Six ADVERTISING “TECHNIQUES” THAT GEN Z KIDS AND PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUt

CAUSE ADVERTISING

Aligning a brand with a cause is a great way to tug at the heartstrings of youth and parents. Any time a brand can connect to a young consumer on an emotional vs. a rational level, a relationship is entrenched. Social media provides an effective way for brands to connect with youth on cause campaigns and adds still another level of brand engagement. Young people love to pass on a video that makes them feel good and the extra endorsements helps provide free media for the brand. It’s fair to say most advertisers love cause-related campaigns, however, they’re generally the first marketing tool to be shelved if the marketplace doesn’t respond (i.e. consumers don't buy the product).

IN-GAME ADVERTISING

The "freemium" business model is by far the most popular way for companies to sell apps to young players and their parents. The game is often “free” and the words ”in-app purchases” is microscopically small so parents willingly hand over the Apple ID password. What young children and parents may not know is "free" is a trade-off between an up-front cost and in-game marketing. It costs money to make a game and pay all those asset developers and coders so game studios will often load a game with ads which kids happily watch to level-up or buy in-game currency. Level-hungry kids will watch in-game ads 20 or 30 times to avoid suffering through the painfully slow game mechanics that purposefully grind them down so they are desperate to pay ($$), or pay with their eyeballs and watch those commercials. 

DISPLAY ADVERTISING

Sometimes known as banner, sometimes called retargeting….

You know that eerie feeling you get when you search a site and moments later, that same company is stalking you…. mysteriously showing up as advertising with every new site you explore?

What you may not know is that company tagged your computer’s online browser with a pixel or cookie and those tags trigger ads on “display” and social media sites. Essentially, the company is attempting to “re-engage” or “re-target” you with an ad as they try to convince you to buy (according to U.S. privacy watchdog the FTC, this advertising is not to be served on sites targeting children under the age of 13).

MOBILE ADVERTISING

Lots of advertising is directed at young people through their mobile phones as texts, email and social media marketing. The most sophisticated of these ads will plug into the GPS or geo-location feature on a young person’s phone and attempt to incentivize and close the sale at the retail location. This is generally done through a promotion code which offers a discount or “giveaway” if you “buy now”. This is precision marketing and advertisers know quickly if their advertising approach is working.

SOCIAL ADVERTISING

There isn’t a Fortune 500 brand that isn’t using social features to help amplify a message. At the same time, more and more of a young person’s “consumer cred” is tied to their ability to help promote and socially share a cool brand or a hot deal. If the young person is using a mobile social app and they’ve enabled notifications, sharing functionality and the geo-location feature – advertisers will find them. They will know how often they log on, who their friends are, their brand interests, what advertising they click on, what content they re-share, the apps they’ve downloaded, what news stories they’ve read, etc.

Depending on the app, young people may have also generously agreed to allow that third party to share a young person’s data with other “partners”. While young people do care about personal privacy, they’re often less concerned about institutional or data privacy and they and their parents generally have NO CLUE about the big personal data pools that exist for their children. Companies pay a lot to try to tailor their advertising to a person’s interests and behaviour and while behavioural advertising is illegal for kids under 13 (see COPPA) little oversight exists for teens and beyond.

SEARCH

Problem solving happens every day. When people are looking for quick answers they usually turn to search engines; they’re convenient, efficient, and they’ve become an important and much loved resource in our daily lives. Kids in particular love Search because no question goes unanswered! People have an idea about what they’re interested in, what they’ve heard about, or what they want and they go searching for more information. Delivering advertising while a user is engaged in online search provides highly targeted advertising that aligns brands with interests. Differentiating organic search from paid search is a fundamental literacy skill for young digital consumers.