Online advertising impacts to kids during the pandemic

During the course of the pandemic, much of the conversation has been about the impact that it has had on businesses and their employees. We all tend to forget that kids, including young students, have also had a lot to deal with, especially since many have not been able to leave their home and go to school. While not having the disposable income of adults, kids are a growing audience many advertisers cannot afford to ignore because it is an opportunity to reach a new group of potential and future customers. Also, kids can talk their parents into buying them something that they have seen and want. Here are a few ways that online advertising has impacted kids during the pandemic.
Students staying home While some schools have just begun to re-open, many kids are still stuck at home taking online classes. After-school activities have been closed down for over a year and will remain so for a few more months. The result of all this is that kids are spending more time at home and going through bouts of boredom. In order to stay stimulated, kids are watching more TV and playing more video games. This behavior benefits certain industries.

Increased screen time Many parents were strict about how much time kids spend online or in front of a screen, but with so many activities shut down for now, parents are being forced to increase the screen time kids have access to. That means that they are seeing a lot more ads, which they might well talk to their parents about if they see something they like or want. Parents may feel forced to make those purchases to help keep their kids happy since better alternatives might not be available due to the lock down.

Using more online tools With limited ability to hang out physically and offline, kids are adapted to communicate and socialize with friends using online social media and virtual meetings. Young people have always been active on social media, but the pandemic introduced them to many new tools, such as Zoom for online learning and other apps that they might otherwise never have used. This means that the trend for online communication will continue and kids could well end up being long-term users and trend setters for the rest of us.

More media consumption One place where young people are spending a whole lot more time is on sites like YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and many other video sites and apps. If you have spent any amount of time on those sites, you know that there are a lot of ads shown on a regular basis. More site traffic means more ad impressions. This is a great opportunity for advertisers and marketers to do more ad serving to reach more people. For example, video game makers would do well on Twitch, where a lot of users go to watch other people playing video games.

Vulnerable to persuasion As much as this is a new opportunity for advertisers to get in front of a lot of eyes, they also need to be aware that kids and young adults are very open minded and thus easily influenced. All ad vendors including publishers, advertisers, agencies, networks, exchanges, data brokers, ad servers have an ethical responsibility to ensure that they are not using practices and tactics that might be considered somehow sneaky or underhanded. There needs to be a certain level of self-regulation among ad vendors to ensure that kids are not used or tricked solely to add sales or make money unethically.

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