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What Gen Y Loves (and Hates) About Digital Media

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Gen Y, those 18- to 34-year-old consumers also known as echo boomers, came of age with the Internet. From socializing to shopping, they do it all online, a new report shows. If you want to win their business, you need to be there too.

These so-called millennials represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. population and are evenly divided male and female. They are also the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in the nation's history; less than 6 in 10 are white, according to "Demographic Profile—Millennials," a new report by eMarketer analyst Jared Jenks.

What partially unites the millennials is their love of screens. By almost any digital metric, millennials are ahead of the curve in terms on online video, mobile Internet, mobile commerce and location-based services.

"Millenials represent a critical target for marketers, and the best place to reach them is where they are – online," said Jenks.

They make up the bulk of Internet users (91 percent), social networker users (86 percent) and online video viewers (84 percent), and account for more than half (62 percent) of mobile phone use.

Their presence across such a large swath of digital media offers marketers a wide range of opportunities to hone in on them, but millennials are typically advertising-averse and prefer to seek out more sincere forms of connecting.

"What appeals to them is authenticity," said Jenks. "They are not opposed to connecting with brands, but do so only when there is exchange of value and, of course, when it is on their terms.

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