New research shines a light on Millennial advocates

If you like to keep tabs on what’s happening in the world of marketing, you’ve probably noticed how impossible it’s become to scroll through your Twitter feed or your inbox without seeing some new tidbit about Millennials*. And with good reason: as a group, they’ve got a lot of spending power, with different needs and desires and technologies than their predecessors.

But perhaps “as a group” isn’t the best way to consider Millennials, who are certainly not all created equal. It seems that marketers might be interested in honing in on those who exert the most influence over their peers’ purchasing decisions — the Millennial advocates who like to gush about their favorite brands to anyone who will listen. Who are these advocates, what are they doing, and how can brands harness their passion?

To answer these questions, we recently conducted a study with thousands of advocates from the House Party community and, as a control, a matched panel from the general population. Here’s what we found:

 

They’re everywhere. 

Millennial advocates, relative to their non-advocate peers, are more active on every social media site we looked at. They’re 31% more likely to use Instagram and Pinterest and a whopping 67% more likely to use Twitter. And they don’t just use these channels—they use them a lot. 33% of Millennial advocates spend at least 3 hours per day on Facebook, for instance, which is 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-advocates.

But it’s not all about social media: Millennial advocates recommend products online and offline. They’re 56% more likely to recommend online than their peers and 25% more likely to recommend in person.

 

They’re engaging with many brands.

Millennial advocates like/follow an average of 19 brands in social media, more than twice as many as the 8 that non-advocates engage with. For certain product categories, the differences are even more dramatic. Relative to average Millennials, a Millennial advocate is:

  • 6 times as likely to like/follow carbonated beverage brands
  • 5 times as likely to like/follow pharmaceutical brands
  • 5 times as likely to like/follow dairy brands

 

They’re writing reviews.

Millennial advocates aren’t just talking about their favorite products — they’re taking the time to write reviews, too. Compared to non-advocate Millennials, they’re:

  • 9 times as likely to post a review to Twitter
  • 3 times as likely to post a review to a brand’s website
  • 2-3 times as likely to post a review to a retailer website like Amazon, Walmart or Target

 

They’re good at talking AND listening.

Millennial advocates are 4 times as likely to share brand recommendations. But they’re also twice as likely to receive recommendations, indicating that they’re active in their pursuit of new product information.

 

They want to talk,

but they want to try first.

When asked what factors drive them to recommend, Millennial advocates most often selected “I’ve tried the product” and “It’s a brand I love.” (In last place among the 10 factors we studied was “A brand’s advertising.”) As we’ve long believed here at House Party, getting your product into the hands of the right consumers and establishing real, lasting relationships with them is your best strategy for driving powerful word of mouth.

Want to learn more? Download the study's key takeaways today. And for more information on how to engage your brand’s fans, check out our recent series on influencers vs. advocates.

*Millennials = age 18-32