NEW YORK: Content that is personalised, funny, intelligent and helpful has a strong influence on the brand loyalty and purchase behaviour of US millennials, but a new study says that most aren't receiving that sort of material.

NewsCred, the content marketing platform, polled 501 US millennials for its report The Millennial Mind: How Content Drives Brand Loyalty. This found that six in ten (62%) felt that online content drove their loyalty to a brand, but only one third (32%) thought today's brand communications were helpful.

Noting that this age group is exposed to more than 5,000 marketing messages daily, NewsCred said "they have learned how to completely ignore the things that don't deliver value into their lives".

Some 30% of those polled simply refused to read content that didn't entertain or educate, while 64% reacted positively to content that was useful.

In fact, the survey found that 31% were likely to buy if a brand delivered interesting content that taught them something.

Similarly, 60% would only share content they regarded as thought provoking and intelligent.

While they are demanding they are not opposed: only 12% of respondents declared their active dislike for marketing communications.

"Millennials today value quality over quantity when it comes to content marketing," said Shafqat Islam, CEO and Co-founder, NewsCred. "[They] don't want to have to work to find the value in a sea of sales messages."

The right content could certainly earn their trust, loyalty and share of wallet, he added, "but they need to invest in being a helpful partner that respects the characteristics, interests, and qualities that make each millennial unique".

So, content needs to be tailored to the recipient's age (54% respond positively to this), location (55%) and, most of all, their cultural interests (63%).

Social endorsements, once considered a leading driver in brand awareness and customer acquisition, were shown to have a smaller impact than expected. Only 26% of respondents said they prefer brands their friends use, while 30% shared that they like branded content their friends share and that it helps them discover new content.

Data sourced from NewsCred; additional content by Warc staff