Having grown up surrounded by all forms of advertising, teenagers are well able to drown out the white noise around them. In order to catch their attention, many companies try different ways to make themselves known.
Some examples are sponsorship, online competitions or viral videos.
If you spend time on social media, you’ve probably come across some competition where “if you like, comment and share our page, you’ll be in the chance of winning a free [Product of page-owner]!” It’s not uncommon, and many teenagers participate because they have nothing to lose. This, in turn, shows more teenagers the competition, getting more people to enter. Because of this cycle, companies can get free advertising with very little effort.
Sponsorship is everywhere nowadays, but only recently have companies discovered a gold mine of unsponsored content – Online Personalities, or influencers, with a large social following. When working with these people, companies can give some of their products to Youtubers to use in their videos, or ask Bloggers to talk about their product in a post. For maximum effect, companies will tie this into a promotion or giveaway to capture the viewer’s attention.
Viral videos take the most effort out of the methods I’ve mentioned, but the results can be worth the time. A company that creates a video that’s engaging, funny and unique can become the talk of the internet for days, resulting in thousands of shares on Facebook, hundreds of retweets and millions of hits on YouTube – in short, a marketing director’s dream. Basically, the advertising campaigns that work best with teenagers are the ones that engage them, on the sites they log on with some kind of payoff at the end (be it an iPhone or sharing a funny video with your friends).
Traditional media has suffered in recent years due to the uprising of free entertainment on the Internet.
When teenagers were asked how they preferred watching programmes/videos, 57% said Netflix, 28% said YouTube and the rest mentioned other ‘pirate’ streaming sites like Showbox and GoMovies. The lack of mention of T.V. coincides with reports that suggest ratings have gone down across the board.
Going to the cinema has become more of a social experience for teens (ironic, considering watching movies in a cinema results in unanimous silence). If a teen wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t just released, however, they’re much more likely to stream it online than rent or buy a physical copy.
Due to the lesser importance of T.V. to teens, it has had less of a social status effect than it may have had in the past. Lucky teens may be allowed a T.V. in their bedroom for gaming or streaming, but otherwise laptops and phone will make-do.
So how is traditional media going to combat this?
Simple – If you can’t beat them, join them. Many popular talk shows have their own YouTube channel now, using it as a place to put up highlights or popular segments of a show. And you only have to take one look at the views of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden to see the success in that gamble. Many news sites now put up videos of their articles on their sites or on YouTube, as a quicker, more engaging way to give the news. These changes are great for consuming teenagers, but for any online personality (YouTubers, Bloggers etc) it poses real problems like having to compete with companies who have many more resources than them.
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Written by Jim Xi Johnson.