The Mobile Millennial: 3 Truths about Millennials’ Phone Habits—and Tips on How to Reach Them

by Jessica Michaels

Understanding how and why millennials use their phones isn’t always easy—especially when, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, over a third of Gen Yers regularly whip out their phones without absolutely no motive in mind. What we do know is that some of them use phones to avoid real-life human contact, and that almost half of them spend more than four hours on their mobile devices each day.

What’s more surprising, though, are the ways in which millennial phone use isn’t all that different from their elders—including the fact that, in between texting and snapping selfies, they’re actually using their phones to make calls.

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Truth 1: Millennials make more calls than other demographics.

Not only are millennials using their phones to make calls, but they’re also making more calls than older demographics. Their minutes are increasing year-to-year, and a recent survey shows that 37 percent of millennials make five or more calls per day, while only 29 percent of the over-45 crowd does the same. In fact, millennials use their phones to make calls more than they do to take photos, with 79 percent making one or more calls daily, while only 17 percent snap daily selfies.

Tip: Optimize for mobile.

Millennials aren’t placing more calls because they’re inherently chatty; it’s because they always have their phone handy. If you want them to call you, make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. Have big, thumb-friendly touch-points for important information and make sure your street address triggers directions or maps, your email address triggers email messages, and your phone number triggers calls.

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Truth 2: Social media isn’t everything.

No millennial-seeking marketer in their right mind would dare forego social media; it’s a great way to build brand recognition. But when it comes to actually connecting with a business, two-thirds of millennials prefer calling, while less than a quarter reach out through social media. And when it’s a service issue that needs resolving, 76 percent will choose calling or emailing, while only one percent seek solutions through social media.

Tip: Don’t try to sell or solve problems through social media.

Show your expertise and engagement through social media, but have other easy-to-access knowledge bases or contact info for selling or servicing existing customers. Hard sells fall flat on Facebook because millennials don’t go there to shop. And attempting to navigate customers’ problems across social channels potentially advertises your shortcomings to the entire Internet—and that’s not the kind of social presence you need.

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Truth 3: They won’t answer.

While it’s clear that millennials make calls and understand that some things are too nuanced to text, there’s one aspect of phone calling that they eschew: inbound business sales calls. Millennials consider unexpected calls disruptive, time-consuming, and a bit presumptuous.

Tip: Don’t call them, they’ll call you.

Millennials are why inbound marketing exists. Instead of wasting time and money trying to get twenty-somethings to answer unknown numbers, build your brand online, through interactive and experiential marketing—all also big with millennials. Make your value apparent and make connecting easy, and they’ll come to you.

Optimize your marketing campaigns with call tracking

Millennials have phones and are willing to use them—on their terms. Follow their rules and Generation Y will click and tap their way into your business—even if it means making a phone call.

Discover how call tracking can be a critical source of data for your business. Know which ads are working, which agents are performing, and make the most of every call.