How to Reach Every Generation with Mobile

How to Reach Every Generation with Mobile
New research shows that everyone from baby boomers to Gen Zers are on their phones all day long. Here's how to get started marketing to them via mobile.
by Colleen Egan May 01, 2018 — 2 min read
How to Reach Every Generation with Mobile

It’s a common assumption that millennials are the only age group addicted to their mobile phones, but new research shows that everyone from baby boomers to Gen Zers are on their phones all day long.

The research, conducted by Porter Novelli, found that 93 percent of Gen Zers (18- and 19-year-olds for the purpose of this study) own a smartphone, followed closely by millennials (20- to 36-years old) at 91 percent, and Gen Xers (37- to 52-years old) at 89 percent. As for baby boomers (53 to 71) and the Silent Generation (72+), their smartphone ownership is at 75 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Of these groups, a significant percentage of smartphone owners check social media on their phones several times a day, with millennials (57 percent), Gen Zers (53 percent), and Gen Xers (45 percent) as the most frequent users.

This means there’s a wider range of demographic groups that can be targeted with mobile advertising and content than you might assume. In fact, you can reach all of them. But how you reach them — and what content engages mobile users — varies quite dramatically by generation.

How to connect with mobile users

If you’re already using digital means to market to prospective and current customers, then you’re likely already reaching them on mobile. For example, if you’re publishing content on Facebook, your followers are likely seeing it on mobile as well as desktop.

But as with any marketing or communication medium, you want to think about how your messages are being consumed on mobile and other ways you might reach consumers on mobile where you aren’t already.

Here are some ways to get started:

Target with social media

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram make it possible to choose your audience based on demographics, location, interests, and more. So, it’s possible for a business to segment its audience and tailor its messaging to most effectively appeal to various age groups that are on their phone. Learn more about building your brand on social media with Square’s expert.

Utilize mobile ads

Surfing mobile internet is a popular means of consuming content among nearly all age groups, notably Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X, which each spend more than 100 minutes a day doing so. (Boomers spend 66 minutes a day surfing mobile internet, compared with the Silent Generation’s 29 minutes.) Overall, advertising on mobile websites presents a significant opportunity for reaching a widespread audience.

Consider video

Gen Zers and millennials spend the most time of any generation watching videos online (about 84 and 64 minutes a day, respectively), so businesses targeting these groups should make mobile video advertising a priority. Consider implementing live video into your marketing strategy as a start.

Implement an omnichannel marketing strategy

Of course, smartphone owners use their devices for more than just social media, and checking their phones isn’t the only way they consume content, so mobile advertising can and should be part of an omnichannel strategy that is customized for each generation.

Gen Xers, boomers, and the Silent Generation also spend time consuming cable and network TV content via mobile (about 98, 156, and 172 minutes respectively), so an omnichannel strategy targeting these groups should also highlight traditional forms of media.

This research reveals a significant overlap among these groups when it comes to new and legacy media. For example, both Gen Zers and the Silent Generation spend about 42 minutes a day listening to the radio, and boomers and Gen Xers each spend between 45 minutes and an hour a day surfing social media sites.

So, when devising an omnichannel strategy, businesses need to let go of their preconceived notions about age and content consumption and create plans based on data to extend reach into previously untapped mobile markets.

Colleen Egan
Colleen Egan writes for Square, where she covers everything from how aspiring entrepreneurs can turn their passion into a career to the best marketing strategies for small businesses who are ready to take their enterprise to the next level.


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