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Marketing to Teens and Tweens Checklist

Posted on 9.30.2013

Marketing to teens and tweens can be challenging for brands. This young customer segment typically does not have money of their own, yet they have the power to influence their parents’ spending decisions. 

This means that brands must market their products in a way that not only attracts the eye of consumers in this age group, but also persuades them to seek out the product in-stores or online. While much of the success relies on the product alone (is it trendy? flashy? modern?), it also depends on the brand’s marketing strategy.

Luckily, teens and tweens are a tech savvy group who spend a lot of their spare time online. And although brands cannot request any personally identifiable information from children under the age of 13 (tweens) due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), they can publish content and advertise in the digital places where these youngsters, as well as their teen counterparts, spend the majority of their time, including:

Social Networks

- Despite age requirements for most social networks, many teens and tweens have a Facebook and/or Twitter account these days. In addition to posting on these popular sites, brands should also check out blogging social network Tumblr. This platform has actually become quite popular with teens and tweens, with many brands, including Teen Vogue and Abercrombie, maintaining a presence.

- In addition to publishing content on social networks, brands can also advertise in these channels. Facebook, for example, enables advertisers to target users on mobile devices (a popular channel for teens and tweens), as well as based on their interests (such as pop culture and entertainment), movie and music preferences, age and even education (including high school!).

Mobile Devices

- Teens and tweens are almost always connected to some type of technology, and often times that technology is a smartphone. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume texting and social networking are among the top smartphone activities for this segment, but interactive apps are likely pretty high on the list, too. This is why brands that are targeting a young customer segment should make sure their apps are engaging for this group. For example, retailer Forever 21 has included a user-generated Instagram section that allows consumers to view other customers’ Forever 21 outfits, as well as shop for the look through the user-generated images. Plus, by using the #F21XME hashtag, consumers can upload their fashion images to Instagram and look for their photos within the app.

- Aside from adding engaging features to your app, brands should also advertise in the apps that are most popular with their target audience. Mobigirl Media, for example, helps brands reach girls aged 6 to 16 through the apps that they use the most. In addition, other mobile ad networks, like Tapjoy, also provide targeting options including demographics, location, language and device.

Email

- Email marketing is typically more effective than both search and social marketing, however, not all teens and tweens have email addresses. Because of this, it is important to keep in mind that campaigns in this channel may have a smaller reach than other channels. In order for campaigns to receive the best performance, marketers need to make sure that messages are optimized for mobile and should test the best time of day to send out campaigns. For example, brands may find that during the school year the highest performing campaigns are sent around 7:00 am, before many teens and tweens begin their first classes. Conversely, marketers may find that campaigns perform better around 10:00 am during the summer time, since teens and tweens tend to sleep-in.

- In addition to message timing, marketers also need to use catchy subject lines, because subject lines are usually the difference between a message receiving a click-through or being deleted. Consider testing trendy phrases, hashtags or even emoticons to entice your young consumers to read your brand’s message.

On-site

- If your brand’s target audience is teens and tweens, chances are your site receives high shopping cart abandonment rates because many of your ideal customers don’t have debit and credit cards of their own. While implementing a kid-friendly checkout technology like Virtual Piggy can help with this problem, so can offering different types of promotions. This is because if a promotion or discount seems too good to pass up, your youthful customers will be more likely to convince mom or dad to make the purchase. Test flash sales, social sharing discounts and free shipping incentives to discover what type of promotions resonate the best with your audience.

- Another way to combat shopping cart abandonment is with retargeting advertisements. By implementing a retargeting campaign through a platform like Rise Interactive or AdRoll, you can remind prior site visitors about your products all over the Web. And, since the ads are both targeted and relevant to the type of products your consumers prefer, they tend to perform better in terms of conversions. 

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