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Millennials and mobile marketing: What does the industry need to tap this segment?
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To tap the potential of this population, it is important for marketers to go beyond the traditional realms of digital m...
ad-tech

Millennials and mobile marketing: What does the industry need to tap this segment?

To tap the potential of this population, it is important for marketers to go beyond the traditional realms of digital m...
  • Ruchika Sharma, Manager – Brand and Customer Marketing, CleverTap shares why The next decade is going to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the internet, and as the world’s largest democracy with a burgeoning mobile-internet population, India has a unique opportunity to influence the new rules that will shape the evolving mobile internet ecosystem.
  • She further writes what should do mobile marketers do to cater to millennials in India to grow in the next decade.
A long time ago I came across a quote by Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb: "Build something 100 people love, not something a million people kind of like." Today, a lot of brands have found their eureka moment in this saying when India unfolded the millennial market for marketers and advertisers. But have they been able to tap the true potential of this market fully? Are they communicating the right content, or even choosing the right channel?

While it’s true that millennials take more selfies than other generations, labeling them the “selfie” generation seems to miss the mark, especially as it relates to their attitudes around identity and lifestyle. They have grown up with the Internet and social media apps, as opposed to the baby boomers, who have mostly relied on television and traditional forms of entertainment. Even then, millennials are largely misunderstood. And why wouldn’t they be, when each one of them is approaching adulthood in a different way?

Millennials residing in urban cities are growing in an expanding world of choice, and because of this they view life very differently. They don’t see just one path available to them—they see limitless possibilities to make their life their own. This is exactly what they expect from brands: more choices to cater their taste, preference, and most importantly mood. When it comes to buying or decision-making, urban millennials are more value-conscious than price conscious. They are willing to spend generously on personalized consumer experiences.

On the other hand, the 300 million rural millennials that represent 36% of the rural Indian population are at the helm of defining purchase decisions across the region. Rather than aimlessly following brands and names, these millennials are settling on choices that elevate their social status by choosing quality and trends while embracing affordability. These consumers choose a brand based on word-of-mouth and are often inspired when brands present a visually compelling story.

While we have some insight into their behavior, it's important to understand why brands are continuously targeting this population. According to a report launched by Vivo and Cybermedia Research, an average millennial spends one-third of their waking hours on their phone. That translates to 1,800 hours a year! 75% of respondents said they owned a smartphone in their teens, and of them, 41% were hooked to their phones even before graduating from high school. Furthermore, availability of affordable data leading to higher connectivity has resulted in the rise of indigenous content apps that have further increased an average millennial’s screen time.

The ease of in-app communication to navigate challenges faced by millennials and provide them with real-time solutions is why most brands have adopted a mobile-first approach while addressing all their digital marketing initiatives. However, to tap the potential of this population, it is important for marketers to go beyond the traditional realms of digital marketing to drive business and brand outcomes.

The cognitive process in humans is faster than we thought, and the human brain needs less than half a second to engage with an ad and trigger a positive or negative reaction. Mobile has significantly contributed to the speed in which people process ideas and information, and there has been a massive shift towards mobile video consumption due to both data democratization and the convenience that mobile phones provide for video viewing.

Marketers and creative agencies urgently need to understand and embrace this consumer shift and rethink advertising tactics for consumers who are always on the run. As we embark on the next decade, it is imperative that brands focus on measuring the right business outcomes as much as they focus on building exciting campaigns. Since 2014, digital ad spend in India has consistently grown, yet the industry lacks robust measurement standards.

Keeping all of these factors in mind, what do mobile marketers need to tap this segment?

  1. Personalization of in-app engagement for different millennial segments. For example, jargon like checkout, cart, shipping, etc. do not resonate with millennials residing in Tier 3 markets and beyond. With the rise in indigenous mobile apps and availability of vernacular content, it is now important for brands to communicate in a lingo that relates with millennials.
  2. Millennials often relate to meme-based content that helps in adding humor even while addressing real-life crises. Brands that utilize humor in their marketing and communications gain strong millennial followings because they’re able to effectively deliver their message.
  3. Multilingual voice and audio-based mobile advertising is needed to widen customer bases and open new market avenues. In 2019, Godrej Hit integrated its Dengue Helpline and Platelet Donation Campaign with Alexa and Google Assistant helping consumers get real-time information on donor availability and precautions for vector borne diseases. The helpline received 100+ million enquiries across India.
  4. Due to its temporal nature, ephemeral content forces marketers to be more spontaneous and can increase engagement. Ephemeral content — images and videos that are only accessible for a brief period — has become more popular with formats such as gifs, polls, stories, and stickers. Brands are able to command greater engagement and achieve focused targeting with ephemeral content.
  5. Branded content is here to stay. Customers use phones not to buy things but to research, educate themselves, and make informed choices. With branded content, the key is to grab the audience’s attention and drive engagement through content. We find that branded content entertains, teaches, and results in better engagement than standard content.
  6. Tap audiences in media dark regions through mobile gaming and regional OTT platforms like HoiChoi, Aha, Sun NXT, and Koode. These platforms have dominated regional markets with expanded audience reach, providing brands with a larger canvas to paint their story.
  7. User generated content platforms are gaining traction due to increased mobile penetration in Tier II and III cities as well as semi-rural and rural areas. These users are constantly watching, sharing, and uploading video content via mobile phones. They have an inherent need to co-create, giving brands an opportunity to connect with them. Using short, imaginative mobile videos can become a catalyst for not only building brand awareness, but for engaging directly with this rapidly growing, immensely aspirational market.
We are living in a world where change is the only constant. The next decade is going to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the internet, and as the world’s largest democracy with a burgeoning mobile-internet population, India has a unique opportunity to influence the new rules that will shape the evolving mobile internet ecosystem. Therefore, brands need to be on their feet to ride these rapid changes, evolve their communication techniques, and build a strong connection with consumers.