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Cutting-Edge Content from Digital Publishers Keeps Millennials Coming Back for More

3 minute read | January 2018

The growth of digital content, both text and video, has transformed the way people engage with media—whether that’s getting breaking news, watching game highlights, checking out the latest fashion trends or figuring out what’s for dinner. Digital publishing is also a way for companies forge stronger bonds with consumers. In fact, Nielsen Digital Content Ratings show that more than half of the viewers that visit their favorite sites each month visit them on a weekly basis.

The key challenge for digital content creators and publishers has long been how to truly showcase this audience engagement to advertisers and agencies. Digital Content Ratings’ measurement across digital content types and devices gives publishers insight into audiences engaging with everything from full-length videos to clips every day. This insight is exactly the type of information that publishers have long needed to validate consumer engagement with their content, especially as they pursue distribution strategies that are increasingly focused beyond their owned and operated properties to include major digital platforms like Facebook. But there’s more to understanding digital engagement than just repeat visits.

To dig deeper into the digital pie, Nielsen worked with several major digital publishers to learn more about the audiences that engage with their content day-to-day, helping them to put the pieces of the consumer picture together for the first time using measurement metrics that are comparable to those used to measure TV audiences. The sections below provide a snapshot of what we found for each publisher.


BuzzFeed is a leading tech-powered media company, with a cross-platform news and entertainment network. Millennials—defined as persons between 18 and 34, a coveted audience for both TV and advertisers alike—are particularly drawn to BuzzFeed’s posts and video content. Millennials watch an average of 38 BuzzFeed videos each month, showcasing loyalty to the site’s beloved content, including popular franchises such as Tasty, a massive social food network that provides users with recipes and cooking tutorials. The company’s successful content strategy is evident in their audience engagement figures, with BuzzFeed reaching 83% percent of all Millennials per month.

Group Nine Media

Group Nine, one of the largest digital media companies and parent of NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and Thrillist, formed less than a year ago and is already a powerful player in the world of social video. Group Nine attracts audiences from devoted animal lovers to lifestyle enthusiasts to avid news and information junkies. Group Nine has a highly engaged audience, boasting almost 1 billion minutes of content consumed across its four brands. Group Nine’s content performs incredibly well among young adults—reaching 81% of Americans in their 20s. The company’s network of channels is a powerful means to connect young consumers with advertising partners.


Bringing modern and diverse perspectives to how news is reported, Mic provides its audience with a fresh approach to journalism and storytelling. The news network attracts over 40 million unique viewers each month. Mic’s stories demonstrate an ability to connect with and compel younger news followers and engagers, reaching over a quarter of people ages 21-34 in the U.S. Showcasing dynamic content, Mic’s videos have an audience that is 56% female and 42% male.


A leading digital media and entertainment company focused on women, Refinery29 provides its engaged audience with stories across categories, including fashion, beauty, entertainment and money. The company’s video and text content reach 62% of women between 18 and 34 and sees even further connection within more narrow, younger groups, reaching over 88% of women between 21 and 24—making the brand a prime destination for advertisers seeking to connect with this demographic both online and offline.


VIX, a leading multicultural digital media brand, attracts a largely Millennial audience with a blend of lifestyle tips, social video, entertainment, food and life hacks. With women making up 62% of VIX’s audience, the site’s highest engagement comes from Millennial females, a coveted demographic among consumer brands. Through its content, VIX reaches over 40% of adult women between 18 and 49 in the U.S., attracting viewers to the brand’s English and Spanish language content.


Nielsen Digital Content Ratings Monthly – Tagged Data, P13+, U.S., October 2017.

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