[Beginner - 102] Content Marketing to Teenagers: Trends and Platforms

Content marketing is one of most important tools that businesses rely on to attract customers and generate sales. However, while companies often consider the purchasing power of adults, the habits of teenagers are often forgotten. The truth is, though, teenagers are buying—they’re just buying differently than grownups. As such, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the traditional methods of marketing—commercials, billboards, and radio—are much less effective on teenagers than they used to be.

By correctly marketing your company to teenagers, you have the ability to increase your sales and profits. For a look into the trends and platforms of the youth market today, as well as how to reach youth in marketing efforts, read on:

Redefining Demographics

Traditionally, marketing to teenagers started by thinking about the basic demographics of the teenage audience. These demographics included things such as gender, race, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and location. Today, the online world trumps many traditional demographics when it comes to making purchases. Instead of defining teens by their gender or socioeconomic status, you should start grouping teens using behavior insights.

For example, some tried and true information about the majority of youth is that:
  • Teens are obsessive about sharing information via social media;
  • Teens are equally as interested in discovering information as they are sharing it;
  • Teens prefer content that’s delivered in real time;
  • Teens want to participate and be involved;
  • Teens are often egocentric; and
  • Teens care about what other people are thinking.
Once you’ve realized that teens are very unique in their needs compared to adults, you can start marketing more appropriately. For example, you need to adjust your marketing efforts to center them around teens’ needs, push your marketing on teens, and create excitement and interest in your product.

Trends in Teen Online Use

Another important thing to consider when marketing to teenagers are the websites and apps they’re using. While many adults access news’ sites, Amazon, GChat, and Reddit, the trends are much different for teenagers. In a 2014 study analyzing the media habits of high school seniors, Niche found that high school seniors don’t read top websites (73 percent don’t read Buzzfeed, 96 percent don’t read Gawker or Mashable); Facebook messenger is a top communicating tool for teens, and is used by 72 percent of high school seniors (only 20 percent use GChat); 65 percent of seniors use SnapChat; teens are obsessed with video, and 97 percent use YouTube; and music seems to be almost equally important to teens, with 77 percent of high school seniors reportedly using Pandora.

The takeaway from all this data should be this: teens love websites and apps that allow them to communicate, and are much less interested in websites or apps that only provide them with information sans communication abilities.
Tips for Marketing to Teenagers

Now that you know the basics of teen interest and Internet use, you can start developing a marketing campaign targeted at youth. When designing your marketing campaign, make sure you utilize techniques that will resonate with youth. For example, create content that asks for their feedback, is shareable, touches on issues they think are important, is in line with pop culture, offers free things or contests, encourages their independence, uses the right language for youth, taps into celebrity trends, and is honest. Once you know the basic outline of your campaign, start creating it for use on forums that youth are using, such as Facebook and YouTube.

As mentioned above, 97 percent of high school seniors are YouTube subscribers. As such, it should be a no-brainer that content marketing to teenagers through YouTube is one of the best things that you can do. Create videos that are engaging, are in line with teen-important issues, are trendy, and are shareable. You can also advertise your product or business on music platforms, such as Pandora. Perhaps the most successful way to market your brand to teenagers, though, is through Facebook.

Facebook remains to be a favorite social media site amongst teenagers, and 79 percent of teens will “engage with their favorite content across social media sites,” according to an article published by Direct Marketing News. Your company should absolutely have a Facebook page, and should use it to post relevant videos and pictures, provide status updates about company news, host contests or ask for feedback or surveys, and respond to youths’ questions and concerns. Emotion and humor are two of the best ways to attract youth, so refrain from being purely factual, or dull, in your posts. Again, remember that youth are obsessed with themselves—this is, after all, the “selfie” generation. Therefore, all of your marketing efforts should focus on youth, not on you.

Marketing to Teens: Important Things to Remember

You may have created a great marketing strategy for teens that generated some success, only to then have it seemingly collapse in front of your eyes with hardly any notice. Now, you’re scratching your head wondering where you went wrong, and what happened. An important thing to remember when marketing to teenagers is that the teenage mind is fickle, and teenagers refashion their preferences for what’s online as quickly as they change their wardrobe. Teens want the latest and greatest information out there, and as such, it’s your responsibility to be continually updating your website and marketing strategy with new and cool material. Posting new pictures, new ads, new statuses, and new news everyday is ideal. If not, you may fall victim to the fleeting nature of the teenage attention span.

By remembering that teenagers are an important group worth marketing to, redefining teenage demographics, familiarizing yourself with trends in teenage internet use, using shareable videos and social media sites, and targeting content specifically for teens and teen issues, you should be able to create a successful content marketing strategy that yields increased profits.

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