Millennial search habits

People no longer ‘go online’, they live online.

Their offline and online lives are now connected as one. They live to follow trends that change on a nearly untraceable level dependent on the type of people they are. But something that they all do the same is search and this is something marketers can use to their advantage.

Hands up, full disclosure, I’m a “millennial”. I very much fit the stereotype and would much rather Google something before asking a fellow member of the human race… If you are aged between 18-34, you’re a millennial. There’s no worming your way out of this one. Welcome to the stereotype, embrace it!

I don’t talk on behalf of all those aged between 18-34, but I spend 90% of my week with people in that age range so I have a fairly good understanding of how they use search. As well as, of course, my own digital habits. As much as we’d all like to say we are different from each other, research says otherwise.

Why am I focussing on this age group you may ask? Well, research conducted by ONS found that virtually all (99%) of 18-34 year olds were recent internet users. That’s a pretty high percentage and they are very often the target audience for many brands. And, with all the “we don’t understand millennials” talk going on out there, maybe it’s time we do.

90% of millennials go online daily. What’re we up to? Checking social media, searching for products or answers to life’s questions and watching weird videos of turkeys beatboxing. 75% of us are using a mobile to access the web. And, when looking to buy something online we’re often found to use a search engine first, brand website second.

If we can read the answer in a short snippet on the search results page rather than clicking a link and having to read through a mass of irrelevant content, we will! Captured our attention in that short amount of space? Then your website deserves a browse.

Making up a large proportion of those shopping online, we are an easy target for brands and businesses to get in front of. But what sort of things are we searching for? Well…

Gone are the days where we’d only trust the advice we get from our grandparents as they’d slip you 50p for some sweets and tell you that “doing your homework will all be worth it one day.”. Now, more and more people are adding search to their list of reliable sources.

There has been a increase in personal search over the last two years. Searches that involve personal or conversational terminology such as ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘I’. Always looking out for number one, right?

A few years ago, if I was searching for shampoo online I’d probably have entered “best shampoo” into a search engine. Nowadays, I’d be more likely to type “best shampoo for red hair”.

This small change in the personalisation of my search term helps to narrow down the results from an abundance of information available, to something direct, to the point and relevant to moi!

People are even using search with the same tone of voice they’d use with their friends; “where should I go for lunch?”, “what should I do on Saturday in Folkestone?”. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to the talkative approach we have with the search functions in Siri and Alexa? Or maybe we consider the internet to be a friend considering how much time we spend online.

 

 

In a similar way that writing “_____ near me” is a signal that people want to find something based on their location, searching with personalised terms signals that people are looking for personally relevant content.

A good marketer will understand search intent and be able to use this, and an understanding of their target audience, to take advantage of a huge opportunity. Consumers want answers, ideas and even inspiration. All things your content can cover, whether that’s an opinion blog, a set of FAQ’s, or an in depth piece on the benefits of your product or service.

A great place to be on SERPs is in the featured snippet section, otherwise known as ‘ranking zero’. Designed to draw the users attention by providing a quick glance answer to the users query, it’s a great place to get in front of the searcher. These snippets have proved successful to many, with higher click through rates than normal organic listings, bringing more traffic to your site and increasing your site’s authority.

Unsure of which search terms you should be appearing for? Keyword research is the answer. Something we can teach you during our SEO course that helps you optimise your content for search engines. Or, if you are battling to get ahead of your competitors, our paid search course shows you where to put your budget.

Millennials are using search more than anyone has ever done before. The integration of mobile devices means we’re no longer reliant on a computer and keyboard. As a result, search has become an integral human function that replaces a reliance on historical answers that previously we would have sourced from our parents. Another consequence of this integration is the use of long tail keywords. It’s no longer “trains to ashford”, it’s “when is the next train to ashford from St Pancras”.

Past generations have approached technology in a robotic way, stripping out the personalisation. Search allows us to forge our own opinions and views on the world, like no generation before us.

 

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