Mobile Marketing to Millennials


As any good marketer knows, the most important step in effective marketing is to identify and understand your target audience. It allows you to create smarter, more effective marketing campaigns, to choose the right strategy, and to tailor your marketing messages. And although the specifics of your audience might change according to your product and brand, there’s one big, important audience group you’ll probably want to cater your messages to especially – Millennials.

Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1997 and often otherwise known as “Generation Y.” They proceed the “Generation X” of 1965 to 1980 and the “Baby Boomers” of 1946-1964. Millennials are now at the “adult” age of 19-35 and are quickly becoming the largest group in terms of population size and market influence. In fact, by 2020, they will account for one third of all retail spending.

The Importance of Millennials to Mobile Marketing

Millennials grew up in the age when the internet came into existence and witnessed the rise of the mobile age. They are considered more open and more inclined to to engage on mobile devices than their older counterparts, and are used to adapting their technology habits to suit what is most useful or convenient for them. They are the main audience for mobile marketing. In the US, 83% of Millennials own a smartphone, and even more significant – an extraordinary 18% are mobile-only users, meaning they do all their online activity via mobile devices. In comparison, only five percent of 35-54 year olds and three percent of those 55 years and older access the internet via mobile devices only. There are a few implication for this emerging shift toward “mobile-only”; the most important among them is the need for marketers to shift to a mobile-first marketing strategy.

Millennials are typically heavy users of mobile internet and apps. They spend more time on mobile apps than any other generation group, with an average of 75 hours of mobile app usage per month. Nearly half of them claim they also use the mobile internet for four hours every weekday and nearly one in three exceeds five hours of daily use. Of the four daily hours spent online, most of it is spent communicating: 114 minutes of texting, 99 minutes on social networks, and 85 minutes on instant messaging such as WhatsApp. In addition, they are also more likely than other generations to make purchases via mobile. 36% of Millennials have made a decision on whether to buy from a company or switched companies based on that brand’s mobile app, and 74% have made at least one mobile purchase.

Marketing to Millennials

So how do you market for Millennials? Here are a few insights and tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be mobile-first: Marketing to mobile devices is important in general, but it is utterly essential when talking to Millennials. With the vast majority of Millennials owning a smartphone and one in five being mobile-only users, you should make sure your website and marketing tactics are “mobile-first.” This means having a mobile-optimized site, one that can load quickly and be easily accessible on a small mobile screen. Slow sites, wordy page titles and descriptions, impenetrable blocks of text and landing pages that sell too hard won’t work on mobile and might even push away your audience – not least because Google now ranks sites that work well on mobile devices above sites that don’t.
  2. Tone down the clutter: Millennials tend to carry their mobile devices with them everywhere – from the bedroom and bathroom, to boardroom and classroom. It’s a personal item of convenience and a necessity for them and they (and people in general) don’t want to be bombarded with sales messages and ads on it, or to find obtrusive and annoying advertisements which ruin their experience. Make sure your ads are clean, creative, viral, and relevant to your audience. Don’t try to grab their attention, win it.
  3. Engage rather than talk-at: Millennials tend to ignore and tune out most traditional advertisements. On the other hand, they are not adverse to using, embracing, and experimenting with new digital solutions and brands – especially if these solutions and interactions can empower or help them in some way. Don’t just present “passive” ads – use social channels to reach your audience, and creatively engage them by asking them to actively participate, such as commenting on a post, taking pictures of themselves with the product, expressing their opinions about some choices (favorite color or flavor for example), or entering a contest.

Blog post originally written for MobCo Media.