- The market for digital advertising directed at kids is estimated to reach $1.2 billion — 28% of all ad spend directed toward the demographic — by 2019, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report cited by VentureBeat. The PwC Kids Digital Advertising Report 2017 examined ad markets in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
- The report notes that under-13 consumers have shifted their attention to smartphones, tablets and computers, a trend that parallels mainstream changes. Traditionally, kids were targeted mostly through TV, per VentureBeat.
- PwC foresees significant growth in the compliant digital media arena, where kids are only shown ads appropriate for them, as a result of the shift toward digital channels and in response to increasing data privacy requirements for kids' online activities. Programmatic advertising aimed at kids is also expected to account for 10-20% of digital ad spending for the demographic, although that growth is complicated by compliance requirements, VentureBeat reported.
As more consumers are cutting the cord from cable and opting for online streaming services, kids also seem to be shifting toward digital channels like smartphones, tablets and mobile apps. YouTube, for example, was named the most loved brand by kids for two straight years in the 2017 Brand Love study, demonstrating the age group's growing preference for viewing on-demand videos and clips.
Savvier marketers attempting to reach children are already picking up on this trend and incorporating YouTube and other digital platforms into their strategies. For example, Hasbro opted for YouTube over TV for the launch of its new Hanazuki line, saying that viewing habits among younger demographic groups are shifting to a more fluid, binge-watch model than traditional TV allows.
This trend also brings its own challenges. TV advertising was a familiar process, despite the limited measurement capabilities. Digital advertising, on the other hand, is part of a constantly shifting media landscape and still relatively exploratory when it comes to marketing to kids. Growth in the use of digital marketing channels has also led to increasing data privacy requirements online and ensuring kids are only served appropriate ads.
Understanding how to market to kids — the back-to-school shopping season ranks only behind the holiday season in terms of important retail events — is important for marketers. As part of its findings, PwC says some brands and advertisers will likely move away from publisher-centric relationships toward media platforms geared specifically toward "kidtech."