10 Ways to drive mobile data growth through the youth market

Next Generation Communications Blog

10 Ways to drive mobile data growth through the youth market

By Daisy Su, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Corporate Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent (@daisysu)

Last week, I talked about mobile operators are building an overall brand experience that engages young consumers because the youth segment is valuable — and do influence adult segments. In addition to creating a youth brand or a youthful brand, mobile operators must also consider how to craft specific offers that promote the “mobile data first” experience to drive mobile data growth through the youth market.

Here are the 10 ideas that can help craft the “mobile data first” offers using an online charging solution (OCS)

1. Try before you buy

There are often barriers in the way of a young person’s first purchase impulse. The same barriers also apply to buying and consuming mobile data. So help them get past these barriers with short-term promotions. For example, with a 100% discount on data for the first 3 months. Or offer 300MB for the price of 100MB, for the first 3 months. These offers can stimulate the data experience and encourage greater usage. 

2. Mobile data as a reward

Young consumers spend money on brands they love. Spend in other areas detracts from an immersive mobile data experience and spending. Mobile Apps like Kickbit working with an OCS allows consumers to get more megabytes of data in exchange for doing things like taking quick surveys, trying free trials, shopping, and watching videos. These incentives help overcome financial barriers, deepen the data experience and remove dependency on Wi-Fi. Taking the concept further, sponsored data plans and toll-free data can also help encourage youth to surf on their mobile Internet, rather than Wi-Fi, if the offers apply to the contents they enjoy frequently. 

3. My Tribe and social gamification

My Tribe, a twist on shared data plans, helps counteract churn by offering young consumers a variety of propositions, such as unlimited voice and text while on your network. It can also offer group discounts on mobile data. The bigger the tribe is (up to a designated number of the tribe), the bigger the savings the tribe members will share. This idea capitalizes on youth social groups to provide mobile data discounts and increase retention and acquisition. Solavei’s social media referral offers and Sprint’s Framliy offers started this with a total bill discount.

We all know youth today also love mobile gaming, especially multiplayer games. Mobile operators can go further leveraging the gamification concept to provide an instant discount or additional bonus allowance when the total tribal usage reaches over multi-level thresholds.

4. Subsidized or discounted subscription app and services for My Tribe

The youth market is constantly seeking the hottest and trending mobile apps and services with freemium and subscription services. Without much money left for mobile data after paying for the apps and services, they tend to enjoy them on Wi-Fi.  For example, they love WhatsApp but there’s an annual subscription fee of USD $0.99 after the initial free year. Operators could offer group discounts to the My Tribe offers with mobile data by subsidizing or discounting WhatsApp annual fees.

For instance, a community of 6 to 10 people could share a $4.99 offer, with a minimum mobile data allowance, instead of each paying $0.99 for WhatsApp usage. Offers can include other subscription-based music apps or gaming apps. These sorts of offers encourage young people to join your network and bring their friends. They also build loyalty and discourage churn.

5. A choice of subsidized apps bundle

Some young people may want unlimited WhatsApp on mobile data, and others may want unlimited Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. Etisalat has launched unlimited social bundles for a day or a month to tailor to their youth market. Why not let young people select which apps they would like to use in discounted or free mode since they fall in and out of love with mobile apps quite frequently. For example, the enhanced offer could be for a maximum of 3 apps to be included in the social app bundle, chosen from a pre-curated pool. And the discount could be in the form of a bucket of data associated with those apps, either capped or unlimited. A good practice for the mobile operators is to understand the network and usage impacts of mobile apps before curating such a pool of apps.

6. 200MB free each month when purchasing a tablet

We know from research that the youth market loves using tablets and that the growth of media-rich traffic like video is partly driven by tablet usage. Offering an incentive to use tablets will push up data consumption. Tablets could be offered with a free monthly allowance of 200MB of mobile data. Today, T-Mobile USA is offering free 2G data for life with up to 200MB of free 4G LTE data each month for as long as customers own the tablets purchased from T-Mobile.

7. Device-based discount on mobile data

The youth market is very loyal to particular mobile device brands and models and will be attracted to networks that offer the models they like. Attract the youth market to your brand by bundling the leading mobile devices with a discounted data bundle offer. Alternatively, mobile tablets can be bundled with a promotional, discounted data plan per MB, rather than feature phones, to encourage young consumers to surf the Internet freely on mobile tablets in places where Wi-Fi isn’t readily available. This will also help with the uptake of mobile tablet sales.

8. IOU for mobile data

Often implemented in prepaid services, this IOU (I owe you) idea is to advance an allowance from the next payment cycle to help promote a positive user experience. When users reach their data cap, their session simply stops until a top-up is made. The top-up takes time so the youth loses the opportunity to finish their data session, giving a poor user experience. To improve this situation, the youth could receive a flash screen message offering a nominal amount of mobile data, the cost of which will be deducted from their next top-up or next month’s payment.

9. Emergency bandwidth for a week

Often, young data users wait and move into Wi-Fi coverage to continue surfing on the Internet when they run out of mobile data. For existing customers, a cheap, emergency week-long pass for mobile data can be sold to tide the user over when a data bundle expires. It gives the youth market the option to buy either cheap, unlimited, low-bandwidth data or discounted, premium high-speed mobile data for a week. This lets them continue to use data for a nominal fee within their budget before the next bundle kicks in. 

10. Bridge mobile data offer between Wi-Fi hotspots

The youth market is tribal and doesn’t have much money. They meet in groups in free Wi-Fi hotspots, consume data and then stop, until they reach the next free Wi-Fi location. Offer discounted data in selected mobile coverage areas like school campuses, shopping districts, concerts and stadiums as consumers move between Wi-Fi hotspots to allow them a continuous data experience — and get them used to consuming data on the mobile network.

What do you think? Do you like the 10 ideas? Have other ideas to share? Want to learn more about the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovations and Mobile Application Ranking Report? Want to learn more about how Alcatel-Lucent can help? If you like this article, please feel free to share it with your followers.

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