The amount of time young children spend in front of screens might raise some eyebrows, but for marketers, it is an opportunity. As brands switch their marketing target to ‘kids and teens’, parents raise questions on how these are affecting the minds of their kids.
Spend some time watching the YouTube Kids platform and you will suddenly feel you are stuck on a kids’ shopping channel, with videos of children or ‘kid influencers’ unboxing Play-Doh sets, Disney princesses, Legos and more.
With the changing times, more and more kids are starting to use smart phones, tablets and the internet at a very young age. For brands, this is a perfect opportunity as it is an age when the kids’ preferences are still taking shape, and they have a strong influence on how their parents’ spend.
Thus, companies are targeting them everywhere they are – in apps, inside games, and also video streaming platforms in the form of indirect advertisements.
These advertisements target the kids’ vulnerabilities – their desire to fit in and to be perceived as attractive; and the advertisements ‘guide’ them towards what’s ‘cool’ and acceptable.
So much so, many brands encourage children to broadcast their interactions with brands, for instance, upload pictures of themselves in a particular brand accessory or outfit. These marketing tactics reinforce the idea that their self-worth is determined by what they own.
Thus, many parents have raised questions on these advertisements disguised as content and also on the platforms where they are shown.
“When you block a video or channel, you will no longer see that video on the YouTube Kids apps when you are signed in. You can always clear your blocked videos and channels from settings if you change your mind,” Google said in a statement.
However, parents demand YouTube to change how it labels certain videos or stop showing the ones considered to be advertising. “It is so dangerous for kids to see this stuff while they are growing up. Suddenly, in between kids’ shows, an advertisement pops up appealing kids to try their products if they want to fit in or make more friends,” says Umender Sharma, father of a six year old.
Kidfluencers become the guides
Influencer marketing is on the rise for brands aiming to engage with both young children and their parents. In fact, the youngest member on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid YouTube Stars list for 2017 is an elementary school boy, whose YouTube channel – Ryan ToysReview has around 13 million subscribers.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’s (PwC) kids digital advertising report 2017, under-13 digital media market is currently seeing 25 pc year-on-year growth. Kids are an important demographic for marketers not only because of their impact on their parents’ buying decisions, but also as future adult consumers.