Apps, Not Ads, Drive Millenial Mobile Marketing
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Apps, Not Ads, Drive Millennial Mobile Marketing

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Mobile marketing has always been associated with simultaneous opportunity and difficulty. For marketers, it represents a space in which target audiences can be reached at seemingly any time with low cost and effort—if only they can wade through the morass of other marketers who have the same idea.

Today, new insight has been shed on using mobile for engaging Millennials, thanks to a study from Oracle. This particularly active mobile audience presents a trove of opportunity for marketers—even those who aren’t interested in directly marketing or selling to Millennials—so long as they keep in mind that the dominant force in mobile marketing is no longer ad placements: It’s apps.

Millenials turn to mobile. Mobile marketing can use this. The Millennial Opportunity

So why should content marketing professionals be concerned with mobile Millennials in the first place? According to Oracle’s study, 85 percent of people ages 18 to 34—a perhaps slightly wide, but still fitting window to describe “Millennials”—currently own a smartphone. This majority population, coupled with the fact that smartphone sales to this audience rose 23 percent in 2014 over the previous year, demonstrates both a pervasive presence and interest in mobile for the age group.

While this popularity is of little surprise to most anyone who has walked on a sidewalk or waited in a line at the grocery store behind texting, tweeting, or sharing Millennials, the natural question to arise next is: “What exactly are Millennials using their phone for?”

Mobile Activity by Millennials

According to Oracle, Millennials use their devices for a wide range of activities, from paying bills to searching local businesses to interacting on social media and beyond. Predominantly, these activities are done through apps, as opposed to interaction with a more general phone browser. Of this app usage, the top three reported uses were “uploading media content” at 75 percent, “purchasing a product” at 74 percent, and “transferring money to a friend” at 61 percent. It is also of interest to note that for every activity across the board, there was an almost exactly 2:1 ratio of users reporting they used the phone version of apps over tablet versions.

That said, apps present some barriers to brands, largely in that they require constant development and maintenance, which costs money. Here are some ways to put apps to work and recognize ROI:

  • Performance, not features, should be king. Of the top five reasons Millennials reported not wanting to use an app, three involved user performance: the number one reason was poor speed at 63 percent, the fourth was poor layout or design at 49 percent, and the fifth was less functionality compared to a computer at 35 percent. The other two reasons were both related to keeping cost-of-use low.
  • Wherever possible, allow user accounts and/or money management through your app. Of the top five tasks Millennials like being able to accomplish on mobile, the ability to make purchases and handle billing were the top two, at 72 percent and 71 percent, respectively.
  • Share, but don’t pester. While 67 percent of respondents reported that they liked receiving regular updates through an app, the frequency of which should not be any greater than other social media, email, or Web channels. Redundancy will only tire users.

For brands that are lacking in the app department, consider finding ways to incorporate existing apps into your mobile marketing flow through social media integration or by seeking out ways to partner/utilize apps that will improve your audience’s experience with your brand.

Still unsure about how apps can fit into your marketing efforts? Check out Skyword’s free Content Performance Management guides for insight into what channels can help you most!

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