These days, the screen is the king of entertainment. Compounding the domination, digital behaviors of children, as well as their families have seen a radical shift in the wake of a historic 2020.
But lest we believe that television is the world’s leading juggernaut, it is important to consider that over 55% of children between the ages of seven and nine actually opt for spending their screentime engaged in video games, making those the primary sources of entertainment, as well as reputable mediums for discovering emerging brands.
In garnering such dominance on kids’ attention, well-known toy brands are using this new digital medium to plan the new course of navigation in their family and kids marketing to catere to their child audience in 2021 and beyond in .
Reaching Younger Audiences in 2021
As the pandemic set in, most forms of entertainment, learning, and social interaction have shifted into the digital world. 2020 has disrupted the traditional patterns of consuming digital products, shifting them to increased screen time for everything from education to gaming. This generation of children has opened a door for brands to extend their reach to the youth audience that goes beyond the long-established television viewership.
In the past, kids of ages 4 through 9 would see commercials in the middle of their favorite cartoons of toys they could not help but want. Now, the avenues through which kids of comparable age ranges are exposed to games and toys have expanded drastically, with YouTube trumping television in terms of product discovery prowess, while advertisements delivered via mobile gaming attract a wider audience of older children.
In the past, parents had used their prerogative to shop for toys their kids might like, often prompted to do so by magazine ads or window displays at local toy stores or department stores. These days, kids are exposed to so many potential ideas that they can easily determine their own desired toy acquisitions, communicating what they themselves have come to know about through the digital marketing outreach.
Brands stand to greatly benefit from multi-platform reach to children. Its also important to note that children may be going digital in their entertainment, but their areas of interest are different, giving toy companies varying angles to reach many different types of kids with their products.
Digital and Physical Together
It is quite telling when kids express boredom with just how much screen time they currently have, a trend set (and often necessitated) by the increased COVID-19 protocol. Perhaps in any normal circumstance, kids would love to be permitted to spend hours engaged in digital entertainment, but their overexposure forces them to seek a world of entertainment away from the screen.
While their attention is digitally compelled, however, toy companies have a chance to reach more children who will in turn request many of the products they have seen. This also opens opportunities to afford children physical toys and games to engage in while their time is diverted from screens.
Foreseeing the new normal in the post COVID era is challenging, but it’s safe to say that brands need to prepare for flexing their creative muscles in order to cater to the youth audience on both physical and digital ends. In fact, many brands are already working on blending games into toy products while turning toy products into digital content and using games to market their products.
Understanding Gaming Trends (Not Just for Gaming Companies)
It’s best not to underestimate how greatly the popularity of gaming has grown among youngsters. Consider that a stunning 115 million children and adolescents play 20 or more games monthly with the wildly popular Roblox. Such astronomical numbers suggest that the behavior of young children is prone to more active engagement with consumed content, making it doubly important for brands to think about how they can extend their interactive desire to what they seek to do and who they are looking to reach in new and creative ways of approaching young consumers when planning their marketing for kids.
Beyond capitalizing on the increased digital exposure, brands must shift their focus on an approach that is both effective from a business and financial sense but also makes the wellbeing and safety of their young viewers and consumers paramount.
The real challenge is for brands to find the right balance between getting their products in front of the eyeballs of their target audience without making the process feel like they are forcing anyone’s hand.