By Derya Yildirim
The media and television environment has radically shifted in recent years. This has resulted in a shift from TV ads to product placements, viral social media marketing, mobile targeted ads, and location targeting. When it comes to advertising to children and kids, the implications of this change are often overlooked. While the differences in targeting teens and children aren’t too vast, there are some differences to account for when writing advertisements for the two audiences.
Advertising to kids
When writing advertisements for kids, consider the environment in which they’re likely to see the advert. Common environments for advertising to kids include TV (as American children average a TV watch time of 28-32 hours a week), schools, and grocery stores. Yet, like teens, kids spend a lot of time online as well, with kids aged 8–12 spending approximately six hours a day online. This makes online adverts an effective channel for advertising to kids as well.
Your advertisement should also contain several features to ensure that it is effective. Firstly, remember to use kids’ language. That means fewer words and more pictures, ensuring your advert is memorable. Secondly, make sure the language used in your advert works for a specific target age. This is especially important as language development and vocabulary may change drastically every year during childhood. As such, ensure that the words, hobbies, and interests covered in the advertisement reflect the respective stage of your audiences’ cognitive development. Thirdly, be clear throughout your messaging, with products, price, and value proposition being overtly specified. Lastly, acknowledge the responsibility you have as a brand communicating to children. This means being mindful of your audience and respecting ethical guidelines and laws when it comes to advertising to kids.
Advertising to teens
When it comes to writing adverts for teenagers, social media should be your go-to medium for reaching them. This is because teenagers are abandoning traditional media and resorting to social media for news rather than other traditional mediums. This results in teenagers spending around nine hours online a day—with most of it being spent on social media. A 2020 study revealed that Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are the most widely used social media platforms amongst U.S. teens. As such, publishing your advert on these platforms can provide the business with the most value for their investment.
Upon selecting the social media channel that best aligns with your objectives and target audience, there are certain actions you can take to appeal to teenage consumers. Firstly, make use of social media influencers, and let their voice direct the advertisement. This can be effective as teenagers increasingly trust influencers and prefer personal recommendations and word of mouth over traditional advertisements. Secondly, make use of short-form content, keeping your advert easy to digest. This makes your advert more engaging given teenagers’ shorter attention span. Lastly, if applicable, showcase your company’s take on environmental and social awareness, as teenagers are becoming increasingly invested in political and climate-oriented debates.
For advice on improving your youth-oriented advertisements, don’t hesitate to reach out to Adolescent—our LA-based youth marketing and Gen-Z agency—for help on your advertising endeavors!