Mobile Marketing for Millennials: Best Practices

Every generation has its own ways.

This applies to everything from everyday habits to how they interact with ads.

If you want your mobile ads to reach Millennials, you can’t use identical strategies as you do with Gen Z or, even worse, Boomers.

The right way to do it?

Read this article and learn how to do mobile marketing for Millennials!

Millennials, Who?

Millennials, also known as Gen Y, are persons born between 1981 and 1996. This means that, in 2022, the oldest Millennials are 41, and the youngest ones are 26 years old.

To put it another way, most of them have at least one gray hair.

Yet, they tend to feel young and vibrant.

US population by generation 2021
US population by generation 2021. Source: Statista

This generation is not important just for being relatively young, but also because of how big it is.

In 2021, Millennials were the biggest age group in the US with 72.19 million members (Statista).

Millennials: Characteristics

Age may be just a number, but the era we grew up in has a huge impact on how we behave later in life.

Whether they are 41 or 26, Gen Y members share a lot of the same traits.

Here are some you should be especially aware of when it comes to mobile marketing for Millennials.

Grew up in the Early Internet Era

millennials early internet era
Source: Reddit

Unlike Gen, Z, Millennials spent their early childhood in a world without the Internet.

When the Internet finally reached their households, it was much different than it is today.

For example, they had to get off the internet for someone to use the phone. In the meantime, they would probably kill time by playing Solitaire or Pinball on their computer.

Also, back then, there was no mobile Internet. Mobile phones were used for calls and text messages. Therefore, they could only access the web through PCs and would usually use the once-famous Internet Explorer browser to do that.

Fluent in Technology

Even though they didn’t grow up with smartphones in their hands, Millennials are almost equally fluent in technology as Gen Z.

Just like them, they regularly help Boomers do very basic things on their phones.

For example, take a screenshot or close an ad.

Because of their early exposure to the Internet, they were quick to adapt to all of the new and improved features that technology had to offer.

Using the early-era Internet resulted in another important trait.

Millennials are less critical of not-perfect interfaces and user experiences.

Since they started using computers when UX was not the primary goal, and software was often difficult to learn, this made them more willing to work around imperfect user flows. On the other hand, if an app/software is not well-optimized, Gen Z will abandon it much faster.

To sum up, today, Millennials carry their phones with them wherever they go, shop online, and are regular social media users.

Pioneers in Social Media Usage

Major social media platforms started to emerge when the majority of Millennials were in their teens, and they were the first generation to embrace them.

First, there was MSN Messenger, then Facebook, and a few years later — Instagram.

While the first one is dead, the other two social platforms are still very much alive, and this generation still uses them on a daily basis.

But, they are not stuck in their old ways.

Just like these platforms evolved, so have the ways Millennials use them. About ten years ago, it was popular to write statuses, poke each other, and post on other people’s walls. Meanwhile, their Instagram feeds were flooded with over-filtered photos.

Nowadays, Millennials follow trends and engage with different features these social media channels have to offer. For example, Stories and Reels.

In the same spirit, more and more of them are adopting platforms popular among younger generations (TikTok, Snapchat).

Employed & “Adulting”

Millennials spend the majority of their waking hours at work; they are currently the largest generation in the workforce (Pew Research).

When they arrive home from work, about half of them have a family to take care of. According to Tapjoy, about 50% of them are parents.

Even though most of them are employed, Gen Y members tend to struggle financially. Especially when compared to Gen X and Boomers.

Millennial Characteristics

They usually have unstable jobs and need to pay rent. Not to mention the global inflation that is making things even more difficult.

Due to all this, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Millennials are prone to saving and are big discount buyers.

Other Millennial Characteristics

Millennial Characteristics
Gen Z describing Millennials.

It’s difficult to sum up Millennials in just a few paragraphs. To help you understand the bigger picture, here are a couple more characteristics of this generation :

  • They are more educated than previous generations
  • Good at accepting change
  • They are lifelong learners
  • Crave work-life balance
  • Are socially aware
  • Have intuitive technological knowledge
  • Expect user-friendly apps and websites
  • Are usually Harry Potter fans (not too relevant for the topic but needs to be mentioned)

Mobile Marketing for Millennials: Statistics and Habits

Now, you have a general idea of ​​what Gen Y is made of. All of this affects how this generation uses their mobile devices.

Here are the latest, most relevant numbers on Millennial mobile usage.

Millennials and Mobile

  • 93% of Millennials own a smartphone (Pew Research)
  • On average, they spend 3.7 hours using their mobile phones every day (Whistle Out)
  • According to Tapjoy, their favorite mobile activities are mobile games (75%), social media (67%), and communication (52%)
  • Millennials are also big mobile shoppers — 73% of them shop on mobile one to four times every week (Tapjoy)

Millennials and Social Media

  • This generation uses social media apps to stay connected, “kill time”, communicate, and keep up with the news, compared to Gen Z which uses it mainly for entertainment
  • Social media apps they use the most are Facebook (71%), Instagram (62%), TikTok (37%), and Twitter (31%), according to Tapjoy.

Millennials and Mobile Games

mobile marketing for millennials mobile games
  • Over 90% of Millennials use their smartphones for gaming rather than PCs (GlobeNewswire)
  • 70% of members of this generation play mobile games every day (Tapjoy)
  • Their favorite gaming genres are puzzle/match-3 games, RPG games, action/adventure games, word games, and arcade /hypercasual games (Tapjoy)
  • 20% of Millennials fall into the group of “bargain buyers ”, along with 23% of Gen Z mobile gamers (Newzoo)
  • 39% of Millennials’ mobile purchases happen in gaming apps (Tapjoy)
  • According to Newzoo, 67% of Millennial gamers like to both play and watch games on streaming platforms

Mobile Marketing for Millennials: Tips & Tricks

We’re not going to sugarcoat it — getting a Millennial to notice your brand is getting more and more difficult.

For this reason, we have compiled a small guide on mobile marketing for Millennials, based on all the most important findings on this audience.

Be Funny

While Boomers may not appreciate brand humor (ok Boomer), both Millennials and Gen Z react well to it.

But, if you decide to win over Millennials with your wit, make sure to feel the room first. Each generation laughs at different things. Sure, some things are universally funny, but a lot aren’t.

Get it wrong, and your target audience will cringe at your attempt.

millennials funny content

Some things Millennials generally joke about are their poor finances, not owning a home, getting old, etc. Essentially, a lot of their humor is cynical. However, they will appreciate any good, relatable joke that will show the human side of your brand.

Speaking of humor, keep this in mind too.

Let’s say you want to make a mobile game for a Millennial audience. If you want to add a caption with a laughing emoji, you’ll want to use “😂” for this generation. Meanwhile, Gen Z finds this out-of-date emoji.

Quickly Get to the Point

This generation doesn’t like it when brands beat around the bushes.

Millennials are more likely to pay attention to mobile ads if they head straight to the point (Tapjoy’s research).

For example, if you’re promoting a strategy game, it would be good to point it out as quickly as possible. Many game ads for these games start with long cinematic intros and voiceovers that turn out to represent a plain strategy game.

If you’re doing something like this, your Millennial audience might get disappointed with the “real deal”. Therefore, make sure to make mobile marketing for Millennials clear and concise. 

Leverage Their Favorite Content Types

Mobile Marketing for Millennials content types
Source: Instagram

Okay, so you’ve decided to create content that will resonate with your Millennial target audience.

Which format should you use?

According to Tapjoy, the most popular types of brand content among Millennials are:

  • Short videos
  • Memes
  • Social posts

This generation is not immune to the growing influence of short videos. More and more Millennials are starting to use TikTok. Also, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are all pushing more short-form videos to their mobile screens.

As we mentioned before, Gen Y digs brand humor. One of the best ways to cater to them is by communicating with them through memes. Using social media for a long time, Millennials practically invented the meme culture. They’ve seen thousands of memes, and you’ll need to be innovative to strike a chord with them.

According to research, this generation actively uses social media to research new brands (Tapjoy). Since Millennials are most active on Facebook and Instagram, these are the social media channels where you want to reach them.

Besides placing your ads on these platforms, also make sure your app’s social media pages are updated and responsive. This way, you will make sure that they don’t perceive your brand as shady and questionable.

Use Some of the Same Strategies as for Gen Z

Millennials and Gen Z are definitely separate groups with different preferences.

However, there are some tactics that marketers can use for both. The thing is, some Millennials, especially younger ones, follow Gen Z trends.

Short-form videos and memes are not the only strategies you can use for both of these generations. Here are some other things that can spark the attention of both generations:

  • Influencer content
  • Highlighting your company values
  • User-generated content
  • Mobile streaming

Make Your Ads Rewarding

Mobile Marketing for Millennials: rewarded video ads

If you’re looking to get your app discovered through other apps, note this.

Millennials like ads that offer some kind of value exchange.

According to Tapjoy, 59% of members of this generation say they prefer rewarded ads over other ad formats. This is more than for all other age groups and refers to rewarded video ads and offerwalls.

Also, if you’re a developer looking to monetize a Gen Y audience, this is the ad format you should be using. If you need help maximizing your rewarded ad revenue, check out myAppFree’s solution.

Why do Millennials like rewarded ads so much?

This probably has something to do with their financial attitude.

They would rather get rewarded for their time than spend money in apps when they have rent and bills to pay.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Marketing for Millennials

To wrap things up, Millennials are a huge target audience for mobile marketers.

If you understand their habits and choices, you’ll be able to speak to them in a way they will listen. Make sure to reach them where they spend most of their mobile time and spark their curiosity.

Want to read more articles like this one about mobile marketing for Millennials? Subscribe to our newsletter, we’ve got plenty more to come!

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