5 Ways YOU Can Connect With The Über Cool Teenage Market

By Alison Lukin


According to Statistic Brain there are over 26.8 million teens in the U.S. Their total spending last year (products bought by and for teens) totaled a whopping $258.7 BILLION dollars! WOW!

Clearly today’s marketers would be foolish to ignore this demographic. But marketing to teens is quite a challenge for they’re a fickle bunch. If they smell even the slightest scent of uncool, they’re out the door and nearly impossible to get back. If another friend they think is cool thinks you’re cool…then you’ll LOL all the way to the bank. So how do you get this age group’s attention?


Tracking teen trends definitely shows specific patterns of what they go for. Want to get on their radar? Here are 5 foolproof tips for marketing to minors in a major way.

1. It’s All About That Instagram: Teen blogger Andrew Watts made major waves with his take on teens and social networking. According to Watts, Instagram is where it’s at when it comes to his peers:

“Instagram is by far the most used social media outlet for my age group. Please note the verbiage there—it is the most used social media outlet. Meaning, although the most people are on Facebook, we actually post stuff on Instagram. It’s always fascinating to me to see a friend with 1500 friends on Facebook only get 25 likes on a photo yet on Instagram (where she has 800 followers) she gets 253.”

That being said, this leaves a huge opening for marketers to access this large group of active followers. But the challenge is two-fold. Companies need to let teens know they’re on Instagram and entice them to follow. Then, post relevant content that will keep them following and sharing across other social networks.

Still not convinced? According to Media Post brands are having great success marketing creatively to teens through Instagram:

“…it is the fastest-growing social network among 14- to 17-year-olds, with 59% saying they’re using it more than they did a year ago, according to the Cassandra Report. As long as brands stick with ethos of the network as an inspiring communication venue, teens welcome their involvement. To date, brands have found creative ways to use the site to offer games, innovate stagnant online product catalogs, and spark “flashtagrams.” Keep an eye out for more companies giving their followers fun and unique experiences on the platform.”

2. Relatable Influencers: When it comes to “who teenagers are listening to” gone are the days of the traditional celebrity. Online influencers have way more pull when it comes to who they’re watching for the next cool product.

Let’s take a look at the top 3 most followed stars on Vine according to www.BusinessInsider.com:

  1. Nash Grier: He’s only 16 years old and has over 10 million followers making 6 second videos no one over the age of 20 would (or should) find funny. But companies will offer him anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000 to create a video and endorse their product. Who’s laughing now?
  2. KingBach: aka Andrew B. Bachelor is a twenty-something who also boasts over 10 million followers. His comedy-packed snippets have landed him several major TV roles and collaborations with other Vine stars.
  3. Brittany Furlan: This 28 year old has over 8 million followers who thrive on her comedic clips. How much will a company pay to be featured in one? Anywhere between $7,000 and $20,000 dollars.

Who’s watching all these shenanigans?? You guessed it. And these Viners don’t have millions of views they have BILLIONS.

So when a company is going to choose the next famous face to represent their company, there are many more options than the traditional celebrity endorsement. Add to the mix the notion that there is considerable value in long-tail influencers, a topic we will discuss in an upcoming blog.

3. Keepin’ It Real: There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING that a teenager can see through faster than someone being fake. That’s why these everyday influencers are so effective. They are REAL. Kids want authenticity, relatability, and to really identify with not only the person they’re watching, but the company that is vying for their attention.

Top Rank Blog surveyed top online marketers and asked them their predictions for 2015. An insight from DJ Waldow, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Marketo, relates directly to the youth-driven market:

“2015 will be the year of HUMAN for digital marketers. Gone are the days of corporate-speak messaging and dull, boring campaigns. Instead, we’ll begin to see more marketers incorporate human-speak into their messaging – videos, pictures, humor, and human!”


4. Funny or Die: Google “top viral videos” and the results that come up are virtually all funny. Stupid humor in particular. Why? People love to laugh! Especially teenagers.

The reason why a video goes viral is because people want to share that chuckle with others. Teenagers are good at sharing?? It gives all us parents of small children hope for the future. At least they get it eventually!

The soda brand, Fanta, recently started their wildly popular social media campaign, “Fanta For The Funny.” It’s a weekly digital comedy series consisting only of 6 second Vine videos. Not only are the videos on Fanta’s social media channels, but also on www.CollegeHumor.com. The Vine clips depict “gags and pratfalls” featuring some of the most popular faces on Vine like AlliCattt and Jason Mendez.

Companies like Fanta are clearly getting it right. All hail the funny!!

5. Mobile Medium: Teens may use their computers when it comes to doing homework or blogging, but when it comes to social media, it’s pretty obvious they’re on a smartphone. Constantly!

With that in mind, marketers are creating ads with as little barrier as possible between the viewer and the sale. Tom Webster, VP of Edison Research, reinforces the importance of ads being mobile friendly:

“Consider this—I’m walking around town, listening to online radio over my phone, and I hear an audio ad for a product that might interest me. In the past, were I to hear that ad, I’d have to remember the name of the company, then go home and use a search engine to learn more about the company before an eventual purchase. But the continual removal of barriers between message and action that mobile gives us will begin to restore the balance of the Force for attribution, and digital marketers can start to get away from channel-based thinking and move towards a more human behavior-centered model, with mobile serving as the unifying principle to unite offline and offline marketing.”

Let’s review young students! Staying cool with the young crowd is easier than you think. Go where they go (Instagram) and feature who they like (relatable influencers). Don’t be phony, be funny! And do it all on your phone. Class is dismissed;)