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The importance of smartphones to young people would not come as a surprise to many people. But new research published by Google and Ipsos indicates that mobile technology has the potential to achieve a large impact for advertisers and marketers. According to the research, smartphones have outstanding transformative potential, and can create an impression on the key 18 to 34 demographic that no other platform can achieve.

Google and Ipsos Study

On a typical day, the Google and Ipsos study found that smartphones connect with young people more than any other device, or form of media. It was also found that viewing video on smartphones is far more absorbing than television. Apparently young people seem to be considerably less distracted when utilising smartphones for video viewing than other devices and platforms.

Google firstly begins the report by pointing of all the minutes watched on YouTube, 40 percent is now on smartphone platforms. This presents a massive opportunity for brand marketers, particularly as it is well known that smartphone users also represent a particular young demographic.

However, smartphone advertising does pose conundrums for marketers and advertisers. The advertising space involved with a smartphone can be no larger than a playing card, so effectively capturing the attention of consumers can be challenging in this medium. In order to provide useful and actionable data to address this issue, Google and Ipsos analysed the behaviour of 1,519 smartphone owners aged 18 to 34 year-olds. The results will be of interest to all tourism companies and digital marketers.

In order to assess the behaviour of the subjects accurately, Google and Ipsos requested everyone involved in the report to keep a detailed diary of all of their online and offline video interactions for a day. Participants were then spaced across weekends and weekdays to get a truly representative snapshot of young people's behaviour.

The research also necessitated respondents utilising a mobile application, hence the fact that results within the survey are limited to the millennial group, and those who own a smartphone. Of course, it hardly need be pointed out that this applies to the overwhelming majority of 18-34 year-olds anyway. MRI figures indicate that more than four in five individuals aged between 18 and 34 currently own a smartphone.

Absorbing Mobile

The results from the survey indicated that when millennials watch video on smartphones, they are far less distracted than when watching video on any other screen, including TV. In the average day, 98 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds utilised smartphones to watch video at some stage. Unsurprisingly, this was a larger reach for the mobile platform than for any other device.

Aside from the undoubtedly broad base of smartphones among milennials, that research also went into deeper behavioural parameters. Google and Ipsos found that video watching on TV was a sole activity just 28 percent of the time among participants, with the survey individuals also participating in other activities for the majority of the time that they were watching television.

By contrast, video watching was the sole activity for 53 percent of mobile video sessions, indicating clearly that young people are far more engaged with mobile. What this obviously means for digital marketers is that attempting to reach young people through mobile should obviously be a major priority. It seems quite clear from the Google-led survey that millennials can be reached in a much more sustained way through mobile platforms, which is of course the aim of all advertising.

Mobile is also changing the traditional venue within which advertising is consumed. Traditionally this has taken place within the living-room, but the survey showed that 34 percent of mobile video minutes were actually consumed while people were out and about. While marketers have traditionally sought to target consumers while they are in the home, mobile platforms are changing this perception and creating a much more fluid audience.

The Multi-Screen World

What the survey emphasises is the multi-screen world in which young people in particular are living today. Mobile shouldn't really be considered a second screen; the behaviours inherent within this survey actually suggest that it is a primary source for consuming content. Cross-channel campaigns are extremely valuable, but increasingly digital marketers must think of mobile devices and platforms as being central to advertising.

Additionally, creating in-the-moment experiences can be valuable when attempting to target mobile users consuming content on the go. Both companies and destinations can now reach people virtually anywhere, and there are already novel examples of companies who have paid particular heed to this phenomenon.

Thus, Volkswagen's SmileDrive app used the power of mobile and YouTube to turn people's morning commute into a shareable experience. This was hugely successful for the vehicle manufacturer, as it reached more than 200,000 people with the campaign, and captured most of them via non-traditional means.

The Digital Tourism Think Tank has reported numerous times on the importance of mobile in every stage of the purchasing funnel for contemporary tourist consumers. The Google and Ipsos further underlines this important and increasingly tangible trend.

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