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How to reach the always-on, app-centric millennial audience

By
October 26, 2015

Jason Patton is vice president and general manager of content and media business at Immersion

Jason Patton is vice president and general manager of content and media business at Immersion

By Jason Patton

I have a challenge for you – if you do not use Snapchat or WeChat, you and a friend sign up for one month and start communicating with each other solely over that platform. By doing this, you will quickly begin to understand the ways in which millennials receive and send messages.

In fact, a recent survey commissioned by mobile applications developer Delvv found that 55 percent of millennials view notifications from messaging apps to be the most useful, and indeed more than half of millennials (51 percent) cannot go more than three hours without checking their smartphone.

According to Nielsen, 85 percent of millennials ages 18-24 own smartphones. For this group in particular, mobile has become the first screen and smartphones have become an integral part everyday life.

According to Moosylvania’s 2015 Millennial Ranking Report, there are more than 74 million millennials in the United States alone and they have roughly $170 billion to spend. Brands must stay connected to this group via their smart mobile devices by creating compelling, quality content.

Numbers speak
One of the core characteristics of mobile is that content is shareable and accessible anytime, anywhere.

However, according to a study entitled “Content Marketing Best Practices Among Millennials” put together by Yahoo, DigitasLBi, Razorfish and Tumblr, 45 percent of millennials do not find content marketing compelling enough to share.

While no one can predict what will and will not go viral, your branded mobile content must be high-quality, engaging and worth sharing.

According to that same study, 55 percent of this group watch video several different times a day on multiple devices.

Moreover, millennials are fine with native ads, as long as they are not deceptive: 79 percent would watch at least some of a sponsored video.

What is more, 55 percent would watch the video multiple times if the content is interesting and 51 percent would share it.

These statistics are more than encouraging for those of us working in mobile content with the purpose of reaching this young audience. But marketers and brands must take advantage of the advanced technology found in smartphones to do so.

Tap dance
Engagement is key, and technological advancements in smartphones, including haptics, voice recognition and camera phones, have revolutionized the way in which millennials engage with their devices.

Consider these tips:

• Billions of mobile devices worldwide have haptic technology capabilities. The smartphone is unique in that users are most likely holding the device in their hands as they view content.

This device to skin contact creates the perfect opportunity to implement haptic feedback in your content marketing video to engage young audiences and tell a story in a unique way.

For example, we partnered with Showtime to deliver a haptified video for the series Homeland. Viewers felt every bomb explode, and every heartbeat pulse during these intense moments.

• The mobile device revolutionized voice recognition, which effectively enables users to engage their devices without touching the screen. This capability provides a new form of interactivity in mobile video.

Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure mobile video ad that you control by stating commands at your device. Or, using words to express if you are interested in learning more about a brand.

• For a vast majority of young millennials, the phone is their primary camera and video recorder.

With the rise of Instagram, images have more meaning than ever before. Use this advanced camera to your advantage by empowering users to create their own content such as images and video of your brand and share it on social.

LET US FACE it: the 30-second television spot is dead. Without a way to share content or engage audiences, this form of advertising is no longer a viable way to reach millennials.

Diving into mobile video is essential.

Use high quality content that takes advantage of the unique technology offered via the mobile platform.

Can you imagine a future where we will see augmented reality or holograms on mobile devices? Technologists are excited for mobile’s future innovations and brands should be too.

Jason Patton is vice president and general manager of content and media business at Immersion, San Jose, CA. Reach him at jason@immersion.com.

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