Modern Marketing Blog

5 Mobile Insights That Will Change How You Market to Millennials

February 10, 2016 By: Amber Tiffany

Everywhere you go, millennials are looking down at their phones. The grocery store, the bus, and don’t get me started on the movies. The question is: what are they really doing with their heads down, thumbs furiously typing and swiping?

This is a serious question for marketers who want to not only reach, but genuinely engage their millennial, mobile audience. We know this generation is unashamedly addicted to their phones, but how are they using them to engage with brands? What are their views on privacy? How do they prefer to communicate?

These are some of the questions we set out to answer in Invoca’s State of the Mobile Experience Report, which is based on survey findings from over 2,000 U.S. consumers. Below are five highlights about the mobile experience that may have you rethinking your mobile marketing strategy.

1. Millennials are mobile multitaskers

Millennials seem to check their phones no matter what they are doing or who they are with. In fact:

  • 89% said they would check their phone while out with friends
  • 83% said they would check their phone while out with family
  • 38% said they would check their phone while on a “good” date

It seems even a potential future spouse can’t completely command the attention of a millennial. Millennials are often multi-tasking when they’re scrolling through their social feeds, checking email, or even browsing websites.This shift in social norms has immense implications for marketers.

Marketers need to be aware that when targeting a mobile audience you may not have their full attention, or you may just have a few quick moments. Don’t fight a losing battle. Instead, make sure to engage millennials in simple, yet helpful ways. This means showing up in their social feeds with a highly targeted offer, or giving them the information they are looking for with the least friction as possible - forget online lead forms with seven fields. Be present in those micro-moments (as Google would say), and make it easy for them to pick up the journey where they left off - when it’s most convenient for them.

2. The top mobile activities may surprise you

With Internet access in almost everyone’s pocket, it’s probably surprising that messaging and calling are still the top two smartphone activities, beating out social media, videos, pictures, and email. It appears that millennials favor direct communication. In fact, according to our research, 67% of millennials use their phones to message more than five times a day and 37% use their phones to make a call more than five times a day. And 38% of respondents said if they could use their phone for only one thing, they would use it for calling.

When it comes to communicating big news like getting engaged, respondents said they would make a phone call every time. So even though more millennials use their phone to message, they still make calls when it’s important.

3.  Millennials value conversation more than you think

Even millennials know that sometimes communicating on a small mobile screen with fat thumbs is a real drag. When asked about their preferred method for contacting a business, 66% said they were likely to call a business vs. only 22% who said they were likely to use social media.

And if you think all millennials do is take selfies, think again. Only 17% admitted to taking selfies at least once per day compared to 79% that said they make a phone call at least once per day.

No amount of tech is ever going to completely replace one-on-one conversations. Marketers, even though millennials love all things digital, it’s important to remember that sometimes it’s just easier and faster to make a phone call. Even Google’s Search Chief, Amit Signal, calls mobile a “do device” and says one of the easiest things to do on a mobile device when reaching out to a business is to call them. So remember to include those click to call buttons on your search ads and landing pages and use call tracking to see where those calls are coming from.

4. Millennials love to use their phones to spend money

Millennials live on their phones and buy on their phones. Whether they’re using an app or calling to make a purchase, smartphones have become the new wallet. The majority of millennials (52%) make purchases on their phones at least a few times per month. Peer to peer payments are also gaining traction among the millennial crowd, with 20% saying they send money to a friend with their phone at least a few times a week.

It’s clear millennials are really comfortable spending money with their phone. Mobile isn’t all about browsing and researching. It’s used to make purchases and marketers shouldn’t be afraid of driving these types of interactions on mobile. It’s important for marketers to make their mobile purchasing process as simple as possible – a complicated purchasing process with too many steps will increase your abandon rate. Think about offering a one-click checkout option. Or giving people the chance to call to quickly get their questions answered.

5. You can collect personal data, but use it for good

Millennials are more comfortable than any other generation giving away their data in exchange for convenience. In fact, 84% of people surveyed, including millennials, don’t mind when companies collect their data, and 20% expect that ads they are served later will be more targeted as a result of gathered information.

Marketers must make sure they are using data to personalize and improve the customer experience. This means serving personalized ads, targeting people across channels, and ensuring a seamless experience throughout their journey, even if they move offline.

Millennials’ relationships with their phones is a complicated thing. But the more marketers know the better they can engage in meaningful and compelling ways. One of the biggest takeaways from the report is just how big of a role the phone call plays in the customer journey. 

Get dialed in to your own mobile marketing plans by downloading the Modern Marketing Guide to Mobile Marketing.

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