Compared to accessibility teens enjoyed a decade ago, the teenagers of today’s generation live in a world where exposure to the media is right at their fingertips. Teens are inundated with advertising and messages all day long, and on many different platforms. Ironically, the attention of this digitally-connected audience is challenging for marketers to capture. They choose what advertising they engage with, not vice versa.
Making a Splash in a Congested Space
At a 2012 Mobile Advertising Conference, Pandora’s VP of mobile ad sales said that the online radio company needed to explain to several of its advertisers the importance of creating a mobile strategy that is different from desktop, and why there is more pressure to make a message stand out. What marketers have learned from observing the behaviors of teenagers is that one message, from one platform, just won’t work. In order to prompt action, silo marketing is ineffective, especially when targeting teens, whose attention spans are shorter and more fickle. Another panelist commented that the window of opportunity to make an impact is just a few seconds long for this audience. Broadcasting the same message across multiple platforms won’t work; instead, brands need a holistically competitive strategy in order to stand out and capture teenage attention.
Bolstering the Viral Sensation
Last month, Ad Age released an article commenting on Dove’s famous “Real Beauty Sketches” videos. While the videos have become a success in their own right, the article mentions a crucial piece of often-overlooked information: support from owned and earned media. With over 4 billion hours of video being watched each month on YouTube, the notion of viral is still an elusive concept because there’s no fool-proof method to guarantee that a video will become a viral sensation. By allocating ad spend dollars toward a media buy, the combined efforts bolster the likelihood of the campaign’s overall effectiveness, and generate a greater impact for the message. With video-services occupying some of teen’s biggest social media apps, such as Vine and Instagram, this demographic is becoming more involved in creating their own videos, and more attuned to paying attention to the unique ads that brands are creating with them. Given this attraction, brands must invest in paid media to maximize the effects of viral marketing promotions and campaigns.
A State University Campaign Stimulates Interest
A trend in recent years has been brands capitalizing on user-generated content. As David Burstein, author of Fast Future, pointed out in a recent interview, Millennials, especially teenagers, want to be part of the story and feel like their voice is heard by the brand.
Upon partnering with a state university, we created a campaign that would target high school students. Kristen Link, our director of client service, believes that “in order for a campaign to be effective, assets should be utilized across [many] spectrums.” The campaign capitalized on the use of real people, rather than paid celebrities, by featuring the testimonies of real students in its ads. This resonated with prospective students who could now visualize themselves on the college campus. The agency wanted to capture the school’s unique offerings and infiltrate the message through a variety of media, creating a holistic campaign. Through the use of banner ads and sponge cell units, the school promoted applications and reminder enrollment notifications for prospective students.
Capturing the attention of this demographic is indeed challenging, but when executed with a multi-channel approach, campaigns have the ability to make a lasting impression that will not only create brand loyalty, but prompt action as well. Teenagers are a very impressionable demographic, and creating a relationship with them by strategically utilizing different silos will pave the way for loyalty in the years to come.