Among Millennials, social media stars are becoming synonymous with the word “celebrity.” In a write-in section of the Nielsen report, numerous respondents named several social media stars multiple times when asked: “Please list your current top five favorite celebrities.” When tested against mainstream stars, social media stars hold their own in terms of celebrity status. For example, according to Nielsen’s N-Score, a measure of a celebrity’s marketability, male Millennials have a higher opinion of trending social media stars than they do for sports stars, pop stars, actors and actresses

Source: Nielsen,


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