Listening to Our Veterans

As Memorial Day approaches, we turned our attention to U.S. military veterans and veteran marketing – listening and analyzing what they are saying across social media to better understand their outlook as they express it.

There are more than 20 million veterans of the U.S. military and their household spending potential tops $1 trillion, presenting the segment as an important opportunity audience® for some brands. And while an audience of this size is anything but uniform, striking themes emerged from our study. Our analysis found that when compared to the general population, veterans are more vocal about political issues (especially healthcare), have strong convictions affecting their preference for certain brands, and continue to be highly stressed about their health, careers and education.

Here’s a deep dive into what self-identified former members of the military are expressing on social media.

Vets are Vocal about Political Issues

Veterans are vocal about the country they defended. They’re much more likely than a general audience to discuss politics, finance and the government.

Healthcare law is easily the most discussed issue among veterans. They’re 18.3 times more likely than non-veterans to discuss healthcare laws such as Obamacare, which elicits emotions like shame, stress and fear.

political topics

A topic that “overindexes” appears more frequently in veterans’ conversation than non-veterans’.


Jobs and Career

It’s no surprise, veterans have school and jobs on their minds – but social data indicates they are more stressed about it than other job-seekers and students.  Veterans are not only twice as likely to have conversations about higher ed and career planning, they’re also about twice as likely to exhibit stress related to the topics.  However, they’re also nearly 1.5 times more likely to exhibit pride related to their education.

sample higher ed


Despite Walmart’s well-advertised commitment to hiring veterans, brands like Costco have captured a larger share of the veterans audience’s conversations. Veterans are also more likely to discuss casual dining chains than the general consumer (discussed 1.2 times as often). Of casual dining chains, veterans favor specific brands ranging from Buffalo Wild Wings to the Cracker Barrel. retail dining  Takeaways for Brands Brands can effectively reach and connect with veterans by understanding their unique passions, preferences and post-service experience:

  • Understand veterans and represent them accurately in your marketing content.
  • The challenges veterans face are constantly changing. Turn to social data to remain in-tune.
  • Pinpoint conversations that veterans are vocal about before they affect your brand.

 For more on the veterans audience and how brands can effectively reach them, download the full report below.