Kids Insights

ADVERTISING SUSPENDED IN SOCIAL PROTEST

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Our latest research published in C21, looks at changes in advertising due to social protests.

With technology developing and ownership amongst kids increasing at an ever-rapid pace, the mediums that make up this technological side of a kids ecosystem are constantly evolving, providing new functions and alternative ways of advertising and marketing. Social media platforms are a key part of a kids life in 2020 but increased access and use of sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, brings with it some level of concern, from both parties (kids and brands) who are using them.

UK kids have the second highest social media time in Europe at 1h 8m a day, second in our data only to Italy. Also, in the UK social media time has the smallest gender disparity across Europe, with only a 2-minute difference between the sexes (in favour of girls). UK kids 6-9 also have the longest social media time compared to their European peers, at 8 minutes more a day on average. Well established social media platforms are shifting their offering to increase appeal further.

Facebook’s reach is huge with kids, with not only 41% of teens using the site, but a further 52% using Instagram, 29% using Facebook Messenger, and 58% using Facebook-owned WhatsApp and the group has released a number of new functions across these platforms. For kids under 12 usage is slightly lower, 1 in 5 are using Facebook although it makes the 3rd most used platform after YouTube and Roblox. Group-call capabilities have recently become available via its new Messenger Rooms and has seen a 29% increase in usage. Instagram has started to take a turn towards more fully-fledged native shop integration and live video content and has seen a 41% increase in kids who favour the platform. WhatsApp has newly announced plans to offer a new digital payment service and has seen a 78% increase in downloads since March, particularly amongst tweens and older teens.

Despite this wider reach and greater engagement, interestingly, the UK also has the highest European concern for spending too much time online (14%). Our data suggests that mobile phone ownership is the biggest contributor to these concerns. Under 13s who have their own phone over-index on all issues on the internet (28% more than average), demonstrative of how staying constantly connected can result in an increased level of worry.

A number of brands are also changing behaviours in light of harmful content being too readily available for these connected tweens and teens by holding back and suspending advertising on social media. This follows support of the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, which is calling on the likes of Facebook to implement stronger measures around hateful content across its platforms. Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Unilever are just three names to join a growing list of brands that have joined the movement. Kids are still most likely to see their favourite ad on TV (40%), although 1 in 5 of all kids will see their favourite ad on YouTube closely followed by Facebook which 10% of 10-15s said that’s where they saw their favourite ad.

Teenagers, all part of Generation Z, are growing up to be some of the most diverse, informed and socially aware members of the UK population and are growing increasingly concerned about wider societal and global issues, as well being conscious of their heavy use of social media.

Throughout May and June, our data has shown a 66% increase in those concerned about racism. 20% are also worried about viewing inappropriate content online and 39% do not trust social media platforms. With access to unlimited information at their fingertips, teens are forming views on the world but are conscious in doing so, not wanting to do wrong, associate with or even view content that doesn’t sit with their moral viewpoint.

Brands need to be extremely sensitive to the current climate, but also need to be proactive in their approach to social issues. They must not only clearly communicate their standpoint, but also deliver tangible actions to be truly seen as doing something. If this is the case, teenagers are more likely to align with the brand, and continue using it to its full remit, as we know these platforms and their increasing functionality are important and are already so engrained in their lives.

With social media taking up so much of kids’ time and with TV continuing to decline, it poses more challenges to brands and agencies on how they can reach and engage this highly influential audience of kids. Get in touch for us to show you how it can be done…

Our research and strategy team works with clients from across the sector, using data from surveying 200,000 kids across the globe. We provide insight to help clients develop their advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product and sales strategies.

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