Millennials: Mobile, Apps and Video

Millennials are highly engaged with their smartphones. 65% of millennials in the US own a smartphone with an Internet/data subscription according to a study from InSites Consulting.

Key findings:

  • More than 75% of millennials access the Internet from their phone, so making your website mobile friendly is vital. Mobile click through rates are 34% higher than through other platforms, finding that further indicate the potential success of developing a mobile strategy for your brand.

  • 90% of millennials spend time on mobile devices, primarily sending and receiving messages. Open rates exceed 99% and can be an extremely effective channel to achieve instant results from users. If a brand is able to incentivize adequately (preferably through offering discount and promotions), campaigns that deliver personalization and value will outperform other types of content and minimize the risk of losing subscribers.

  • 60% of millennials download apps to their mobile devices. When developing an app for your brand/company, it is important to consider how and in what way it can become an inherent part of the users daily life. Enabling push notifications from the app to notify users about updates in addition to messaging can increase it’s usage by 540%.

  • Millennials want to engage with brands on social media in the same way they do with friends. Relevant content is more likely to be shared with their social networks if it resonates with their online persona. 73% of mobile searches lead to additional actions and conversions, and nearly 18% share this content. Millennials are prone to ask for their friends opinions before making a purchase.


Millennials between the ages of 18-24 who own smartphones and tablets are 66% more likely to have 21+ apps on their devices than others. According to a study from Buzz Media regarding Mobile Millennials, 74% of respondents indicated that games are their favorite apps. Music, social networking and entertainment (movies and TV) were close behind, followed by productivity as number 5.

40% of respondents had 20+ apps on their devices. Interestingly, men are 25% more likely than women to have 21+ apps on their phones. Men are also 18.4% more likely to pay for apps, and are 95% more likely to have 21% paid apps than women.

0.99-2.99 is the price point for paid apps according to the study. Men, tablet owners and multiple device owners were more likely to pay $3+.

0.99-2.99 is the price point for paid apps according to the study. Men, tablet owners and multiple device owners were more likely to pay $3+.

Games are by far the most popular paid apps among this generation.

Games are by far the most popular paid apps among this generation.

Gender preferences for apps

Gender preferences for apps

According to a report on Brand Loyalty amongst Millennials from Adroit digital, 39% of millennials think that brands that don’t advertise through mobile channels, smartphones, and tablets are outdated and undesirable. 36% of Millennials believe digital advertising is the most effective method of influencing their brand decisions, with traditional advertising as a standalone showing markedly less influence at 19%. However, TV still trumps online advertising in the realm of brand influence. Millennials who spent their youth in front of the TV and not the Internet or game console say TV is their primary influencer in perceiving brand value. 73% of 26–33 year-olds, compared to 66% of 18–25 year-olds, consider TV to be their biggest influencer when it comes to brand value.

For brands prospecting new customers, TV and social will pave the way with Millennials: 29% and 26% indicated TV and social, respectively, as the media most likely to introduce them to a new product for trial.

Both men and women indicated social and online display as their largest influencers beyond TV. Women are 1.5 times more likely than men to discover a new product for trial through social media exposure or advertising—31% compared to 21% of men.

32% think social advertising lends the most credibility to influencing their brand decisions, compared to 35% who indicated TV as the most influential advertising channel.

Nearly all the time (89%) spent on media among smartphone users is in apps. On tablets, 81% of time spent is devoted to apps versus the web. African-Americans and Hispanics consumed mobile media at higher-than-average rates. Whites make up the vast majority of smartphone users overall at 70%. Millennials make up 38% of all smartphone usage.

Video consumption on mobile phones is increasing in popularity. The number of people watching video on smartphones reached 101 million in December 2013, up from 80.7 million a year earlier. The number of people using the Internet on a computer fell to 204.4 million from 212.4 million, while app/web smartphone users spiked 30% from 111 million to 144.3 million.

Television is still king

According to Nielsen, traditional TV is still the biggest time consumer amongst americans.

The growth in time with apps or the mobile web on a smartphone is at the expense of time spent on the desktop web.

The time for watching video on a smartphone peaks between 5 pm and 9 pm, similar to the peak times for TV and online video viewing. This may suggest that people are dividing their attention among screens during traditional TV prime-time hours.

Real time push marketing

Analytics startups like Euclid and Nomi enables marketers to track consumers as they pass or walk into a store using geo-location technology. When consumers are in their stores, their movements and traffic patterns can be mapped and analyzed with repeat visits identified. By using accumulated and real-time data they can send shoppers messages based on past purchases or as they near similar products. A similar product is now being introduced through the incorporation of iBeacon in the IOS.

Privacy concerns

Reports show that the majority (76%) of these shoppers are not comfortable with retailers tracking their in-store movements through smartphones and wi-fi. This is due to the lack of knowledge of why they wish to track this behavior.

A study of 4000 consumers in the US, UK and Australia found that the majority (62%) of consumers are worried about how personal information is being used for marketing, but most (79%) would be likely to provide personal information to a brand they trust.

How to get consumers to opt-in to a mobile marketing messaging service?

According to research from Responsys, the No. 1 motivation was to receive special offers and promotions, and the No. 2 slot went to news about other sales.

Offering discounts is also reported to be the primary driver of actions taken after seeing mobile marketing messages. In fact, two thirds of mobile users that subscribed to marketing messages from brands offering a discount said that they were likely to purchase a product.

The findings indicate that cost is more important than convenience.

Privacy is a concern here too. More than one third of subscribers to opt-in messages said they were actually unlikely to take action from a location based offer. This is likely due to people feeling like their privacy is being invaded or that the targeting is done poorly, meaning that marketers may be sending location based offers to the wrong locations.


According to Mediapost the average american owns four devices and spends 60 hours a week consuming content on those devices. Consumers are increasingly multi-tasking on a variety of different devices simultaneously, and the TV time is especially prone to multi screen activity. Nielsen reports that 84% of smartphone and tablet owners watch television while using a mobile, tablet or laptop concurrently. Using data from apps on a tablet or smartphone with choices in television can reveal unique angles regarding attitude and interest towards products.

Certain brands have already invested in second screen experiences that have proved valuable to the consumer. Television should develop a second screen experience that goes beyond what they can see on TV and that drives engagement by extending content from TV to other devices.

An example of a company who has successfully done this is The Weather Channel.

Their popular app was originally developed for weather, but TWC has augmented the experience by allowing access to live radar feeds, in-app video viewing, and functions for sharing footage and photos of weather conditions.

If a brand develops an app that essentially is a mini-copy of their website, they will fail to attract interest from users and important sponsors. The interface needs to be simple, clean, intuitive and with minimal options at first sight.

Immersive content that requires some finger gesturing is bound to keep the user engaging and coming back for more. The app should also work flawlessly as consumers are not known to be patient with lags and bugs within the app. Consistent updates and improvements are paramount. 

The benefits to companies creating apps are real as they are great sources of contextual data which provides more information about your users and can benefit sponsors.

AMC have also been successful with the launch of Story Sync, and app that launches at the premiere time of a show featuring polls, images, Twitter streams, in-app videos, and other content about a show draw in the viewer to increase engagement. They also developed a web app which allows anyone to access the app online without having a iPhone or Android phone.

Mobile ad spending is increasing in an accelerating speed. According to Emarketer, mobile ad spending will increase by 75% to $8 billion by the end of 2014.

Although many millennials report mobile ads to be intrusive, it is possible to incorporate this cheaper way of advertising in a way that is complementary to what the user is trying to do on their smart phone or tablet.

Compared to television ads where it is common for the user to get up and do something else while commercials are rolling, the mobile ad is presented while users are engaged in a task and can click directly to you product within seconds. The ability to move quickly from exposure to an ad to a product page is appealing to marketers considering the stats reported from Time Business revealing that millennials are 52% more likely to make impulse buys than their elders are.

This is particularly appealing considering the fact that 33% of male and 40% of female millennials state that they would purchase everything online if they could.

But intrusive ads can also backfire. According to a study by the Urban Land Institute, Millennials are especially distrusting of social networking sites (particularly Facebook). 83% of participants said that sponsored stories on Facebook made their social media experience worse, and 67% said they would never click a sponsored story.

According to Bazaar Voice, 64% of Millennials feel that companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online, and are not surprisingly significantly more likely to be influenced by friends recommending something than they are any form of advertising. This proves that the most effective way to advertise is to find current users, appreciate and focus on them so that they will feel compelled to recommend your product and become brand advocates.  

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