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This post was written by André Madeira, the co-founder and CEO of Meemo.
Businesses spend a tremendous amount of energy differentiating between generations like Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. The effort seems truly misguided and wasteful in this day and age. After a decade of leading digital native products for end-users, we have recognized behavior similarities across multiple temporal generations that more accurately reflect the underlying population that companies ought to be targeting. We call it the “One-Tap Generation.”
What is the one-tap generation?
The One-Tap Generation is a cross-generational concept meant to encompass the tech-savvy, hyper-connected, convenience-seeking, always-online individual, regardless of age. This generation also has high expectations of having technology work hard on their behalf. For example, the typical One-Tap Generation user expects their interactions to be mobile-native and very easy to navigate on a phone screen. All actions are expected to be metaphorically as efficient as a one-tap or thumb swipe. Moreover, a smooth transition from intent to result is paramount. Basic information about themselves shall be magically known or readily available (i.e. aided by auto-fill technology). Simply put, this generation demands simplicity, automation, and ultimately convenience. The One-Tap Generation expects the technology they interact with to “get with the times!”
We have seen companies successfully address these challenges without being able to utter the concept proudly or properly articulate the cohort characteristics. Most successful apps have already shifted to one-tap or swipe interfaces. These are figurative terms to encompass carefully designed user experiences that achieve complex tasks with minimal input. Amazon’s famous “Buy now with 1-click” feature allowed users to purchase an item and be delivered to their home with a single click. Snapchat’s snap and swipe ethos to connect to friends quickly and Robinhood’s swipe-to-execute stock trades are popular examples of proper engagement with this generation. Klarna, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Affirm, Wealthfront, Venmo, Cash App, and many others have also reduced dramatically the number of steps in order to complete a task, from swipes, to one-taps, to biometric validation technology, to double-taps on your phone’s power button.
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Today, the One-Tap Generation has very little patience for extra actions that should have been rendered obsolete by technology and artificial intelligence. Users often decide not to complete a purchase otherwise. Said simply, this generation expects technology to do the “auto-magical” hard work for them and is thus an increasingly demanding consumer.
Trading data for personalization
Another characteristic of the One-Tap Generation is their unique view on the use and storage of personal data. For them, there exists a more transactional view of the use of personal data (for convenience or benefits) if there is a demonstrable and transparent benefit. For example, the One-Tap Generation is comfortable with Netflix storing their viewing history because they understand the benefit of highly personalized recommendations. Businesses that understand and leverage this unique relationship with personal data will have a better success ratio. In a nutshell, highly personalized experiences are an expectation hallmark of the One-Tap Generation.
It is critical to observe that the typical target market with current buying power is not confined to Gen Z with their limited spending power, nor is it Millennials who have now experienced two major recessions in their adulthood. While the One-Tap Generation includes Gen Z and Millennial users, it is definitely not limited by age. It includes members of Gen X and some Baby Boomers who tend to be more established in their careers and personal finances and are familiar with the pains of e-commerce 1.0. The concept of the One-Tap Generation and its characteristics are thus essential to acknowledge for any business targeting the online and tech-savvy population.
The specific segmentation of users by age, race, and other basic demographic characteristics is primarily a carry-over from the old economic offline model. Having no data (or the ability to deal with data) caused businesses to overvalue these superficial traits as a proxy to real information about a specific population. Reacting to demand, ad agencies and networks supplied the market with solutions targeting these demographic characteristics. By and large, this has carried over to online advertising until Google started masterfully monetizing on user intention and Facebook (and Social Media 2.0) started monetizing on user interests (and browsing history). The next black box monetization opportunity will be leveraging the One-Tap Generation’s digital trail of actions in a hyper-personalized way.
As the One-Tap Generation evolves their personal habits with technology, they are creating irreversible change in the business and tech landscape. This group will be chiefly responsible to drive innovation given their high demands and strong preferences for ease of use. Indeed, once you go Tesla it is hard to convince yourself to spend six hours at a dealership; or once you go Lemonade, it is really painful to fill out a web form to answer 50 questions to get pet insurance. Altogether, this irreversibility in user behavior is what gives leverage to the One-Tap Generation. Businesses have no choice but to adapt and cater properly to this powerful and growing cohort, independent of age.
André Madeira is the co-founder and CEO of Meemo, a social financial mobile application that offers users automatic AI-powered search, personalized insights, modern peer-to-peer sharing, and rewards based on their transaction and purchasing history.
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