Millennials – and younger ones in particular – are voracious content consumers across all media channels – television, online, games, apps and mobile. These teens are an attractive demographic that marketers are eager to capture through traditional and emerging channels alike. The greatest opportunity comes by creating and leveraging connections between the channels teens rely on, and nowhere is that truer than the screens that matter most: television and mobile devices. Unfortunately, few have figured out how to drive measurable cross-screen engagement. That needs to change and there are early signs that change is beginning.
Teenagers are among the most active participants in the app ecosystem. Consider these numbers: ComScore data finds that there are about 79 million Millennials (those born after 1980) in the U.S. versus just 48 million Generation Xers. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 78% of teenagers now have smartphones and 58% of all teens have downloaded apps to their phones or tablets. There’s no doubt about it – Millennials are mobile. Furthermore, their purchasing power is estimated to be $170 billion per year – quite a hefty market opportunity.
App marketers have access to all manner of data on their customers and can use that data to engage with them more effectively to encourage greater usage and in-app purchases. At the same time, there are established and sophisticated demographic metrics on television viewership, making it possible to reach highly targeted audiences – including those made up primarily of teens. Many broadcasters are tapping into the multiscreen habits of their audiences through things like text voting on “The Voice” or phone/iPad-based zombie polls for “The Walking Dead.” This traditional second-screen relationship (mobile enhancing the television experience) is burgeoning – but few mobile marketers are thinking about the reverse opportunity: using television advertisements to drive mobile engagement.
The reach and impact of television make it great for delivering powerful images and messages that resonate with people. This power has been primarily used for brand advertising since TV has not been as effective for driving measurable action. For app marketers who depend on performance campaigns to drive growth this has been a problem – but it doesn’t have to be.
App marketers are beginning to use keywords and short codes that allow them to combine the traditional benefits of TV with measurable direct marketing tactics to drive downloads and installs among teens. For example, a spot on “Nick At Night” can encourage viewers to text “fungame” to “4545” to instantly download an app or access special in-app content. This type of approach recognizes the multiscreen reality of teenage viewers and provides a way to attribute a specific consumer action to a specific TV advertisement. This solves the measurement problem that has discouraged some app marketers from taking the TV plunge in the past.
Another trend for app marketers to consider is the growing trend of teens shifting away from the larger social networks such as Facebook. As teens increasingly turn to a growing number of emerging apps and networks, exposing them to alternatives becomes a key task for marketers. Taking advantage of television's reach — combined with the actionable benefits of mobile campaign — allows app marketers to share their messages with teens while driving measurable engagement.
Creating a direct link between mobile and TV turns the traditional second-screen model upside down by leveraging television to drive downloads and increase engagement on mobile. Given the skyrocketing trend of simultaneous device use and the extremely strong market penetration of cell phones and other mobile devices among teens, combining the reach and impact of television with the performance and measurement of digital creates a powerful new approach to the app marketing mix.