Martin Doyle, head of digital at nGen, the digital engagement specialist team within Generation Media, takes a look at the digital landscape.
Digital is literally everywhere, and nowhere more so than in the kids and youth space. You’ve no doubt seen one of the videos online featuring toddlers trying to swipe a paper magazine or other humorous misadventure. The reality is that today’s kids are ‘digital natives’ – those born after the proliferation of the internet; the invention of the smartphone; the mass market penetration of the tablet computer. Technology to this audience is already ‘old-hat’ – and we should always remind ourselves of that.
Meanwhile, in the advertising space, digital/online makes up a huge proportion of UK spend – more so than in almost every territory worldwide. 2016 is expected to be the year that digital spend makes up more than 50% of UK ad spend for the first time. This year, the digital marketplace is expected to be worth £8.9bn in the UK. Within that slice of the pie, 50% will be spent on mobile platforms: £4.4bn – that’s more than the entire print, radio and outdoor market combined in display ad terms.
One area where this trend hasn’t yet caught up is within our own toys and games space, which is surprising because toys suppliers and retailers are supposedly advertising products to digital natives. Why wouldn’t we market online when 40% of kids now own their own tablet? Facebook tells us that they don’t allow under 13s to access the site, but anyone who knows the average UK child will tell you that to say this is stringently policed would be a fallacy: in fact the BBC recently revealed as part of Safer Internet Day that 78% of 10 to 12 year olds have at least one social media account. Of course, there’s the downside – the same survey revealed that four in five teenagers reported that they’d witnessed instances of ‘online hate’. So, as toys and games advertisers, there is a moral obligation to protect our audience online, yet there are no strict regulations in place as there are in the US, such as the FTC’s COPPA.
Martin will be contributing a regular column to Toy World each month where he will explore this area in greater detail.