Millennials--born between 1982 and 2004--spend more than $65 billion each year and influence upward of $1 trillion in total consumer spending. It's no wonder that brands are practically stalking them. Unfortunately, it seems that they are immune to standard marketing tactics. In fact, some think marketing to them is a lost cause. However, there is a guaranteed way to connect with this attractive and elusive generation: content.

The growth of digital content, both text and video, has transformed the way people engage with information and yes, the content, marketing, and advertising ecosystem has grown incredibly complex. But the good news is that digital content offers a way for companies to forge strong bonds with consumers, according to new research from Nielsen Digital Content Ratings. (For those unfamiliar with them, Nielsen is a global information and measurement company that provides market research, insights and data about what people watch, listen to and buy.)

Recently, Nielson worked with worked with several major digital publishers to learn more about the audiences that engage with their content day-to-day, to help them to put the pieces of the consumer picture together from across digital content types, social platforms, and devices. The results are not only useful to these media brands. They offer insights that are applicable to any brand that is leveraging content to engage millennials.

Here's a snapshot of what Nielsen found for each publisher and how content marketers can put these insights to work:


BuzzFeed is a leading tech-powered media company, with a cross-platform news and entertainment network. Millennials are particularly drawn to BuzzFeed's posts and video content. They watch an average of 38 BuzzFeed videos each month, showcasing loyalty to the site's beloved content, including popular franchises such as Tasty, a massive social food network that provides users with recipes and cooking tutorials. The company's successful content strategy is evident in their audience engagement figures, with BuzzFeed reaching 83% percent of all Millennials per month.

Show off: Not only does Buzzfeed know how to tell a story that will resonate with this audience, it was early to grasp the appeal of visual, particularly on mobile. Tasty tears a page straight out of Pinterest, leading with large attractive images and clear catchy captions. If your brand lends itself to the visual, do not miss out on any opportunity to paint a picture if you want to engage Millennials. 

Group Nine Media

Group Nine, one of the largest digital media companies and parent of NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and Thrillist, formed less than a year ago and is already a powerful player in the world of social video. Group Nine attracts audiences from devoted animal lovers to lifestyle enthusiasts to avid news and information junkies. Group Nine has a highly engaged audience, boasting almost 1 billion minutes of content consumed across its four brands. Group Nine's content performs incredibly well among young adults--reaching 81% of Americans in their 20s.

Positively impactful: Group Nine brands NowThis and The Dodo understand that the Millennial generation cares deeply about the environment, sustainability, corporate responsibility, and more. These brands tap into their passions to connect emotionally while Seeker and Thrillist understand Millennials enthusiasms and interests. Do good and let the world know through engaging stories. Expose your positive impact on the planet. Tell the tale that will take them someplace new and wonderful. Be uplifting and fun. Content that connects with what this generation cares about will carry you far.


Bringing modern and diverse perspectives to how news is reported, Mic provides its audience with a fresh approach to journalism and storytelling. The news network attracts over 40 million unique viewers each month. Mic's stories demonstrate an ability to connect with and compel younger news followers and engagers, reaching over a quarter of people ages 21-34 in the U.S. Showcasing dynamic content, Mic's videos have an audience that is 56% female and 42% male.

Keep it real: Mic is a media brand that isn't afraid to go there. Via its lively reporting and bold delivery, this brand tells it like it is. Millennials are all about transparency and straight talk. If you want to truly connect with them, you need to lean in as more of a trusted ally than objective expert. Share your knowledge but it should feel more like lively dinner party debate than pedantic professor. 


A leading digital media and entertainment company focused on women, Refinery29 provides its engaged audience with stories across categories, including fashion, beauty, entertainment and money. The company's video and text content reach 62% of women between 18 and 34 and sees even further connection within more narrow, younger groups, reaching over 88% of women between 21 and 24.

Broad interests: Sure, you may want to specifically target female Millennials. But the worst mistake you can make is to box them into one adorable demo that shares the same passions and goals. Yes, we make generational generalizations, but Millennial women are characterized by their wide-ranging interests and Refinery29 treats them like well0rounded human beings. If you want to genuinely engage them, you will too.


VIX, a leading multicultural digital media brand, attracts a largely Millennial audience with a blend of lifestyle tips, social video, entertainment, food and life hacks. With women making up 62% of VIX's audience, the site's highest engagement comes from Millennial females, a coveted demographic among consumer brands. Through its content, VIX reaches over 40% of adult women between 18 and 49 in the U.S., attracting viewers to the brand's English and Spanish language content.

Meet the multicultural millennials: Nielsen previously identified what it calls the multicultural Millennials, which blend a variety of cultures into a new mainstream. They deemed this particularly significant given their growing influence and affluence. VIX hits the sweet spot here, recognizing the varied cultural interests and influences on this generation. If your team, your brand, or your products reflects this emerging Millennial mindset and market, you want to tell that tale in your content. This is a largely untapped approach that will capture a very attractive audience.

There's more to understanding digital engagement than clicks or even repeat visits. These content companies not only understand their Millennial audiences, but have forged deep relationships with them that brings them back week after week. But content strategies like these don't have to be for media pros only. Content marketers can tap into their strategies and follow in their successful footsteps to truly engage the elusive Millennial.