Are you wondering where the next giant vertical lies? One that will have billions in spending power for years to come and can direct and influence others to do their bidding pretty much at will? Want to know where to find them? Your best bet is to catch them between the end of kindergarten and before their afternoon nap.
Yes, the newest and potentially strongest market to emerge on the scene is Generation Alpha…kids that are born from 2010 and after. Sounds crazy, but consider it. A digitally savvy, on-demand, diverse and socially conscious group that is already inured to traditional advertising. Three year old children that can swipe and touch their way through the iPhone that you had to watch a tutorial for. Second graders who can tell you the merits and pitfalls of a certain toy brand gleaned from several YouTube reviews. Gone are the days of picking out your Christmas list based on Saturday morning cartoon commercials and the Sears and Roebuck Wish List catalog. They still want toys and games, of course…but the landscape on how to find and choose them has changed dramatically.
Let’s look at some facts that can show how unique this situation is. First, the average family size is shrinking. Well-educated women are having fewer children at a later age than ever before, and that’s important. First, we’re talking about Gen X’ers and Millennials, who are well-known to be very attentive, or even slightly obsessive, about their children’s needs and wants, and check reviews and influencers’ opinions before making any purchases. We’re also talking about largely dual-income families with confident buying power, from everything from cars to strollers, and that’s likely going to focused on less children, probably one or two. And with thousands of this generation born daily, that adds up quick.
Next, consider the kids. They have been fluent in all things digital since birth. They’ve never been without the Internet or cell phones. Even before they can read, they can visually command a tablet by touch, and can use their voice to change the music or the TV channel. They are used to the same ad blockers that we are, and have little patience for traditional advertising. So, there’s a few things to consider when trying to connect with them:
- Most kids in this younger generation use YouTube regularly, in numbers up to 87%, and increasingly prefer it to regular television as they get older. They also own tablets and phones younger and younger. Bottom line? If you want to connect to this generation, get your video production up to speed.
- There are lots of influencers who speak to this age group, but they typically have a common theme that makes them popular and successful: tell a story, make it entertaining, keep it consistent. Ryan from RyanToysReview unboxes, plays with, and reviews toys to millions of subscribers…his latest post has had 5 million views and counting. He (and his parents) have been doing it the same way for a few years, and toy companies are lined up to have him review their next product.
- Google as a verb is something these kids have always known. So, countless sources can answer questions instantly, give directions and even give advice. They are also smart enough to know when a banner ad or in-app purchase is bothering them. Many kids use this wealth of content to teach themselves how to play music or code a video game, and if your brand is involved in this process, they’ll know it. Just keep it subtle!
The takeaway here is that there’s plenty of ways to connect to these kids (and their parents), and brand-produced content that barrels head-on through traditional advertising is not one of them. Entertaining content presented through trusted influencers to an increasingly mobile and discerning audience seems to be one of the best ways to do this…have you evaluated your influencer program yet?