Nielsen: Generations React Differently to Mobile Ads

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — With the ability to reach consumers via mobile marketing, it is important for retailers to understand how different generations engage with mobile advertisements and their greatest motivators for engagement are, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2016 Connected Device Report.

The market research found that 19 percent of millennials, 17 percent of Gen Xers and 14 percent of baby boomers find viewing an ad with a coupon or promotion to be the top motivator when engaging ads on a smartphone. Comparatively, Gen Z and the Greatest Generation consumers are most motivated by an ad targeted at their search topic.

However, the greatest motivator for Gen Z changes when they view mobile advertisements on their tablets. When viewing mobile ads on their tablet, this generation is 16 percent more likely to engage with an ad of a familiar brand, while 14 percent are motivated by an ad with a coupon or promotion.

Millennials (44 percent) and Gen Z consumers (42 percent) who use smartphones said they are OK with mobile advertising as long as the content they’re engaging in is free and their data plan doesn’t take a hit as a result. Overall, convenience is important to them, with 32 percent of both generations noting they will click on an ad that doesn’t take them outside of an application or redirect them to another website.

When it comes to interacting with mobile devices, there are generational differences as well. Younger smartphone users are more willing than older ones to reveal some of their personal details in exchange for free or reduced-cost content. Gen Z consumers (55 percent) and millennials (48 percent) are willing to take action on an ad if given the right mix of branding, convenience and promotional offering, whereas Gen X, baby boomers and the Greatest Generation tend to be more skeptical of releasing their personal info, deal or no deal.

The takeaway for retailers? “Mobile ads could be a good way to reach consumers — especially if they come with offers and promotions. As for engaging with people across the generational divide — make it personal, make it relevant and throw in a discount for good measure,” Nielsen advised.

The full 2016 Connected Device Report can be found here.