Mobile Gaming USA East: How developers can reach the ever elusive 'millennials'

The medium is everything

Mobile Gaming USA East: How developers can reach the ever elusive 'millennials'
One of the biggest challenges for both developers and publishers is successfully reaching out to a target demographic, whatever demographic that may be.

Of all the demographics, none have been as alluring - and, indeed, elusive - as the 'millennials'.

This group is defined as having easy access to computers - and no memories of communism - making up almost 25 per cent of the US population.

Indeed, they're fast becoming a global purchasing powerhouse.

The millennial question

Yet, for all the potential dollars to be made, millennials are often more savvy at social media than the brands that are trying to pitch apps to them.

So, how can you help a brand best appeal to this demographic - and, even more importantly, should you even bother to try?

ARC's Benjamin Cavallari, WildTangent's Mark Donohue, Paltalk's Wilson Kriegel, and Mindgrub Technologies's Todd Marks took the topic to task at Mobile Gaming USA East in New York, and they came up with some interesting conclusions.

Gen Y not?

As millennials mature, they're only going to become a larger marketshare to consider, so many brands are choosing to engage them with custom-built apps.

In order to help these brands along, the first thing for a developer to consider is how they can identify the best game to communicate their client's needs.

A car insurance company looking to build brand awareness amongst college students, for example, isn't facing an easy task. Banner ads historically don’t appeal to millennials and car insurance is, unfortunately, not a terribly exciting industry.

To compensate for this, Mindgrub created a photobombing app that allowed users to insert a funny picture of the GEICO Caveman into their smartphone-snapped photos.

This translated quite well to sharing the brand on social media channels, and each picture snapped reinforced the brand awareness that GEICO was looking for.

Distribution and longevity

Once the appropriate app is identified, the next big challenge is getting the app out there.

Marks had this to say on the subject of distribution, "You want it to go viral, but it comes down to the end user and what they want. The best games are going to be the ones that they tell their friends about."

To this end, the 'photobombing' app was a masterstroke as the core product it delivered encouraged users to share the brand's message along with their photos.

Ultimately, this also teaches us that an app is going to get traction, it all comes down to user engagement and retention.

If you make an app that millennials are excited about playing, it will be easy to slide a brand's message along with the download.

US Correspondent

Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.