How do you target youth in advertising

September 16, 2021

By Elyssa Curet

The category of “youth” is a broad one, encompassing multiple generations from Gen Alpha to Gen Z to younger millennials. However broad, this group is a desirable marketing target with a combined annual spending power of hundreds of billions of dollars. The common threads tying the “youth” demographic together are their media literacy and social media presence, both of which can be used to craft carefully personalized and targeted advertising campaigns. 

The key to targeting youth in advertising is creating an authentic and enjoyable experience for consumers. These younger generations are digital natives, and have tricks up their sleeves for avoiding advertisements that they don’t want to see, such as sophisticated ad-blocking software. The trick is to make advertisements something that they do want to see. For example, a fashion brand can gain a lot of advertising power simply by sending clothing pieces to visual media influencers who can show them off in their video content. If the product placement corresponds well to the creator’s normal content, their followers will appreciate your product and trust the influencers that recommended them. Specific products such as clothing pieces or makeup products can go viral in a flash if they are showcased by the right content creator, especially in the age of TikTok. 

Younger generations also like to see diversity in ad campaigns. 67% of Gen Z say that they prefer seeing “real people” in ads as opposed to unattainable celebrities. Choosing models and spokespeople that adhere to a wide range of looks and beauty standards adds another layer of commitment to authenticity in advertising that will be appreciated by a youth demographic. 

When your goal is to engage with younger generations, it is also essential to keep up with social media trends, or, even better—make your own. Almost half of Gen Z spends ten hours or more of screen time a day, so the youth demographic is constantly bombarded with social media advertisements. Embedding advertisements in or putting your brand’s own twist on a dance, a fun new TikTok transition, or a challenge can make you stand out from the crowd while also guaranteeing that consistent social media users will see your content. 

The youth demographic also highly values aesthetics. Different aesthetic trends come and go just like dance crazes, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of what is in style. For example, one of the newest popular aesthetics on TikTok and Pinterest is the “coconut girl” aesthetic, which is characterized by crocheted items, large-scale floral patterns, and an easy breezy, beachy vibe. Catering the aesthetic appeal of your advertising content to the cutting edge of trending aesthetics is a surefire way to generate engagement from youth. 

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