Empowered by mobile technology digital natives are changing the way they communicate with each other. Millennials and younger generation do not talk face to face as much as the previous generations did. They have switched from calling to texting quite a while ago and now many of them are emerging their communication into another level, which I call interpersonal visual communication. Let’s examine the stages of such transition and the way Social Media influenced and adjusted to newly formed social communication needs.
From calls to texting
Let’s look at the things from your future customer perspective. When I say your customer, I mean a millennial – the largest generations in history, which is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy as they have a different set of values and tools than the previous generations. Those differences reflect on interpersonal communication mediums preferred by this generation. First of all, millennials are actually shying away from making phone calls. A 2014 Gallup poll confirmed that text messages now outranked phone calls as the dominant form of communication among Millennials. Fully 68% of 18- to 29-year-olds say that they texted “a lot” the previous day. In another study of 500 people aged between 18 to 34, three-quarters of them would prefer a SMS-only phone to one that was voice-only. You might be wondering why. It is so because most of the millennials think that it is less invasive, more convenient and aligned to their own schedule. According to the same study, 63% of respondents think that messaging is less disruptive and it completely makes sense as they can take their time and answer the inquiry when they feel like it. Digital communication tools had a big influence on such changes – they simply have more technology applications which make texting easier, more personal and captivating.
From texting to visual communication
At some point, instant messaging applications implemented a small tweak into good old text messaging – emojis and eventually gifs. In my opinion, this was the first step taking visual communication into the mainstream. Emojis and GIFs simply add emotion to flat text and make it more real. Later, communication technology innovators introduced another alteration – a combination of pictures, text and entertaining augmented reality face filters. You probably know what I am referring to. Yes, Snapchat! You might be wondering why Snapchat is gaining so much popularity? Is it because youth is looking for alternatives for aging Facebook? Or they simply need new mediums for entertainment? I believe it is getting so popular mainly because millennials and generation Z are visual communicators. Let’s take a look at the numbers and try to build a profile of a Snapchat’s power user. According to statistics, there are about 1,400,000 Danish users and most of them are below 35 years old. It is extremely popular in 16-24 age group with 74% of Danmarks Statistik respondents reported using it at least once a week. The number drops almost in half when we look at the 25-34 age group and reaches 40%. The interesting fact that most of those who said that they are using the app on a weekly basis do actually check it every day. The daily usage numbers provided by Buzzador are very similar – 73% of those in 16-24 year group and 40% in the 25-34. I believe you got the picture of a typical Snapchat user and if these demographics match with your perfect customer profile, you might consider advertising on this uprising Social Media channel. If you are wondering how to advertise on the rapidly growing application, read the conclusive case study of a company which tested Snapchat ads in Denmark and achieved significant results.
Another example of visual communication on Social Media is Instagram. The rising popularity of this photo-sharing app indicates that people tend to showcase their lifestyle using images rather than text. A third of Danish citizens who participated in a survey by Earned media agency Buzzador claimed to use the app daily – that’s in overall age group. 61% of those in the age group from 16 to 24 use the app daily, 42% use the app on a daily basis in an older 25-34 age group. It hasn’t reached the popularity of Facebook yet, but if you are trying to market and communicate a lifestyle brand then Instagram is a place to go. Here’s a reminder – Instagram is a visual communication platform, therefore to establish a strong brand image you must use high-quality pictures and do it consistently.
It seems like communication format is swiftly moving from text to visuals. It is happening because people need to transmit more emotion in the daily exchange of information. We believe that soon we will share moments of our lives even more immersively. Let’s see what is the next thing to change communication paradigm.