How Carriers Can Win Back the Digital Generation Featured

How Carriers Can Win Back the Digital Generation Image Credit: dolgachov/

When media becomes instant, consumption goes up. Just look at the changes in how we consume content over the recent years. In a short time, we’ve gone from newspapers, radio and TV, to more mobile, more on the go, and more frequently. New tech innovation is also changing the ways we discover content, including Google’s AMP, the Play Store’s Instant Games and Facebook’s Instant Articles. Convenience and speed are paramount.

However, there remains a massive opportunity to transform more “snackable” media discovery - that is, discovering satisfying media when you don’t have the time for a new Netflix video or Clash of Clans grind. This multi-billion dollar opportunity is biggest for the younger digital generation, and it has fallen right into the hands of wireless carriers and OEMs.

These youngsters unlock their mobile devices an average of 52 times a day - and with unlimited data plans, why wouldn’t they? They will pick up their phones to entertain themselves without a particular app or goal in mind when they do it - making them “appnostic” consumers. They’re just looking to be amused and engaged by whatever content catches their eye.

Research shows that when comparing 18-24 year olds to 25-55 year olds, the younger generation is 18 percent more likely to be very interested in new mobile content discovery solutions overall, and 60 percent more likely to be interested in agents that proactively recommend content.

Interestingly, these younger audiences are generally happy with their carriers. That offers them an opportunity to build relationships and win more loyalty and revenue from young power-users - while stealing some market share from Facebook and other media darlings.

So, let’s take a closer look at these users in an effort to better understand the opportunity at hand.

Young mobile users - ages 18 to 24 - lead a more mobile lifestyle overall, even as compared to their older Gen Y peers

They unlock far more frequently. These young adults unlock their phones 52 times each day, whereas those over 25 unlock theirs less than half as often - only 21 times per day.

They consume more media on their mobiles. The 18-24 years olds are twice as likely to use media apps for news or entertainment than the 25+ crowd. The younger crowd will use these apps upward of 10 times per day.

They exhibit more “appnostic” behavior. Young mobile users are more likely to unlock their phones without any specific purpose or app in mind - simply to kill time. While 57.1 percent of the 25-and-up group will agree that they use their phones for this purpose (or lack thereof), more than 70 percent of 18-24 year olds own up to this.

These younger uses also tend to be happier with their carriers

Among the 18-to-24 crowd, only 4.7 percent have a negative opinion of their carrier, in comparison to the over-25s, who show a slightly higher rate of dissatisfaction - 6.2 percent.

Unlike the generations before them, these younger subscribers never experienced years of poor customer service, bad bundles and ridiculously high rates that many of the original mobile consumers were forced to deal with. They’re able to enter into relationships unencumbered by the memory of years of awful treatment. For them, a relationship with a mobile carrier is still new and fresh.

A lot of this carrier love may be more device-related than anything else. Who wouldn’t love the carrier that gave them an iPhone X, after all?

Most importantly, these young mobile and digital natives are more open to new ideas. Particularly, given their tendency toward appnostic behavior, these consumers are more interested in new ways to discover content on their devices

Sixty-nine percent of young users are interested in new content discovery services, about 10 percent more likely than the over 25 set (63 percent of whom were interested).

They’re also more interested in feeds - and far less interested in push notifications.

What does all this mean? For carriers and OEMs, all this new data adds up to a greater opportunity to build loyalty amongst younger mobile users. With appnostic young adults picking up their phones multiple times a day, carriers and OEMs have an opportunity to develop novel mechanisms for delivering entertaining and engaging media content. By finding ways to keep these young people more satisfied with their mobile experiences, carriers can strengthen their relationships with subscribers, and OEMs can add more useful functionality to handsets that users will love.

These on-the-go consumers are looking to their phones to occupy their time, which opens up a tremendous opportunity to make smartphones serve this purpose more effectively. Today, users have to actively look to open the “right” social media app, the “right” news app, the “right” game or some other app to serve up curated experiences. That may not sound like a lot of work, but mobile subscribers are actually looking for better ways to accomplish this - or have it done for them.

By making the device the agent that discovers and presents curated content, carriers and OEMS can make improved mobile content discovery a new way to create subscriber value. Seamlessly presenting valued content subscribers’ handsets could be the key to engaging younger users - and transforming them into lifelong customers.

Greg Wester is the Chief Marketing Officer at Mobile Posse. He is a 20+ year veteran of interactive marketing and advertising. He has held leadership roles in areas spanning the areas of business development, corporate strategy, campaign optimization, research, and advertising sales. Prior to Mobile Posse, Greg was COO at VoodooVox where he lead advertising sales and all sales, marketing and PR operating functions.


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