Mobile Is Top Ad Medium For Gen Z, Millennial College Students

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has released a study conducted with Qriously this week showing that smartphones are the best way to reach college-age students with advertising.

“Today’s college students are leading mobile first lives -- and will surely take their mobile-first mindset with them into the world after graduation,” states Anna Bager, SVP/GM, mobile and video, IAB.

Students were 6% more likely to cite their mobile phone as a medium through which they see relevant ads, with male college students being more likely than females to cite phones as a relevant medium. Only 19% of male students felt that way about TV.

About 49% of average smartphone owners report having acted on an ad they have seen on their smartphones, while 55% of students polled indicated that they have taken an action based on a mobile ad. However, those actions tend to be a little more complex than what most marketers are used to measuring. 

College students are more likely to search for additional information based on an ad than the average user (13% vs 9.5%), or take a screenshot of an ad (13% vs 7%), but are less likely to tap on a mobile ad (12% vs 16%).

Three in four college students said they make purchases on their smartphones. Mobile ecommerce has seen its fair share of criticism for having many friction points — brands haven’t typically optimized shopping for mobile, but it appears that millennials are somewhat willing to persevere for the purchase.

GfK MRI’s recent “Survey of the American Consumer” reported that well-educated female millennials are more likely to make video calls than other demographics, and that those calls would originate on a mobile phone rather than a tablet or e-reader.

All of this information is adding more evidence to the growing movement of mobile-first marketing for millennials.

2 comments about "Mobile Is Top Ad Medium For Gen Z, Millennial College Students".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, September 29, 2015 at 6:36 p.m.

    I would love to see longitudinal studies on this basis.

    Recontacting the same respondents and asking them the same questions in five years time when they are in work, then also recontacting them again in ten years time when they are in relationships or have a family would be most revealing.

    Go back ten years and look at the time spent viewing by 16-24 year olds - the ones deserting TV for ever.   Now look at the viewing for 25-39 year olds (of which the prievious 16-24s comprise the majority) - it will be down on decade old viewing for 25-39 year olds (as TV fragments and wanes) but up on the decade old 16-24 year old viewing.

    I don't have the US data but would love to see the answer!

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 30, 2015 at 7:59 a.m.

    John, it's rather difficult to get a good read on ten-year shifts in viewing by age due to the changing landscape of viewing options and the way the older data was measured and reported. The latest Nielsen data---2nd Qtr 2015--- shows an average per-capita traditional TV viewing ( live plus DVR delayed ) of 16:32 per week for teens aged 12-17, 16:26 for adults aged 18-24, 22:09 for the 25-34s, 29:17 for the 35-49s, 39:55 for the 50-64s and 48:02 for the 65+ members of Nielsen's panel. So it's generally fair to say that traditional TV viewing has risen, in the past, beyond the age of 24 as more and more people get married, settle down, are home more often, etc.

    I should note, however, that the diversion to other forms of video consumption is far greater than before, especially at the younger end of the age spectrum, so it's not a given that the added time with TV as the 12-24 group ages will all go to traditional TV. Some will but a good deal may not. As a guess, I would say that there is probably a 15- year cycle developing that replaces the old 10-year one. In other words, the way things are going, it may take a 20-year-old- 10-15 years to begin to up his/her traditional TV consumption, instead of 5-10 years as in the past. As a result---long run---tradional TV will slant increasingly older in audience tonnage.

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