What Does It Take for Millennials to Notice Your App?

It is no surprise that tech-savvy, innovative millennials account for a huge chunk of smartphone users. After all, many of them value their phones so much that they’d rather lose their car instead. With such high value that millennials place on their precious phones, mobile marketers all over the world can agree that this generation is where the money lies. In the United States alone, millennials represent $200 billion in annual buying power, hence their ability to drive the biggest changes in various industries across the board.

Therefore, if there is a single effective way to reach millennials, it is through mobile apps. Oracle’s latest research revealed that millennials use apps for a wide range of activities, which is why they are also dubbed as the “app generation.” But simply having an app for your business does not guarantee that revenue will start pouring in from the pockets of millennials.

“One reason why millennials tend to be an elusive audience is that C-level executives are not putting enough emphasis on learning more about their behaviors,” noted Luke Ahn, Fronto CEO and Entrepreneur contributor. “There are currently a lot of generalizations about millennials, and while some of the broad trends are accurate, one of the most challenging aspects of marketing to millennials is understanding the ways that they are truly different from previous generations.”

This generation is certainly not easy to please, but Oracle’s study has shown that there are ways in which marketers can tap into the fancy of millennials. It can all be summarized in two words: user experience.

User experience trumps all

According to Oracle’s report, 55 percent of millennials would put off using a company’s products or services because of poor app experience. In fact, 39 percent of them would also be less likely to recommend a company’s products or services to others because of it, while 27 percent said that a poor app experience would result in a negative view of that organization’s products and services.

For many millennials, app experience has something to do with the performance of the app. Of the top five reasons millennials reported not wanting to use an app, three of them involved app performance. The number one reason why they uninstall an app was poor speed at 63 percent, the fourth was poor design or interface at 49 percent, and the fifth was less functionality compared to a computer at 35 percent.

This could easily explain why apps with minimalistic interfaces are popular among millennials. For instance, dating app Tinder became an instant sensation with its easy to use “swipe left, swipe right” interface that follows a simple yes/no algorithm. Another example is Path, a social networking app that can be accessed sequentially, giving necessary focus to each feature so that users understand what is required of them.

Thankfully, many developers are now realizing that the way an application looks and operates is imperative to its success. An example of this is the new Born2Invest app, a business and finance news app that delivers news from the most trusted sources in 80-word snippets. There is no need to scroll up or down as all the information needed is contained on the screen. The user simply has to swipe left to read the next headline and summary, and if he wants to read more, he has to click the “Read More” button to access the source story.

Make it personalized

Aside from performance, millennials also value a personalized user experience. “An engaging and personalized user experience has become the new weapon in the battle to attract and retain millennial customers,” said Suhas Uliyar, vice president of Mobile Strategy and Product Management at Oracle. “Businesses that cannot add value for customers with a more convenient, functional, and relevant mobile experience have little chance of coming out on the top.”

But personalization is a tricky thing. An astounding 85 percent of millennials surveyed by Oracle said that they hate receiving unsolicited communications in the form of push notifications, saying that they would rather not receive them at all, even if they are personalized to their needs. However, 67 percent of them said that they would like to receive regular updates through an app, as long as it isn’t too frequent and redundant.

Where customization matters is the ability of the app to respond to their unique needs. In fact, millennials are more than willing to pay for apps that meet their needs, such as those that let them purchase a product or service from the app and those that allow them to communicate issues and complaints.

“Organizations will need to provide app-based services that deftly tread the line between helpfulness and overbearingness if they want to tap into young people’s affinity for using mobile and tablet apps without alienating them,” Uliyar said.

Developing apps for millennials is all about paying attention to their needs, performance-wise and content-wise. Once those things are unlocked, getting your share of the $200-billion millennial money becomes a lot easier.

Emma Cox

Emma Cox is a published writer covering the finance, technology, and healthcare beats. She's a fan of spoken-word content and has a rich collection of spirits on her shelves. Her articles have appeared on various news and features websites. She's a contributor of Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Technology.org, Mine Site, and many more.