For some brands, tweens are an extremely valuable demographic. Tweens are defined as being 8 to 12 years olds, in essence, the “in-between” years between being a child and a teenager. According to the U.S. Census, the tween population is projected to hit 23 million by 2020; and the tween segment is growing.
But engaging tweens online is often challenging for advertisers. For instance, many parents limit tweens’ access to the Web. Sites like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube require users to be at least 13 years old. And, under the law, websites aren’t allowed to collect personal information on tweens (i.e. for ad targeting) without parental consent. However, brands have many opportunities to engage online tweens to start building brand loyalty prior to tweens’ adult years. The key for brands is to understand exactly how tweens want to participate across platforms and how they engage with their ecosystem of peers and branded content.
Tweens’ Online Behavior
Social & Video
Tweens are constantly seeking new places to connect with friends. These places include parent-approved social networking sites like Everloop, content creation sites like FashionPlaytes.com (where girls can design clothes with their friends) and video-sharing sites like KidzVuz. Haul videos—where people show off what they’ve recently purchased—are also popular among young people. However, keep in mind that users must be 13 or older to join and upload videos to YouTube.
In addition to social networking, tweens are big online gamers. According to Mashable, half of girls aged 8 to 12 use the Web for entertainment and social gaming. Tweens spent 38 minutes/month gaming in 2011 vs. 78 minutes/month in Q1 2012.
Many tweens are social networking, gaming and otherwise entertaining themselves on their own smartphones and tablets. In fact, Mashable reported that 35% of girls aged 3 to 12 own a smartphone. Of these users, tweens prefer iOS devices over Android devices:
Additionally, Performics has seen that brands that have younger demographics have greater success driving mobile transactions/revenue because of higher usage of SMS and mobile search.
When brands consider how tweens want to use the Web—social, video, gaming and mobile—they can devise strategies to effectively engage those tweens. Brands should focus experiences around educating tweens while keeping their parents involved, easing the struggle of policing tween activity online. Our top recommendations include:
These strategies can connect your brand to tweens, impacting brand awareness, consideration, perception and loyalty. Through sharing platforms, games and custom apps, your brand can also inspire tweens to spread positivity about your brand to their friends. Your brand will then be top-of-mind when tweens spend their own money, as well as when they tell their parents what they want. You’ll also build loyalty, and when tweens reach the age where they can join Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, they’ll be likely to advocate for your brand.