Marketing to millennials requires focusing on mobile app marketing strategies, as mobile is where the millennial audience gathers. Millennials have the highest rate of smartphone usage in the U.S., with about 98% of millennials owning a device. Most millennials see the smartphone as an extension of their wallet, in that they make payments, purchases, and even earn rewards through mobile. This group is also more receptive to brands reaching out to them via mobile. When targeting the millennial market, a brand’s best choice is to focus on apps.
When millennials are on their phones they are often in a buying mindset. Whether they’re searching for brick-and-mortar locations or making mCommerce purchases, they are receptive to marketing because they’re ready to buy. As a result, app-based marketing strategies can be incredibly successful for brands hoping to target this demographic. Millennials choose apps that support their shopping habits, and brands should leverage this wide audience of app users when attempting to increase market share.
Millennials Are Avid Mobile Shoppers
While games may dominate the app charts for downloads and usage, other, sometimes lesser-known apps are the ones truly deemed essential by consumers. Nearly one-third of millennials report that Amazon is the app they can’t live without, followed by Gmail and Facebook. By understanding what makes these apps so enticing, brands can build successful app-based campaigns.
- Social: Millennials like apps that allow them to connect with others. This is true even in niche apps, where forums often allow users to communicate with each other and share tips.
- Shopping: Consumers want to be able to make purchases quickly and easily, whether they’re shopping online or looking for a brick-and-mortar location. By offering a digital experience that helps make purchasing easier, a brand can improve its relationship with millennials.
- Multifunctional: When looking at the apps millennials consider most important, a common theme emerges: Each of the top three platforms offers multiple enticing and necessary functions. Facebook users can send messages, watch videos, and shop. Amazon users can shop and also watch videos via Amazon Prime. Even Gmail integrates elements of its other offerings, including chat functionality, connection to social sites, shopping, and even storage through Google Drive.
Brands that offer a combination of options via apps can take advantage of the monumental growth of mobile. Virtually all industry experts agree that mobile will continue to grow, as consumers want to experience mobile moments as they travel.
Millennials Are Receptive to In-the-Moment Communications
Millennials use mobile because they’re often on the move. As a result, they’re more receptive to being contacted by brands as they travel. About 63% of millennials report they’ve agreed to receive push notifications from brands. This is a huge benefit to brands because it gives them the opportunity to reach out to millennial consumers while they are in the marketplace, thanks to proximity marketing.
By reaching out to consumers when they’re already motivated to buy—like when they’re in the store or passing a location—brands can increase conversion potential. Once upon a time push notifications were the only method for this; however, today brands can leverage technology that consumers have open and running while they are in the store. One of the most successful means of doing this is by using shopping apps to engage the millennial market.
Marketing to Millennials Through Shopping Apps
In one study, 50% of millennials surveyed reported having a shopping app on their phone. The types of shopping apps varied from standard mCommerce sites like Amazon to in-store rewards-based apps that also do mCommerce, like Shopkick. Across the board, these apps help brands stand out by offering a few unique features:
- Gamification: Some shopping apps offer a gamified component that encourages users to interact with the app. Shopkick, which rewards consumers with gift cards for shopping, is an example of this in that the app provides an in-store virtual scavenger hunt users can play for free.
- Incentivized interaction: In the Shopkick app users collect points—known as kicks—for doing things like watching videos, finding products in the store, going to certain locations, and engaging with and purchasing products online. Kicks are then redeemed for gift cards to a variety of stores. Such rewards are a good means of incentivizing consumer interaction as they encourage the consumer to seek out products and engage with brands while in the shopping aisle.
- Elimination of discounts: Brands that are tired of the same discount-based campaigns can differentiate themselves through an app-based rewards program. Consumers frequently view a reward as having a value even greater than its actual dollar amount because there is an emotional component to earning a reward. It typically feels exclusive and personalized and offers a sense of accomplishment.
Shopping apps are among the fastest growing app categories because they offer millennials an opportunity to use their mobile devices to save money. As millennials are always looking to their smartphones for solutions, these shopping apps appeal as a way to shop smarter and also discover new products.
App marketing is the best way to reach the millennial market as it’s where they spend their time. Millennials are receptive to being contacted by brands on these apps, making the apps a good way to connect with consumers. Rewarding the experience is another successful tactic for gaining the best ROI from an app-based marketing campaign. Because of these factors, apps will continue to be a major avenue for marketing to millennials well into the future.
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