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  • By: Brian Young


My generation hates being told and sold. How do brands reach a market working so hard to avoid traditional advertisements? On mobile.

Netflix and Spotify now have 181 million users that are paying to avoid ads.

In the past, ads solved the consumer’s problem, but now they are a consumer problem. Millennials have found a way around ads. Every month 43 million people use Ad-blockers and subscription services that thrive off of millennial efforts to avoid ads. Netflix & Spotify now have 181 million users, and their adoption is only increasing. Advertisements that live on large screens and internet browsers are no longer effective. Instead they’re an easily avoided nuisance, but thats ok because there’s a new ad frontier.

The best part of millennials mobile engagement? There’s no Ad-Block in apps.

In-app advertising. Recent Pew research shows 90% of U.S. Citizens have a smartphone and the average smartphone user spends 85% of their time in apps. We, millennials, don’t go anywhere without our phones, we’re a generation who enjoys a constant connection to our family, friends, and influencers. In fact, a recent study shows that we spend more time on our phones than we do with our peers. Right now the largest consumer demographic is averaging 4.7 hours a day on mobile. The best part of millennials mobile engagement? There’s no ad-block in apps.

Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, and Instagram dominate the app ecosystem.

The app ecosystem is a big space, there are currently 2 million apps in Apple’s app store, and that number is growing. So where are millennials spending their mobile time, and where should you target your ads? It turns out the mobile world isn’t that big. The 4 brands you should care about are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.

Here’s how app usage looks by the numbers:​

  • Facebook is installed on 70% of smartphones and millennials are spending nearly an hour a day in Facebook’s app.

  • People watch 40 minutes of YouTube per day on smartphones.

  • Instagram is considered to be the most important social network amongst user 12–24 spending over 20 minutes at a time in app.

  • Snapchat has 100 million daily users who spend an average of 25–30 minutes in app and 70% of users are constantly engaging with new content.

What does this mean to you, the brand? You have a captive audience who spends half their smartphone time in apps that are friendly to brands. In apps, your commercial cannot be blocked and it's at the fingertips of your future customers. My argument is simple, you must shift to a mobile focus if you want to increase brand visibility amongst millennials. Chances are your brand already focuses on the desktop version of at least one of these platforms, which makes transition to mobile easy.

You must shift to a mobile focus if you want to increase brand visibility amongst millennials.

With a mobile push, millennials bring your brand with them. Instead of the monitor on the desk, you have a 5-inch screen and 4 apps that give you an opportunity to share your brand over the course of a millennial’s day. But the question remains, how do you make sure your effort gets millennials not only to listen, but to engage and act on your ads.

Find out in Part II: Create content, not ads.

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