With their buying power and trend-making prowess, teens and young adults have always been popular targets for interactive marketers. In the past, we’ve looked to email marketing and instant messaging as our means of connecting with this demographic, but reaching today’s teens requires an understanding of an entirely different online animal.
Social Networks are the newest way for teens to connect with their friends online, partake in online discussions, meet new people, even create their own blogs. Exchanging email and instant messages remains a popular pastime, to be sure, but increasingly it’s these online communities that are receiving the lion’s share of young peoples’ time. For marketers, these sites open up a whole new world of advertising opportunities. Designed around communication and effective at engaging consumers, social networks lend themselves well to such interactive initiatives as contests, quizzes, games, and branded content.
In Canada, the place to go for access to the social network matrix is “24/7 Canada”:http://www.247canada.com, which currently boasts a reach of over 50 per cent of young online Canadians aged 12 to 24 (comScore Media Metrix estimates there are over 5 million in all). The network just added “Friendster”:http://www.friendster.com, arguably the most popular social network on the Web, to its list of sites, which also includes “Piczo”:http://www.piczo.com and Canada-based “Nexopia”:http://www.nexopia.com and “Zuup”:http://www.zuup.com.
If you’re considering advertising on these sorts of sites, heed this caveat: Teens are wise to our marketing ways, and are quite adept at tuning us out. Develop a campaign that speaks to their interests and entertains them, and you’ll capture these elusive consumers yet.