Study: Millennials don’t want brands to stalk them

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Credits: Gerd Altmann  /

Credits: Gerd Altmann /

The vision of social networks was to create a better exchange between people – whether near or far. But where is consumers, there’s also brands trying to reach out with advertising to them on any available platform. A recent study now shows that Millennials are not really happy with the social advertising activities.

According to the study of Harris Poll (conducted on behalf of Lithium Technologies), that addressed more than 2,300 consumers of all generations, more than half of all digital natives (56%) report to cut back or stop the use of social media platforms entirely.

Even more, 75% of the responding Millenials stated that they feel stalked by brands on social platforms. The reason: The eager way brands do target them in their news feed with the ambition to build trust and loyalty with their customers or consumers via social media platforms in the U.S.

So, what does this mean for brands? Do brands have to live according to a transformed version of the former cold call prevention: „Don’t stalk us, we follow you!“? The study suggests that direct targeting on social platforms via advertising might result in losing customers. It would be more effective to engage and to be present on the channels they use frequently. And also if brands might be tempted to leverage the huge purchasing power coming from the modern generations (Millennials and Gen Z make up 50% of the population), brands need to be careful not to waste the potential of social media and really meet their personal expectations. How challenging this might be in the end…

„The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don’t do this risk their very existence.“ Rob Tarkoff, President&CEO, Lithium Technologies.

But how can brands build trust, the study also asked? A question that is also raised in a bi-annual study from Nielsen and might be evaluated in comparison with those results. Obviously, online is their general source of information but their trust in online exceeds that of former generations by far.

Lithium Online Trust 2016

While in the Nielsen study, personal „recommendations from people I know“ are leading, Lithium sees „online sites with product reviews“ as the highest form of online trust creation. That websites are definitely not „dead“ can be seen that both studies see websites kind of in the second place. And, whereas Lithium sees „communities of like-minded people“ in the third place (just think about what their main product was…), Nielsen sees editorial content still a very important source.

In terms of service, the Lithium study shows that Millennials contact brands online (79%) and expect a response back within the same day – almost 10% more than Baby Boomers. So, if brands do not actively monitor and engage with the younger generations online, their brand loyalty might go down soon. The best way to interact with Millennials is described in a quote the study also delivers…

„I go on social media to see and know what my friends are doing. I don’t want to see ads clutter my news feed. If I’m interested in a product or service, I know where to look. Social media is a place for us to connect with our friends, not be attacked by advertisements.“ Mallory Benham, Graduate Student (23)

So, what are your learning on targeting Millennials and Gen Z via ads on social media?

How Millenials and Baby Boomers can meet half way… or never.

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There are many rumors how the Baby Boomers might deal with Millenials (GenY) in the workplace. We have shared some serious advice based on different studies on how Baby Boomers have to see and understand them, what drives the millenial teenager, how they see the future workplace, and why they might cause a headache for IT decision-makers with their BYOD trend. And you might read a recent report from Georgia Institute of Technology and the International Telecommunication Union which illustrates that there a digital native not always is what he or she seems to be, although they love their smartphones and the digital chat.

Still, many managers ask us what they could do to make their workplace interesting for this mobile and networking generation. It is time that someone gives us some more clear and fresh advice, on how to deal with the Millenials in the workplace today. This training video might be of help for those that have not yet met the expectations of those young geeks.

However, reflections often turn rumors into reality. So, what are Baby Boomers doing when the GenY strikes back and gives some response with a „Guide to Baby Boomers“?

The easiest way to bridge the gap between these two generations is to bring them together at one table and let both sides give their real pitch on how they can meet half way. Just do it, and when you need advice on how to moderate it, just get in touch with us. We have done moderations between these parties in different projects.

PS: Don’t take these videos too serious. You might fail…!

Gen Y: How do we have to see and understand them?

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Credits: Gerd Altmann  /

Credits: Gerd Altmann /

There is a lot of misconception in the world concerning Gen Y. Some are trying hard to get it straight and correct the picture of a narcissistic and selfish data generation. My wish is to start demystify the tone that media spreads about this generation, a generation which has its strength and weaknesses (like all of us), but which will turn around the world we live in.

In the past years, I have written a lot about their attitude towards private ethics, business and working attitude, a hyperconnected generation as well as their future workplace, and how to make brand advocates out of them. All with the aim to get a better feeling and understanding of those Gen Y souls.

Gen Y Tweet Forrester

When I held my presentation at the PerfectStormEurope conference in Amsterdam on Gen Y, I got the feeling I need to write more about it. People had prejudices, people had a complete wrong picture, and people said this generation will not be as eager as we are. For most of the arguments I had enough information to turn them around. Still, I will share kind of best of bread from all around the social web in the near future.

This recorded webinar by HuffPost Live with some experts caught my attention and in my eyes, it will help opening eyes to a world in the future. Just bear in mind that by 2020 Millenials will make up 50% of the global workforce. So, you better get prepared for those days…

Participants were…
David Arabov Generation Y Advisor – CEO of
David Burstein Executive Director of Generation 18 – Author of „Fast Future“
Joan K. Snyder @joansnyderkuhl (New York, NY) Founder of Why Millennials Matter
Josh Allan Dykstra @joshallan (Los Angeles, CA) Culture Architect
Jean Twenge (San Diego, CA) Author of „Generation Me“ and „The Narcissism Epidemic“ – Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University

Study: „Online Privacy is Dead“, do Millennials really not care…?

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The main concern with new inventions on the web is alway privacy for most users. However, a new study finds that Millenials are less concerned about their privacy as elder people might be. The survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc. states that 70% of Millenilas (18-34) agreed with the statement, „No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behavior“, compared with 77% of users 35 and older.

„Online privacy is dead — Millennials understand that, while older users have not adapted. Millennials recognize that giving up some of their privacy online can provide benefits to them. This demonstrates a major shift in online behavior — there’s no going back.“ Jeffrey I. Cole, Director USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future.

Millenials Data Privacy
The question is whether, the discrepancy of 7% between the two figures shows some significant change in the adoption of online privacy. Getting the data from the Millenials is not much of a challenge. 51% of Millennials are open to exchange their contact details for a coupon or deal, and even more 56% would share their location for a coupon for a local business. Even in targeted adverting, 25% of Millenials evaluate trading personal information for more relevant ads.

„Millennials think differently when it comes to online privacy. It’s not that they don’t care about it — rather they perceive social media as an exchange or an economy of ideas, where sharing involves participating in smart ways. Millennials say, ‘I’ll give up some personal information if I get something in return.  For older users, sharing is a function of trust — ‘the more I trust, the more I am willing to share.’“ Elaine B. Coleman, Managing Director of Media and Emerging Technologies, Bovitz.

For me the study shows that there is some kind of change happening in terms of data privacy. The question is how concerned are people really about their data privacy? Is it just the Millenials that don’t care too much? Or are they not mature enough to understand the potential of data fraud?

The Pros and Cons of Going BYOD (Infographic)

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We have already discussed the challenges that arise for CIOs and IT managers when it comes to supporting the IT usage and habits from Millenials.

Millenials do not want to get the IT and mobile devices from the company. They want to use their own smartphones, tablets and notebook at work. They want to bring their won device (BYOD). And some weeks ago we shared a lovely video on how BYOD constitutes in the 21st century.

BYOD is not a trend. It is an opportunity for the future – and much more. And more and more businesses and educational institutions are adopting the BYOD policy. With their latest infographic OnlineCollege covers the what, why, who, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of such policies.

Bring your own device (BYOD) in the 21st Century (Video)

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It is no surprise anymore that Millenials prefer to use their own computers and mobiles at work. And they are also open to manage their service or support topics for themselves as long as they get the freedom to do so. It is their devices, so they will want them to work. Don’t we all hate to wait for IT to get the latest update of some kind of software. Shame we do not have the administration rights to do so.

Although BYOD might cause a headache to CIO’s and their IT managers, this next generation of managers might be right from a company efficiency and productivity point of view. What BYOD means in the future, the benefits it offer to businesses and how schools might be working with this trend, gets nicely explained in this little video by Marc-Andre Lalande. It explains in an 8-minute „Pedagogical Quickie“ the many advantages and limitations of this concept for education.

How the digital revolution drives the millenial teenager…

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We know that our teenagers are tech-savvy like we have not even been TV-savvy at the same stage of live. This modern generation is incredibly connected, wired and online these days. The digital world and technical devices seem to rule their daily lives. So, how far are they going with their digital communication engagement?

Some interesting studies and infographics might help us identify what drives the lives of the 18-34 year olds. The millenial teenager has…

– 319 online connections (versus 35-46 year olds with 198 online connections)
– 40% video chat with their friends
– 63% write daily text messages with friends
– 39% speak on the phone daily
– 35% interact face-to-face outside of school

The downside of all the digital consumption was found by a Kaiser Family Foundation study. It shows that heavy users (47%) were earning grades of C or below in school versus only 23% of the light users. And if the heavy users get in trouble twice as much as light users, it makes you think what all that digital overload is not making with us, and especially our young generation.

I know of friends and other people that passed my life who had bad grades and today have their own company, did fantastic start-ups, or help other people manage their business better. So, is the digital revolution really bad for this tech-savvy millenials?

An interesting infographic from combined the Kaiser and Pew results and added some findings from Common Sense Media and some other organizations. This, and some another infographic from, will help marketers and the „older“ generations understanding why technology is driving young peoples‘ lives. This is not all the latest findings but seeing it on one spot always gives some thought-provoking statement which we all should think about and discuss…