Think Millennials are mindless youngsters hopelessly enthralled by mobile ads? Think again.
The viewpoints of peers and colleagues, as well as offers of money-saving discounts, may matter to them as much as they do to 40-year old homemakers.
True, it’s a demographic worth milking. Marketers want to reach the 19 million-plus U.S. college students who wield both influence and spending money.
And they’ll be “poised to outearn and outspend noncollege Millennials for decades to come,” according to a new eMarketer report, “US College Students 101: Updating Fundamental Facts About This Diverse, Digital Cohort.”
“An October 2014 Student Monitor survey probed students’ preferences in the media through which they learn about products and services. Internet ads got more mentions than TV ads, albeit not by a vast margin,” says eMarketer. “Email messaging had a significant constituency, despite the popular notion that young people regard email as hopelessly old-fashioned. Not registering in double digits (and, hence, not included in the chart here) were ads in campus or national newspapers, printed catalogs. and information on a company’s Facebook page.”
Interestingly, Facebook remains the social venue where students are most likely to interact with brands, according to a July 2014 survey by ID.me. That survey showed that 86.2 percent of American college students admitted following brands on the social network. The runner-up? Instagram, with a 43.3 percent take.
“Smartphones and tablets also come into play in students’ shopping, especially for research,” noted eMarketer. “But as a July 2014 survey for the National Retail Federation found, this tendency has plenty of abstainers. More than four in 10 respondents said they did not plan to use their phone or tablet for researching or buying back-to-school items.”
The bad news? For mobile marketers it’s recent research by Ball State University suggesting that young people are annoyed by mobile ads.
“About 65 percent of students report receiving mobile ads, and 70 percent of them don’t like it,” according to Michael Hanley, an advertising professor and also the director of the university’s Institute for Mobile Media Research.
In the final analysis, peer opinions and coupons may matter most.
That’s not all bad. Those, as savvy marketers know, can be promoted via mobile, too.