How Kids Are Interacting With Marketing Tech Every Day
Many marketing experts today recognize the value of marketing to kids.However, just as many companies struggle with striking the balance between enticing, high-quality marketing strategies and techniques that are appropriate for younger users. Because kids are very impressionable and respond a lot differently than adults, this can be a very tricky line to walk.
Today, technology plays an important role in everyone’s lives, even the lives of young children. As parents, their children, and society in general navigate the changes that come with a greater dependence upon screen time, marketing experts should be cautious not to push too hard with marketing strategies that target young children online. Here again is another situation where finding the right balance is challenging, but imperative.
Fortunately, there are ways to reach out to children while respecting some of the challenges that parents are facing. Clever, kid-friendly strategies do exist and they can be employed in a way that actually provides some incentives for a younger audience while limiting the risks of predatory marketing practices.
Kids are Important to Marketing
It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but the value of children to the marketing industry cannot be overstated. Children and young adults play a huge role in many of the decisions that families make about where to spend their dollars. For instance, many experts believe that children influence breakfast and lunch choices of the entire family over 95% of the time.
Likewise, children play a highly significant role in influencing where families go out to eat, plan for family entertainment, and take family vacations.
And nearly all marketing experts have realized this fact. Advertising and marketing designed to target children and young adults specifically have exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry over the past decade or so. As kids can be very persistent when they want something, companies know that marketing directly to them can be particularly lucrative.
Given how much time many young adults spend online, it is only natural that a lot of the advertising targeting them has moved online as well. For many parents who grew up in the era of TV ads targeting children, it can be easy to pick out the stealthy practices designed to make kids want something on TV. However, targeted data collected from all sorts of simple interactions with smartphones and social media can turn into very clever ads that can be particularly alluring to young children.
Navigating Online Safety Concerns
As many parents well know, children react differently to advertising than adults do and keeping kids safe online is hard work. In fact, most parents today believe raising children is harder than ever before because of this very reason. It is hard to determine how much screen time is appropriate for kids. When screen time is allowed, it is hard to assess how children are being influenced by online advertising and to teach them to recognize and react to these ads in the right way.
Marketing on TikTok, by using brand takeovers and branded hashtags, is a highly effective way that marketers can connect with children. Companies can also pay big money to do a brand takeover, which is typically the first ad seen when the app is opened.
Navigating online and technological safety for kids in these settings isn’t exactly simple. One of the biggest steps parents can take toward building a safe space for kids online is to teach them to recognize certain ads and not spend time watching them. Teaching them to wait and click on
the “X” for pop-up ads and to not click on the links within ads is a highly valuable start. Additionally, requiring a password for new app downloads or any online purchases is an important security concern.
Developing Kid-Friendly Marketing Strategies
Ads and marketing targeting children and young adults aren’t going to go away any time soon. But there are things that marketers can do to help parents keep their kids safe online. If done right, many of these steps may not only keep kids safe but introduce new and engaging strategies to get kids interested in certain products.
One example of this is by using creative content marketing. Sure, content marketing isn’t exactly a new thing, but there are ways to focus that specific type of marketing on kids in a safe way. Rather than being predatory about marketing strategies, be honest and straightforward so kids can process what is going on. Speak directly with the target audience; if the target is kids build content that they can understand.
Creative strategies that use memes, videos, and infographics can be informative and help children learn rather than just focusing on getting them to buy something. If done right, marketing can really put tools in the hands of kids. For instance, inspirational videos of other kids doing great things can make kids feel like superheroes and really build greater self-esteem along the way.
Children and young adults are a powerful marketing target audience that drives a large portion of the industry. Marketing to children is tricky both from a marketing perspective and from the perspective of a parent monitoring screen time and online interactions. Creative strategies that prioritize the safety of children and provide some benefit to them specifically can be especially important.