Jun 30


My Blackberry is my best friend. It is practically glued to my hand. I never leave the house without it, it rests next to me on the table during all my meals, and ever so nicely wakes me up in the morning to the sound of Jason Mraz’s, “I’m Yours.” If you had asked me ten years ago if I thought I would be more dependent on a little handheld device than I am to my parents or best friends, I would have thought you were crazy. The concept of being completely and totally attached to a wireless phone was not something that most people would have predicted. Although the “main” purpose of a cell phone is to make phone calls, I personally think that phone calls only account for about 40% of my phone usage. Most of the time I am texting, Facebooking, Googling, or listening to music. The evolution of the cell phone has exceeded all expectations and the influence it has on teen life today is extraordinary. Mobile advertising companies have caught onto this phenomenon and are using it to their full advantage, trying to catch the attention of their consumers. But, the question is, are their advertisements targeting the correct crowd?

Young people, ages 13-24, have become key targets for mobile advertisers. Consumer researcher Nielsen reported “teens are the ‘heaviest mobile video viewers’ watching 7 hours, 13 minutes of mobile video monthly in the last quarter of 2010,” which is higher than the amount of hours they spend watching videos from a computer.  Initially, these numbers seem high, but in reality this makes complete sense.  I always have my phone with me so why would I make the effort to go find my computer if I can do everything that my computer does on my cell phone. Also, Nielsen reported that “teens 13 to 17 send an ‘average of 3,364 mobile texts per month.’” This means they are sending an average of about 115 texts per day, indicating that teens must be on their phones all day long. In turn, teenagers have become the main target for mobile advertisers since “new reports show that teens are more receptive to mobile advertising than older folks.”

Teens Using Mobile Devices

But, the underlying question about mobile advertising is, why are these mobile advertisers not targeting teen’s interests? Most of the advertisements I receive on my phone are geared more toward an older generation. These ads normally promote more expensive products that teens cannot afford or products that are not of interest to the youth. For example, I am not interested saving an extra 15% on jewelry for Mother’s Day or a free game of golf at some nice country club. If I am going to have banners scrolling on the top of my webpage or getting advertising texts, I would much rather have it be about something in which I am interested. If teenagers are mobile advertiser’s main targets, then why are they not advertising to their interests? I personally think that a link to a band’s website, notifications about new album releases or texts about upcoming concerts would be much more useful and advantageous to teens than a free golf game. Mobile advertising should be more directed toward music, sports, and games verses gadgets, jewelry, and new cars. So for all you mobile advertisers out there, maybe the time has come to reevaluate what you are advertising and to whom it is targeted.  You would score more points – and make more money – with teens if you started promoting relevant products to teens. As a Blackberry addict who never puts down her phone, and social media fanatic who spends much of her time on Facebook and Twitter, I understand how significant we are as a buying group… We just aren’t interested in Neutrogena Age Defying Wrinkle Cream.