I have young children, so one of the things I have noticed about younger kids is that there is strong marketing that targets them. I am sure I remember having television commercials and radio advertisements aimed at me when I was small, but these days I sit on the parenting side of that coin and watch it all with a business knowledge too. There are products and services that are heavily marketed to kids. Once they become school age, most kids have an allowance, friends who influence them, and personal preferences; a perfect combo for higher end marketing.
The question then becomes whether or not there are avenues to market to this sector online. Mike Sachoff just wrote an article called “UK Kids Ignoring Facebook Age Limits”, in which he reveals that ”a quarter of children in the UK aged 8-12 who use the Internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, although the minimum age is 13”. We can be sure that if kids of that age group in the UK are on social networking sites, then the kids on this side of the pond will also be there. As well, 21 percent of kids from 8-15 download or watch TV or movies on the Internet. And 18 percent of kids from 8-11 visit blogs.
So, we know that kids are on the internet, but how much are they engaging in social networking sites? Even if 93 percent of the kids on social networking sites are being monitored regularly by their parent, as reported by Mike Sachoff’s article, it doesn’t mean that marketing through these sites is unavailable to them. In fact, there may be evidence to show that this age group is actively engaged in propelling social marketing. Take the case of 16 year old singer Justin Bieber and his increasing fame that is being fed by a mania of tweeting on Twitter. Chris Crum writes about “Twitter Business Lessons from Justin Bieber” and he notes that “Bieber has frequently been a trending topic for over a month straight. The tweets just keep pouring in, and they’re generally not spammy.” Of course, Justin has also been releasing new songs (including one that was for relief efforts in Haiti), made plenty of television appearances, and had a birthday this month. He’s been busy and interesting, so there is lots for his fans to tweet about. And tweet they do! Considering his fan base is primarily young girls, it’s not a big leap to assume they are the ones who are engaging in conversations about him on Twitter.
Knowing that there is a growing presence of kids and preteens on Twitter, Facebook, and more, means that including online engagement as part of your developing marketing plans for products and services for these age groups is becoming even more important.