Why Teens Matter to Your Local Media Campaign

local media

The better you understand the local media habits of your future customer now, the better you will understand who they will become later.

You may think, because you are not currently targeting teens and young adults with your product or service, you can ignore that segment of the population. But, young adults are a crucial segment for businesses and advertisers to understand, no matter who you are targeting.

The 18-24 demographic is one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., and will play a significant role in the adult segment of the future.

You need to remember,the teenager of today is your customer tomorrow.  While their behavior may not matter to you today, it is critical to remember, how they are utilizing media today will definitely impact how you reach them tomorrow.

According to the recent Nielsen study The Teen Transition: Adolescents of Today, Adults of Tomorrow, young adults are a crucial segment for businesses “as the 18-24 year old demographic expands faster than any other young age group, so does its viewing and purchasing power.”

So who are today’s teens and young adults, and what are their media habits?

Multicultural across all age groups

No matter if you are looking at 12-17, 18-24 or 25-34, each of these segments are almost identically multicultural, as 42% of each group comprises Hispanics, African-American and Asian-American.  This will vary somewhat by market and area of the country, but the U.S. Census data shows that these groups will generate the majority of the U.S. population growth over the next few decades.

With this amount of growth in the ethnic population across the country, advertisers will need to do their homework on the ethnic population of their target market and consider targeting these groups with their message.  Don’t ignore a growing group of potential customers.

Own multiple devices

Within the teen household, smartphones and tablets are growing faster than any other device.  According to the same Nielsen study, over the past year “smartphone penetration has increased by 45% among teens, 32% among adults 18-24 and 22% among adults 25-34.

The Devices we own

Shifting Viewing habits

When it comes to viewing habits, the increase in available viewing devices has caused a shift in viewing habits for all age segments.  While everyone under 34 years old is spending less time in front of the TV, there are differences in where these segments are viewing their content.

How we're watching video

Teens are the highest mobile viewers and watch 18% more videos on their mobile phones than 18-24 year olds, and 46% more than 25-34 year olds.

Young adults 18-24, on the other hand, spend almost 3 times more time watching videos on the internet than teens 12-17.  Adults 25-34 spend the most total combined time watching content on TV, online and mobile.

Regardless of which segment you consider, all of these age groups are spending more time with the various devices, and this trend is not likely to change.  Even when considering the changing lifestyles of teens as they grow older, this data leads to the conclusion that teens will likely continue to view content on mobile and internet as they age.

Even if you are not currently targeting teens and young adults with your message, it is important to understand how they are using these devices. Because, the likelihood is that their usage will increase as they grow older.

Start thinking now about how you might need to change your media plans to layer your message across multiple platforms.  Don’t wait until you have no chance of ever gaining them as a customer when they grow older.


Linda Thomas

About Linda Thomas

Linda is the Director of Media Services at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. With over 25 years in the industry, there isn¹t much she hasn¹t seen or done with regard to media planning and placement on a local, regional or national level.

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