My name is Georgina, I’ve been doing work experience at Factor 3 in their digital department. As part of my week here I have been given the opportunity to write a blog post! This is my first ever blog post, I’m both nervous and excited to do this. To begin with there is the matter of a little background information on me; as most people who post blogs on the site are already known to readers however, I am not. Currently I’m in the sixth form at Chosen Hill School studying for my A levels. My interests include dancing, yoga and playing with my dog, Paddy.
My brief for this blog post was the subject of targeting teens, as a teen myself this is a subject matter I am interested in writing about. Why are students targeted by companies marketing ploys? There are multiple reasons in my opinion. Statistics from the Campus Group show that students on average spend 7 times more money online than the general population. This implies that teenagers constantly want to be up to date with everything, whether it be the newest iPhone or the latest fashion trends. Yet this idea of ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ is not a new phase, it has been used by advertisers long before most teenagers today were born to target ‘so-called’ passive audiences into buying material possessions that they perhaps don’t even need. Teenagers have great nagging capabilities, which we can use to our benefit on our parents to persuade them to purchase specific things, and advertisers can use this to their advantage. Another reason teenagers may be targeted is to ‘get them in’ early to a particular brand, so they will then continue to buy that brand for life. Students are also incredibly impressionable – take any trend from the past year and guaranteed teenagers have either created or participated in it. Our impressionability is useful to advertisers as it makes us susceptible to targeting with adverts. The only issue with how impressionable we are is that advertisers must ensure high regulation on adverts we may see, to prevent any harm coming to us. Hence regulations such as the water-shed and age restrictions on films.
As a teenager I am constantly on social media, whether it is straight after I wake up, during breaks at school or after school. The social channels I currently use include Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – in that order, according to my phone’s most used apps. Most of the time I can tell when I am being marketed to on my social media, such as when a sponsored post appears on my Twitter feed. However, as I write this blog the list in my notebook of ways I am marketed to keeps growing as I think of more and more. Social media posts with product placement are the most common way I think I am marketed to. I also listen to the radio every morning whilst getting ready for school meaning I hear multiple audio adverts. Whilst at school and doing homework I’ll listen to music through Spotify. At breaks in-between songs adverts are played either visually or audibly depending on what device you are listening on. These are the most effective forms of targeting advertising to me as a student. The least effective way to advertise to me would be through TV ads, as when I watch TV I usually check my social media on my phone rather than watch the ads. Furthermore, less and less teenagers are actually watching TV. According to statistics from Childwise (2016), 38% of young people now watch TV on demand through streaming services like Netflix.
Numerous companies target teenagers and students well. One example is The Body Shop, through their social media channels. Their Instagram is very active with at least one post a day, it is also extremely colourful – this makes it stand out whilst I scroll through a busy feed. In addition, they are successful in clearly showcasing their products to potential customers through excellent product placement in their posts. Victoria’s Secret is also a company that targets students well, their ‘Pink’ range is advertised on Snapchat through their Snapchat story, it encourages students to buy the products being advertised to them with the promotions. They also use well-known ambassadors with large social media followings as models. Another company that successfully targets students is Topshop, through their social media channels. Just like The Body Shop, their feed is aesthetically engaging and their posts are frequent. Products are successfully integrated into posts, encouraging students to visit their website to find the same item of clothing and purchase it. Students also have the extra incentive to buy from brands like Topshop as they offer student discount, which can be used in their stores and online.
Students are a large diverse audience with widespread interests, so how do you as advertisers target us? This is my advice for how to target students, from a student’s perspective. Firstly, keep up to date with the latest social media channel trends. Don’t market something that is supposed to be targeting students on Facebook because most teenagers rarely use Facebook or even have an account at all. Secondly, I admit this may sound obvious, but do your research! Find out when students are most and least active on social media, see what we look at most, whether it be the news, reality TV, celebrities etc. Thirdly, engage with us, don’t assume we are passive. Our generation like to be heard and have our say, this is why multiple programmes offer a hashtag to use on Twitter, allowing us to engage with other viewers and share our opinions. Another way to target students is to use appropriate ambassadors for brands. For example, using an older celebrity who was famous in the 80’s, will not attract students to a brand as they may not even know who the person is. The ambassador should be contemporary and well-known by young people, like a current pop artist. Finally, make posts stand out, we spend so much of our day mindlessly scrolling though all our social media feeds, you must make your post stand out from the rest. Make it colourful, make it engaging, make us stop and look!