Mythbusting: 3 Mobile Misconceptions

Written by

Ruth Rich

Senior Copy Editor

Ruth brings a passion for new word order to our content. Hers is the final say when it comes to comma placement, the judicious use of an exclamation point and the adherence to consistency and following each client’s tone and editorial style. Whether it’s Web content, an ad, a blog article or a social post, Ruth wields her knowledge and enthusiasm for getting messages understood in the service of clarity and effectiveness. With more than 18 years of experience—the majority of them spent at Fitch Ratings and BFT—Ruth’s skills in editing, writing and project management help us maintain the quality of the content we produce.

Today, copy literally has only a few seconds to make its impact. Within those seconds it needs to be concise, informative and, above all, engaging.

Fast Facts:

  • Curator of the office radio playlist.
  • Heart of a Chicagoan, product of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Knows her skater slang.

Nobody likes to be labeled. Being painted with broad strokes rarely captures a true likeness and can lead to false impressions about mindsets, values and communication preferences.

We see evidence of this when it comes to grouping target audiences by generation. It’s an action that easily leads to focusing on commonalities to the exclusion of differences. As a recent article pointed out, “Speaking in such broad terms also misses differences within a generation.”1 But, more significantly, it can lead to misdirection in marketing strategy and communication tactics.

For instance, much has been written about how different generations use mobile technology and how best to market based on these assumptions. While these ideas may have proved good guides several years ago, the use of technology has not remained generationally static—we are essentially all Millennials now. Here are three myths about generational mobile use in dire need of busting:

Myth #1: Mobile engagement decreases with age.

While the overwhelming perception is that younger people, particularly teens, are glued to their smartphones, Priceonomics cites a 2015 study by Informate that found people between the ages of 25\’9654 spent more time on their phones than teenagers.2 Not only does this finding buck the notion that mobile is the realm of the young, it also shows that the individuals who are identified as the most active fall into three established generational groups—Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers—making the age group distinction less meaningful.

Myth #2: Boomers are wary of using apps.

According to a recent study conducted by Apptentive, Baby Boomers are actively using mobile-banking apps at a rate (60%) that is close to that of both Millenials (64%) and Generation X (67%).3 Robi Ganguly, CEO of Apptentive, argues that this finding should be the basis for taking a fresh look at how demographics are being used within all industries. He also suggests this represents the jumping off point for end products that are inclusive and not geared toward one particular generational group.

Myth #3: Older generations use smartphones primarily for making calls.

Believe this myth, and you’ll be missing out on one of your most important demographics. A report from the Pew Research Center showed that 92% of adults 50+ use text messaging, while 80% use their smartphone to connect to the Internet and 87% use their phone for email purposes.4

[1] Farhad Manjoo, “Corporate America Chases the Mythical Millennial,” nytimes.com, posted May 25, 2016, retrieved May 31, 2016.

[2] Alex Mayyasi, “Which Generation Is Most Distracted by Their Phones?” priceonomics.com, posted Feb. 26, 2016, retrieved May 31, 2016.

[3] Robi Ganguly, “The Non-Existent Generational Gap in Mobile Banking,” huffingtonpost.com, posted Jan. 27, 2016, retrieved May 31, 2016.

[4] Aaron Smith, “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015,” pewinterest.org, posted April 1, 2015, retrieved May 31, 2016.