The ‘Heads-Down’ Mindset: How Are Brands Reaching the Mobile Generation?

With 2016 having been deemed the year of mobile, it has become more apparent than ever that consumers are living through their phones. Brands should ignore this medium at their peril. With over 70% of UK adults owning a smartphone, how do marketers adjust their messaging to reach an ever-more inward-looking society?

Go Responsive Or Lose Out

In late 2016, global internet usage on mobile and tablet overtook desktop for the first time ever. Not only was the market share proportionally more inclined towards mobile, Google also announced last year that it would favour mobile-responsive websites in mobile search results.

It was stated in 2015 that only 11.8% of sites used responsive web design; that figure is likely to be significantly higher now that webmasters are much more aware of being left behind and edged out by competition, with potentially significant revenue losses from not serving mobile-loving customers. The browsing experience must be slicker than ever in order for customers to convert, which means page loading times, memory-sapping app downloads and page redirects are all potential killers for the customer experience.

With email now being read on mobile up to 75% of the time, marketers must ensure that their email campaigns are mobile-responsive, but also that the content is optimised for smaller screens and shorter attention spans. Scheduling should take into account key browsing times for mobile users, e.g. during lunch times and commutes.

Staying In the New Going Out?

To use the example of fast fashion, it is particularly noticeable with modern clothing brands targeting late-teen to mid-twenties demographics that being anti-social seems to be strangely encouraged, even when those brands’ bread and butter are party clothes. Memes on these brands’ social accounts are awash with themes of staying in and eating pizza, taking selfies and not wanting to party, while paradoxically being shown images of influencers/models who are ready to hit the town.

Much of the marketing content in the fashion and beauty industry is now focused on the act of getting ready. Taking photos of yourself in the mirror and therefore helping to promote products is now more normalised than writing a product review, as user-generated content becomes the new and more authentic breed of influencer marketing. This simultaneous self-promotion and brand endorsement is employed across many industries, notable examples being Starbucks’ Red Cup Contest and National Geographic’s #Wanderlust campaign.

Generation Z have been described as having a ‘heads-down’ mindset and so it is logical that brands adapt to this. The more consumers are encouraged to spend time on their phones, the more they can be exposed to marketing messages via their devices. The representation of girls getting their kicks at home relaxing and avoiding parties contrasts sharply with how previous generations of females were positioned, when the perception of women started to change with the ‘ladette’ figures of the Nineties and the Spice Girls running riot on the streets having fun together.

Encouraging consumers to go out and enjoy themselves was more aligned with both spending and recreational habits of the previous generation. This was before the rapid decline of pubs, the Noughties recession and the subsequent decay of high street shopping. Now shopping online is the new norm and watching Netflix is seen as the ultimate pastime in popular culture.

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Speaking the Language

In addition to the ideologies being represented in mobile marketing, the format of communication is more important than ever. The modern form of abbreviated text-speak is the emoji; if omitting vowels from words was time-saving, simply inserting a universally-understood cartoon is about as efficient as it gets.

To use an example from the food industry, Domino’s now allows customers to place orders using this very method. Yes, really. Pizza in exchange for emoji. Other brands – from Disney to Pepsi and even Durex – have harnessed the power of the emoji in their marketing.

If we’re looking at the increasing prominence of humorous imagery in marketing, we must also discuss the incredible success of the meme. With the average person now spending over 100 minutes per day on social media, it makes sense that clever one-liners set against attention-grabbing images are a quick and effective way of cutting through the noise. With all of the marketing messages out there, overt or not, making consumers laugh is often the best way of soliciting an authentic reaction.

The use of voice activation is also on the rise, with a report earlier this year stating that 57.8% of smartphone users use voice search and comScore predicting that 50% of all search will be by voice as soon as 2020. Google and Apple are also working on efforts to overtake Amazon as voice search technology leader, in a burgeoning tech space which hails smart speakers as the most likely successor to the smartphone. Amazon’s Alexa has dominated the market since its launch in 2014, held as the benchmark in voice-activated shopping. But in a world where the omnichannel approach is becoming ever more powerful, Google Home and Apple HomePod are catching up.

Key Takeaways

  • Using responsive web design is crucial for avoiding revenue loss, as mobile use continues to soar and demands an increasingly effortless customer experience.
  • All aspects of digital marketing campaigns must prioritise mobile users, including social, email, content, PR and SEO.
  • Use your customers’ ever-increasing love affair with mobile to your advantage; capture their attention by aligning your brand messaging accordingly and make their experience as enjoyable as possible to get them to convert.
  • Think about what your customers can get out of your marketing campaigns; for example, user-generated content gives both parties a platform.
  • Know how to speak your customer’s language; be it emoji, meme or simply honing your tone of voice to hold the attention of restless mobile users, whose online world is saturated with marketing messages.

Struggling to capture the attention of the mobile generation? Contact us to discuss how we can help.

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