Millennials Said to be Highly Trusting of User-Generated Content

CrowdtapIpsos-Millennials-Trust-in-Media-Types-Mar2014Another day, another study of Millennials. Or so it seems. And this one, produced by Crowdtap and Ipsos [download page], shows that in general, Millennials are more likely to trust user-generated content (UGC) than other types of media, also tending to find UGC more memorable. The results echo similar findings from other research (see here and here for examples) which has shown this lean towards UGC to be more prevalent among younger than older generations.

Specifically, when it comes to trustworthiness, Millennials (defined in this study as being born between 1977 and 1995) are most apt to trust product/brand conversations with friends and family (74%) followed by peer reviews (68%). From the “other media” list, professional and industry reviews make an appearance, with 64% of Millennials trusting this information. This is just the latest study to show that consumer reviews tend to be as trusted – if not more trusted – than expert reviews.

About half of Millennials trust information they find over social networks (50%) and on blogs and bulletin boards (48%), rivaled by the proportion that trust product information from a company website (49%). Traditional media fall a little further down the list: fewer trust information they find in print magazines or newspapers (44%), radio (37%) and on TV (34%). Banner ads (19%) are the least trusted (and the most ignored).

Overall, 53% of Millennials surveyed said that user-generated content has an influence on their purchase decisions, compared to 44% for traditional media does and 23% for banner ads.

But… that’s not all! The study identifies the following “BREAKING NEWS” item: Millennials spend more daily time engaged with user-generated content than with TV! This part of the study feels a bit forced: the total daily time spent with various media totals 17.8 hours, but while these hours are not mutually exclusive (yes, Millennials sleep), there’s no mention of how they’re consumed in tandem and how engaged respondents are with each. But there it is, Millennials spend more time with this very broad view of UGC – social networking (18%), using email and other online messaging sources (6%) and talking with others about news/products/brands (6%) – than they do watching live (13%) or pre-recorded (10%) TV. (See here for the latest on TV viewing trends among youth.) Want to spin the breaking news another way? Millennials spend more time watching TV than they do social networking! Or, they spend more time playing computer or video games than using email and other messaging apps!

Nevertheless, the point of the study is generally that Millennials use and trust user-generated content – and likely do so at a greater rate than their elder counterparts (although no comparison surveys were conducted). The study’s recommendations are for marketers to:

  • “Create conversations over content;”
  • “Source influence from people that love the brand;”
  • “Think long-term, not short;” and
  • “Invest in your influencer relationships and reward them thoughtfully.”

About the Data: Crowdtap partnered with Ipsos MediaCT in January 2014 to survey 839 millennial men and women online.