How Millennials Use Mobile Devices and How Marketers Can Benefit

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

young-adults-onlineFor most businesses, it’s extremely important that they make inroads with a younger generation. In the end, its the new, young consumers who will make up the bulk of sales in the future. This means that business owners need to make sure their company is visible in the places this target demographic can be found. Traditional websites and social media are a good starting point for reaching the so-called millennial generation, but more and more, mobile devices have become the leading edge in reaching millennials. However, just knowing that mobile is important isn’t enough. Business owners and marketers need to understand how millennials use mobile devices so they can better target their marketing campaigns. This article will review some of the most recent studies on mobile use by young adults, and how it can be used to benefit business owners.

A good place to start is with some basic information about millennials and mobile devices. It’s generally assumed that young adults like their mobile devices and the data certainly backs that up. Earlier in July, Experian released a study that found more than three out of four (77%) young adults age 18-34 have a smartphone.  Also, 50 percent of millennial smartphone owners access the internet more often through their phones than through computers. They spend spend an average of 14.5 hours per week using their phones. And though Americans aged 18-34 make up 29 percent of the US population, and account for 41 percent of the total time spent using smartphones.

The above statistics make it clear that young adults would be best targeted through mobile marketing, but it’s important to note that the average 14.5 hours aren’t spent staring at the home screen on the phone. In order to make the most of a mobile marketing campaign for millennials, business owners need to understand how that time is spent.

Apps take up a large portion of the time young adults spend on their phone. According to a recent study from Nielsen, US smartphone owners aged 18-24 spend an average of 37 hours 6 minutes per month using apps and those aged 25-34 spend an average of 35 hours 40 minutes per month. This doesn’t mean business owners should start having apps built. Though a few apps, like Facebook, get a lot of use time, most smartphone users are spending a little bit of time on a lot of different apps. According to the Nielsen study, US smartphone owners aged 25-34 use an average of 29.5 apps per month, compared to 29.3 for those 35-44, and 28 for those 18-24. Though it’s unlikely that a retail business will produce the next killer app, business owners can use mobile marketing to put ads directly in these apps. In fact, Facebook recently added this capability to its ad network.

Though not a tactic for everyone, depending on the industry, building an app may be an ideal choice for connecting with young adults. For example, the Experian study mentioned above noted that millennial smartphone owners are 1.7 times more likely than smartphone owners ages 35 and older to use travel apps. Industries were developing an may be useful should get started now. Apps are growing in importance and it would be wise to start using the tactic before customers switch to a competitor that does. Similarly, photo apps like Instagram and Pinterest are becoming extremely popular and marketers should try to utilize those channels. Nielsen reported that US smartphone owners aged 18 and over use photography apps for an average of 1 hour 1 minute per month, up 131 percent from 2012. It’s foolish to ignore something that’s growing that quickly in consumer interest.

The growing importance of mobile devices for reaching young adults is undeniable. Business owners who have yet to be gone mobile marketing Britney disadvantage themselves when it comes to reaching this key demographic. Understanding how young adults use their mobile devices means that marketers can better target the consumers they need to reach. The data referenced above reinforces the importance of a diversified marketing strategy and keeping up with all marketing channels. Mobile devices are by no means a magic bullet that could reach all consumers, but when used properly they can exponentially increase the reach of a business’s message. For more statistics on mobile marketing, check out this article on our site.


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