Shock news - mobile and social consumers don't want irrelevant ads

Amy Kean, head of futures at Havas Media
Amy Kean, head of futures at Havas Media

Marketers seem reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace mass personalisation, writes Amy Kean, head of futures at Havas Media.

Consumers want relevance. Let me just give you a second to climb back onto your chair and rub your eyes in disbelief.  Back in the room? Brace yourselves again. Because, what’s more, Millennials have even higher expectations when it comes to the way that brands use social media and mobile to communicate with them, so the more relevant the message the more likely they are to respond.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? So why is relevance and personalisation not at the top of every brand’s agenda, when consumers are telling us this is exactly what they want? 

Why is relevance and personalisation not at the top of every brand’s agenda, when consumers are telling us this is exactly what they want?

Havas Media Labs and Weve recently conducted a national study (see below) amongst 3,000 social and mobile users to discover how consumers wanted to be spoken to across apps, mobile sites and social networks. And we found that when it comes to branded communications the younger generation want local, personalised, and relevant messaging, and they want it to look similar to the content they already love. 

The resounding message from young consumers was "I'll let you advertise to me... Just give me what I need and don't make a big deal out of it." Because for brands looking to target this hard to reach audience it's all about trust, and loyalty – you need to work hard to win these consumers over but when you do, over half (52%) are happy to be contacted via social and mobile once they're already a customer. 

So if you’re looking to win over the Millennial, according to our research here’s some simple steps that you should be taking.

Act local

The mobile mindset is one of spontaneity and quite often boredom, with users either looking to fill some time on their travels or searching with a very specific purpose. So for brands, this presents the perfect opportunity to hit their target audience at the right time and literally in the right place but to make it personal, too.  Over 4 in 10 respondents (41%) are happy for brands to send text messages based on location with permission, and over a third (35%) of 16-24s think it's OK for brands to serve banner ads based on something that they've recently searched for.

Keep it native

A third of young people prefer ads on social networks and mobiles to look the same as content they're consuming e.g. adverts in their newsfeed or a tweet that has been promoted by a brand. So talk to these consumers in the same way they’d talk to you on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and maybe give the hard-sell a miss in favour of more engaging content. Don’t just think about format, editorial style is important too – Millennials want a human tone, sales speak will just go over their heads.

Use big, media or small-sized data

Make the most of the wealth of data within your CRM system to customise the mobile experience and give extra incentives for interaction. Wherever possible encourage your audience to login to these experiences through Facebook or Twitter to access additional (and essential) social info. By using Facebook and Twitter data to understand what else your audience actively ‘like’ and ‘follow’ you can make sure your content is based on what they (not you) enjoy.

There’s been a great deal of commentary about how mass personalisation and tailored content should be the future of branded communication, yet many marketers seem reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace the trend. Does Coca-Cola always have to be the brand that leads the way?

Taking local marketing, data and content isn’t innovative anymore, nor should it sit within the remit of simply forward-thinking brands - it should be a mainstay of modern marketing. The fact is if your brand isn’t doing this stuff now – upon request from consumers – it’s likely that your audience may disengage in favour of a brand that understands them better than you do.

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