There are close to 500 million of them but how do you reach Muslim millennials?

| 28 September, 2016 | General
 Haroon Latif, DinarStandard
There are close to 500 million of them but how do you reach Muslim millennials?
Photo: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Aug 12, 2011: Young women sitting on steps in Trafalgar Square / Garry Knight / CC BY 2.0 

Millennials are a powerful consumer force, collectively representing close to $2.5 trillion in annual spend. Muslim millennials are emerging as a powerful consumer force in their own right, set to grow significantly faster in number than the rest of the global population. What opportunities and considerations are there for brands seeking to target the highly lucrative Muslim millennial consumer segment?

YOUR PAIN POINTS ADDRESSEDASK YOURSELF


Scenario:

You are a seeking to build brand loyalty among millennial consumers and are interested in targeting Muslims.

How can brands reach Muslim millennials?

How significant are millennials as a consumer segment, and how do Muslim millennials compare?
How are companies reaching millennials?
What are some of the key considerations for companies seeking to reach Muslim millennials and address this market opportunity?

THE IMPORTANCE OF MILLENIALS

Millennials are emerging as a powerful consumer force, with a combined spending power of $2.45 trillion in 2015, according to research firm YouBrand.

There are currently 2 billion people born between 1980 and 2000 in the world, 86 percent of whom live in emerging markets. They are projected to constitute 50 percent of the entire workforce in 2020, according to a PwC study (pdf).

Millennials are generally divided into two sub-groups: those between 18 and 24 years old, many of whom still live with their parents, and those between 25 and 34 years old, who have higher spending power. The latter group typically starts making larger financial investments on purchases such as cars and houses.

Most millennials came of age during the Internet era and share many common characteristics. According to the PwC study, millennials are more technologically oriented than older generations, have more brand loyalty, and generally expect instant access to information.

Muslim millennials share many of these characteristics and are a key consumer segment in themselves. 

According to the Pew Research Centre, Muslims aged 15–29 are expected to reach 490 million by 2020,  and account for 27 percent of the global population within the same age group.

HOW TO REACH MILLENNIALS

Traditional advertisements across television, print, and radio were the norm for brands trying to reach the older generations, but attracting millennials requires a fundamentally different approach.

U.S. as influencer and example market: Mobile advertising and social media have proven overwhelmingly to be the optimal way to reach American millennials.

There are close to 80 million millennials in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center, and they represent a key market for retailers and advertisers. San Francisco-based Sharethrough, which provides native advertising software, estimated American millennials’ total spend had reached $1.3 trillion annually.

American millennials spend nearly 18 hours a day consuming different types of media, according to an article on Entrepreneur.com citing research by social influence marketing platform Crowdtap.

(A worldwide survey by Global Web Index found that the amount of time spent by millennials on their mobile devices increased substantially from 1.78 hours in 2012 to 3.14 hours in 2016.)

The importance of millennials for advertisers is demonstrated by the latter’s budget allocations.

According to market research firm eMarketer, in the United States alone, millennials only account for 24 percent of total consumer spending, but they command 35 percent of advertising budgets, of which 39 percent are allocated specifically to mobile advertising.

Furthermore, social advertising is a key access route to millennials. A 2016 survey carried out by New York-based Advertiser Perceptions found that nearly half of the 300 agencies and marketer executives who responded said that they would increase their allocations to social media to better target millennials.

Millennials are more loyal and trusting than other generations, but fail to meet their expectations and you can expect significant damage to your brand.

Millennials are highly attractive customers due to their high levels of trust and their willingness to act on advertisements that they come across, regardless of format. This, according to research firm Nielsen, is driven in large part by their impulsiveness.

According to the Global Trust in Advertising (pdf) survey by Nielsen released in September 2015 that polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries, the highest level of trust from millennials, at 85 percent, was towards recommendations by someone known to the consumer. This was followed by trust in branded websites (75 percent), then consumer opinions posted online (70 percent).

Another recent survey by video ad tech company Unruly found that millennials are 112 percent more likely to share video ads online that they responded positively to than any other format.

Millennials, however, expect authenticity from brands: 74 percent immediately lost trust in a brand when it seemed fake, according to Unruly. In addition, 93 percent considered using ad-blocking software in the future because they were turned off by excessive ads and seeing the same ads repeatedly.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR BRANDS TARGETING MUSLIMS  

While millennials—Muslims and non-Muslims alike—share many common attributes, there are three additional considerations that businesses targeting Muslims must consider, beginning right at the product development stage.

Develop products and services that meet Muslim needs.

As millennial Muslims express themselves and their values online, an ecosystem of digitally native companies and new product concepts are developing to meet Muslim needs across Islamic lifestyle markets.

The Digital Islamic Economy Report 2015 (pdf) from Thomson Reuters identified 396 digital Islamic services addressing Muslim needs that had reached a critical scale, of which close to 60 percent comprised retail sales, news and insights, and media and entertainment.

However, numerous innovations have since emerged to address critical gaps in the market for sharing economy services and on-demand delivery. Examples include Bookhalalhomes, a UK-based booking platform for travelers to stay in ‘halal homes’ and/or with Muslim families, and UK-based Halaleat and Russia-based Halaleda.me, which offer online ordering and delivery for halal fast food in their Muslim-minority markets.

Chart the optimal path to reaching Muslim consumers online.

Given the growing number of digital Islamic services, getting access to a critical mass of Muslims online may be challenging. To solve this problem, two platforms have emerged to help advertisers connect with Muslim-focused websites.

Saad Malik, co-founder of U.S.-based Muslim Ad Network, commented, “There is a void that we’re filling [at Muslim Ad Network] in an underserved market, which would be otherwise unscalable to target directly.”

Maruf Yusupov of Denmark-based Halal.Ad told Salaam Gateway, “You could find important trendsetters online that have a large Muslim consumer subscriber base. I think it’s a far more efficient process to go through a scalable platform like us, [who] have a proven capability to reach the right publishers.”

Produce engaging advertising content that speaks to Muslim values.

Reaching Muslim consumers is challenging enough, but it’s also important to pitch the right content and the right values.

Yusupov commented, “The best way to engage millennials is by telling stories in the most relevant way. Some of the ads don’t always understand the values that Muslims have. If you understand what is important, you can easily win hearts.”

“Like McDonald’s ads in Muslim countries, launched during Ramadan—they really showed an astute understanding of Muslim needs, which helps change the perception of the company,” he added.

SUGGESTED ROADMAP  

Start at the product development stage and ask what the major gaps in products and services offered today are, and how your existing or planned products and services would address them.

Find the optimal path to reaching Muslim consumers.

Develop the right message and test it with a target audience before launching a campaign.

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