Ian James, General Manager International at Verve

For many, mobile devices have become a primary connection to the world — they teleport users from destination to destination throughout their day, at once utilitarian communication tools and personalized windows onto inspiring new experiences.

Today, there are two rising demographics of mobile influencers — a pair of generations that have never lived in a world without mobile. These Mobile Prodigies are born digital, growing up in a world of swiping, tapping, and scrolling. With so much to gain at their fingertips, they represent constantly evolving demands to which both advertisers and publishers must respond.

So, how do we keep ahead of these expectations? What should we consider in pursuit of the Mobile Prodigies? The answers lie within the heart of the mobile device itself, within the data that it generates, each instance of user-granted permissions helping to define the wants and needs of the mobile shoppers that advertisers seek to reach.

Introducing tomorrow’s mobile consumers

Mobile Prodigies, composed of young Millennials and Gen Z, spend some 46% more time daily on mobile devices than they do watching television1. Mobile is the first and primary screen for media consumption, whether Mobile Prodigies are on the go or in the comfort of their own home. They expect personalization, responding to marketing that provides them with aesthetically pleasing innovations and contextually relevant ads.

These consumers value their individuality and demand that advertisers recognise it too. Seventy-one percent of US Mobile Prodigies expect customised ads that target location.2 When asked what makes a ‘great’ mobile ad, London respondents all agreed — when relevant to their location and context, they are more than willing to engage. ‘I’m going to engage more with an ad that’s personalised to where I am,’ said one of our London subjects. ‘It introduces a new aspect of that place, a new identity to explore.’

This is where ‘relevancy’ becomes infinitely important. For example, the likelihood of a user engaging in a mobile video ad placement during a long commute home would be greater than when they are running between meetings. And it’s these ‘sweet spots’ that we need to master: What mood are they in? What does their location, likely activity, and the time of day tell us about context and the best approach when it comes to serving a mobile ad?

Relevancy: the bridge from online-to-offline

The mobile device and, more importantly, relevant and context-rich content has become the very core of how we bridge our online and offline worlds. We turn to our devices for guidance, affirmation, and inspiration. Respondents in the Mobile Prodigies study said they use their device to research products they want to buy, for example, seeking feedback from peers and comparing products among brands. What’s more, 95% of Mobile Prodigies make in-store purchases based on ads they have seen on their device. This statistic alone showcases how powerful these small devices have become in our day-to-day decisions. The research reflects significant details of how young mobile consumers think.

‘It’s those “follow you around” kind of ads; eventually I just have to have it,’ said one of our UK respondents. ‘I am such a sucker for that.’

This ‘must-have’ attitude brings both opportunity and challenge; brands must be creative in their output — they must anticipate what will make audiences feel special, exclusive, and inspired.


The value exchange

Young mobile consumers are continuingly weighing the benefits of sharing their personal data. This is especially the case among Mobile Prodigies, who tell us that data-permissions are increasingly acceptable given the right conditions. Yes, ad blocking implementation is still high, with 56% of Mobile Prodigies surveyed in our US whitepaper stating they currently use, or plan to use, ad blocking software. However, what resonated the most throughout our UK video findings was the concept of a data-focused value exchange between advertisers and Mobile Prodigies. Sixty percent of the young respondents agreed that, if they were presented with more relevant advertising, they would become rapidly more comfortable in sharing data with brands.

‘They already know where I am!’ said one UK respondent. ‘I have my location services switched on; they know exactly where I am, now; so, why not. Just, give me some discount!’

And it is this data that unlocks the future of mobile storytelling.

‘If we serve Mobile Prodigies best-in-class mobile experiences, permission comes down to relevance and reward,’ said Ian James, General Manager International, Verve. ‘When we eliminate intrusive, contextually blind experiences from the mobile-ad space and offer predictive, surprising, and meaningful creative, then consumers do provide us permission to engage them in new and meaningful ways.’

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Sources: 1) Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016, 2) Verve’s mobile Prodigies Whitepaper

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