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Most Millennials Go Online for News, Info

millennialsIt’s a mystery discussed at many a cocktail party, marketing team planning desk and among moms at Starbucks.   Fascinating to us because they are our first digital generation, we ponder:  Where are Millennials online?  Turns out, they are exactly the same places as the rest of us: Their email inbox, streaming media sites and online news organizations.

About 82% of millennials – adults aged 18-34 –  get their news and information online, according to a new report from The Media Insight project, a joint research effort by the America Press Institute and the AP-NORC for Public Affairs Research.

Although many have claimed that younger people don’t use email or pay attention to news sources, the most popular online activity (72%) is checking and sending email and 64% of millennials say they go online to “keep up with what’s going on in the world” — ranked as the fourth most popular digital activity.   The two in between are keeping up with what friends are doing (71%), and watching streaming music/TV/movies (68%).

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This study is good news for marketers – and perhaps in particular email marketers.  This report finds that this newest generation of American adults is anything but “newsless,” passive, or civically uninterested, as has been often warned from various pundits.  In fact, this study found that young adults are actively consuming information and news about their world, and interacting online through many of the the same channels as older professionals.

Just like every audience segment with a distinct personality, marketers have an opportunity to treat younger adults differently, and engage them with content formats that appeal to them.  Email marketers likely rejoice at these findings, as it’s been a long held myth that young people don’t use email and the channel will lose its effectiveness as the population ages.  Instead, these findings suggest that younger adults use email the same way most people do:  As a way to connect with brands, read news summaries and receive alerts from services we use.

Since the adults surveyed indicate their willingness to engage actively in news and marketing messaging, the smart marketer will be just as active.   Moving your business to the #TopRight requires understanding customers not just in the aggregate as this study shows, but also in particular, as your own data reveals.


The survey reached 1,046 adults nationwide between the ages of 18 and 34. The qualitative component included ten semi-structured group interviews with a total of 23 Millennials.

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