Millennials are universally acknowledged as the savviest of tech users, but a recent study suggests marketers still have not found the path to their pocketbooks through those gadgets.

As detailed by Search Engine Journal Contributing Editor Greg Sterling in a July 15 post at, the survey by software and services company SDL revealed a generation whose members are hard to attract, but loyal once won over.

Survey data also showed a generation that has decidedly embraced social media as the means to discover content.

The SDL survey of 1,800 Millennials (men and women aged 18-26) from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, was conducted from January through April.

According to Sterling, the numbers tell of a “mobile-centric” generation that uses multiple tech devices to access the Internet each day. Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they got online with two devices a day: a smartphone and laptop computer; 38 percent said they used three devices, utilizing a PC with the other two devices; and 30 percent used the latter three and a tablet daily.

Smartphones are a favorite. Sterling reported that 19 of every 20 respondents said they had a smartphone, and Millennials from the U.S. said they checked heir phones 45 times a day on average (compared to 43 times daily globally).

Sterling noted that the survey results also suggested that which tool millennials used to access content was not as important to marketers as how they used the devices to find content.

Social media was by far the number one means of content discovery. Search engine use ranked high, but Facebook and Twitter outranked browsers as the means of finding online content.

“Accordingly the advice is to build relationships and trust with Millennials first on social media,” Sterling wrote.

As for reaching the Millennials with marketing campaigns, it is apparently easier to keep a customer than to win a new one. The survey suggested that the generation is open to messages from trusted brands — companies from whom they had previously purchased goods or services — and more likely to ignore messages of brands they don’t know. Of the respondents, 53 percent said they were more likely to give their personal information to companies they had done business with before, while 46 percent reported that it was troublesome to receive random offers through social media for goods they had researched online.

But more than any other buying characteristics, Millennials said they wanted a seamless shopping experience with a company regardless of how it was had, and they wanted around-the-clock access to the purchase. Some 58 percent said they expected to be able to choose when they engaged with a company, and through which channel; in other words, 24/7 access via any device or network. And 60 percent said they expected the buying experience with a company to be the same whether online, by phone or in a brick-and-mortar store.

The upshot of the survey, wrote Sterling, is the mindset of a tech-loving generation that “wants relevant advertising … and will simply ignore marketing messages that don’t speak to them directly — literally and figuratively.”

Sterling, Greg. “Survey: Best Way to Reach Millenials is on Social Media“; July 15, 2014.

Understanding Global Millenials. Slideshare Presentation. June 4, 2014.