Choose Your Words Wisely - Creating Content for the Youth and Millennial Market - Insight Generation
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Choose Your Words Wisely – Creating Content for the Youth and Millennial Market

Choose Your Words Wisely – Creating Content for the Youth and Millennial Market

Most of the marketing world is aware of the importance of voice and tone to engaging with an audience. However, a surprising number don’t realise the power that individual words can have over an audience: for better or worse.

Spotting winning words

Last year Alchemy Worx analysed data from 21 billion marketing emails from around 2,500 brands to find out which words had the biggest influence on opening rates. The study involved working out average open rates with and without certain keywords, and the results are surprising. The top words are:

  1.     Upgrade (+65.7%)
  2.     Just (+64.8%)
  3.     Content (+59.1%)
  4.     Go (+55.8%)
  5.     Wonderful (+55.1%)

And the five most negative words are:

  1.     Miss (-4.6%)
  2.     Deals! (-4.4%)
  3.     Groovy (-4.3%)
  4.     Conditions (-4%)
  5.     Friday! (-4%)

While there are certainly mitigating factors involved, such as the sender, time sent, and subject line context, this study is a handy reminder of how important it is to get your wording right: and analytics is the starting point to finding your own ‘open sesame’.

Paying attention

While the stats of this study are an interesting insight into analytics, an earlier Edinburgh University study illustrates the importance of individual attention. In other words: making sure everyone in your business is ‘on-message’.

In their study, a sample of individuals submitted personality questionnaires before opening up their emails for textual analysis. The psychologists soon found lots of trends, including that neurotics were much more likely to us repeated exclamation marks or use “…” in their messages. Adverb and comma use was also found to be erratic among neurotics.

Which goes to show how quickly, and subconsciously, you be judged on slips in your style. And how important it is to identify and stick to your brand’s tone, voice and style.

Using ‘power words’

Marketing studies that focus on language are often whittled down to reveal so-called ‘power words’, words which have an instant, positive impact on your audience. We’d rather go the other way, and take the power words to illustrate potent ideas that can change the way you engage your audience.


US study using fMRI brain scans of subjects found that our brain functions uniquely when we are addressed directly or hear our own name: a useful reminder to address your reader directly and personally as often as possible.


Yet more of those MRI studies have found that our brain responds rapidly and positively when envisaging instant gratification. Promising something never has as much impact as promising it NOW. Although marketers must beware those creeping negatives that come in when suggesting people might ‘miss out’ if they’re not quick.


Similarly, we behave irrationally around freebies. In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely found consumers would rather buy Lindt truffles for 15¢ than Hershey Kisses for 1¢, but that they’d rather have the Kisses if they were free and the truffles were 14¢. The maths makes no sense, but it shows the power of the freebie.

As always, context is key. Are you in a business where you can constantly satisfy instant demands? Are you targeting a large volume of freebie-hunting customers or would you rather build that loyal base?

Knowing which words can make a difference is vital, but without the strategy behind them, they aren’t necessarily as powerful as some marketers would have you believe. Be sure to have a look at the 5 checkboxes we look at when creating our own content here.

Are you interested to in not only how to target the youth, student and millennial market but also wat to say when you communicate? Get in touch and find out how we can help.