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Marketers may find youth market more of a target on mobile

The youth market is always an attractive but elusive demographic to target in marketing.  For mobile marketing though, the recommendation has normally been to forget about targeting them with mobile marketing, simply because the cost of data services alone is a hindrance to get this demographic to respond.

Well, there are few trends and a couple of research reports that show that this may be changing somewhat.  First, a report from Pew Internet says that 27% of teens have accessed the internet wirelessly:

If you go up from the teen market, and consider “young adults”, you find that they are even heavier users of wireless data, especially when it comes to accessing social networks, where Pew Internet found that 81% of of online 18-29 year olds (and I doubt many of them are not online) are wireless internet users, and 72% access Facebook.  Now if you look at the growth of Facebook on mobile, you will see they recently announced passing 100m active mobile users.  If you compare that to the total of 400m active users on Facebook, it means 25% of Facebook users go mobile, where no doubt a large part of the teen/younger adults desire to access the wireless internet is due demands for always on social networking.

Another trend is that smartphones are becoming common, and no longer just in the business domain or high income domainWedbush expects over 20% of phones shipped in 2011 will be smartphones, and it is safe to assume that nearly all will be sold with some sort of data package, whether pre- or post-paid.  Smartphones, with Apple leading the way, have gone from geek to chic, as you can see from this video where young adults in Malaysia are embracing smartphones in a big way.  However, another important trend to watch is whether data is included in pre-paid plans, which is traditionally the preferred choice of the younger generation.   The following shows a snapshot of 4 different operators (Virgin Mobile and Optus in Australia, Boost in the US and 3 in the UK – click images for larger versions):

Virgin Mobile (AUS)

Optus Mobile (AUS)

Boost Mobile (USA)

3 (UK)

Plans vary, including as much as 1GB bonuses (Virgin), offering free use of major services like YouTube (Optus), unlimited access for $0.35/day (Boost), or 150mb free per month (3), which should definitely not scare away teens or young adults.

There is no doubt that if it is not broken already, the barrier to target teens – and more so young adults – with mobile marketing campaigns that goes beyond simple SMS interaction will soon be broken.

Posted in Mobile Marketing.

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One Response

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  1. JT says

    As a follow up to this article, a recent study by Nielsen confirms these numbers for Australia, where 25% of social network users access social networks on their mobile

    Also, to clarify some Twitter chatter, I am not by ANY means proposing smartphones are a pre-requisite for being targets for mobile marketing campaigns. My point is that RICH MEDIA and ENGAGEMENT campaigns beyond simple SMS/MMS interaction is enabled by the fact that DATA PLANS are becoming common. Data plan usage and offering is driven by smartphones without question. The fact that non smartphone users now get data plans is great, because these phones are perfectly capable connected devices, who up until now have not been used due to high data costs.