Mobile marketing:  Engaging Gen X,Y & Z


Written by Jane Ostler, Managing Director, Media & Digital, Kantar Millward Brown

Kantar Millward Brown’s AdReaction: engaging Gen X, Y and Z study reveals vital insights into how marketers should use mobile, explains Jane Ostler, Managing Director of their Media & Digital practice.

Marketing communications are undergoing a seismic shift. Brand messages are slowly but surely moving away from the ad break and deeper into consumers’ lives, with much of this driven by the combined influences of younger audiences and mobile device usage.

AdReaction reveals that 74% of Gen Z (16-19 year olds) globally spends more than an hour a day on mobile devices, more than any other generation.

In this world of declining ad receptivity, brands must find new ways to reach consumers beyond the confines of traditional advertising, and need to use mobile in more creative ways than ever before. 

Our recent AdReaction study surveyed over 23,000 consumers globally from ages 16-49, and this revealed some fascinating insights in to their attitudes, behaviours and responses to advertising. The findings demonstrate that it’s more than just thinking mobile:

Create engaging content: Content such as tutorials, expert reviews, social media, branded events or sponsored events are all viewed more positively than ads by Gen Z, particularly in markets such as the UK. These formats also allow consumers to engage with brands by letting them, for example, co-create or vote for outcomes. Gen Z is likely to be positive about content that allows them to vote for something to happen, like making decisions about the ending, the story or the characters.

Gauge their attention: globally and in the UK, Gen Z prefers shorter ads. 50% of UK Gen Z are more positive towards relevant ads that are 10 seconds or less, while Gen X is more tolerant of videos of up to 20 seconds.

Respect their online space: Within the digital space, Gen Z is more positive than other generations to mobile rewards video and skippable pre-rolls (which achieve positive scores of 41% and 15% respectively globally), but especially damning of invasive ad formats like non-skippable pre-rolls and mobile app pop-ups (-36% and -42% respectively globally).

Be more social: Gen Z are heavy users of social platforms, not just in terms of the time spent, but also the number of platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. 36% of Gen Z globally access Instagram several times a day and 24% access Snapchat at the same frequency, compared to 21% and 10% respectively for Gen Y and 9% and 4% for Gen X.

Give control: for media planners and creative agencies targeting Gen Z, placement within content of interest, providing control and interaction are key. Ads with humour, music, interesting stories and involving celebrities are more likely to succeed.

The logical conclusion is that marketers need to spend more time developing branded content and less time on traditional advertising. We are likely to see an increase in native content, short and long form video, branded lenses and filters, branded emojis, and PR stunts. With mobile, these opportunities now also extend to new technologies such as 360-degree video, augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence – chatbots performing customer service and sales functions, for example. Virtual reality test drives and chatbots are increasingly used. Geotargeting offers another opportunity.

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