Mobile Matters

Millenials Mobile Marketing Campaigns

What Do Millennials Want From Mobile Marketing Campaigns?

by: | September 4, 2012

How much of your life is spent consuming media content? If you’re anything like the typical American, you spend an average of nine hours per day basking in the pervasive glow of smartphones, televisions, and other device screens, according to a new study conducted by OnDevice Research on behalf of mobile ad network InMobi. (By comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Americans average 7.6 hours of sleep per day and dedicate 2.6 hours to sports and leisure activities.)

Smartphones and tablets lead the way: U.S. consumers average 2.4 hours per day on activities like mobile search, Web browsing, and social networking, ahead of TV viewing (2.35 hours) and the desktop (1.6 hours). Sixty-five percent of respondents told OnDevice Research they favor mobile over other media channels because “it’s easy to use,” and 56 percent prefer mobile because their device is always within reach. And they do mean “always”—77 percent of respondents access mobile media services while lying in bed, 70 percent multitask on phones and tablets while watching TV, and 65 percent are simply killing time while waiting for someone or something.

If the findings of the OnDevice/InMobi report don’t correspond to how you live your life, chances are you’re somewhere north of age 25: Millennials spend so much time on their mobiles that they’re throwing the national average out of whack. Ninety percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 spend anywhere between one and five hours each day on their mobile device, and 10 percent spend anywhere from five to ten hours per day, according to mobile marketing firm mBlox. Those are astounding numbers, and it goes without saying that if your small business targets a younger clientele, mobile outreach is a virtual necessity.

But rolling out successful campaigns geared to Millennials is far easier said than done: The mBlox data reveals some frustrating inconsistencies and contradictions that underline the challenges facing all marketers leveraging the mobile opportunity.

Case in point: mBlox reports that just one in 10 respondents between 18 and 24 would like brands to send them promotions via mobile—a dispiritingly low percentage. But at the same time, one in three have made purchases or have considered buying items through their smartphone, and 21 percent prefer shopping on mobile devices to visiting retailers or purchasing products via PC, indicating healthy interest in the possibilities of mobile commerce. No less confusing, 67 percent of young people don’t want brands to know their whereabouts, but half believe that mobile offers should promote deals and services close to their current location. Needless to say, marketers can’t geo-target consumers without having some basic location data at their disposal, and it’s unclear how Millennials expect to have one without the other.

Even so, it’s easy to draw conclusions from Millennials’ fuzzy logic: They don’t want spam, unsolicited phone calls, and other invasions into their mobile space, but they do want offers that benefit their daily lives. Fifty-five percent of respondents told mBlox they feel it’s important that mobile promotions should originate from brands they’ve used before, 61 percent only want offers that are relevant to them, and another 61 percent say it’s extremely important to be able to opt in or out of all mobile campaigns.

Mobile marketing efforts should always allow consumers the choice to opt in and out, of course, so as long as small businesses embrace that rule of thumb, they’re off to a flying start—beyond that, it’s imperative to know your Millennial customers, understand what they like and what they don’t, and formulate mobile promotions that matter. No one said it was going to be easy, but if your business isn’t interacting with Millennials on mobile, chances are you’re not reaching them at all.

Posted in: E-Commerce, Geolocation, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, SMS

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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