There is a German saying that goes “Was Hänschen nicht lernt, lernt Hans nimmer mehr” - which roughly translates into “catch them when they are young”. Advertisers and marketers are well aware of that and know how important it is to not only target potential customers in their best buying age but also those who’ll be buyers in the soon future: teenagers.
What most of them probably were not aware of, are the findings finding outlined in a recently published review on teenage media use in Germany (find the full report in German here), which reveals that “coming in contact with too much advertising” was the second strongest self-experienced online risk amongst teenagers in 2017.
Being surprised by that fact ourselves, we took advantage of currently having a school trainee in-house who perfectly fit into the demographics of that report: Henri, 14 years old, student, familiar with online media, internet user.
In an effort not to lead his answer into a certain direction, we simply asked Henri, to outline his perception of online advertising. The following text shows the uncut, unfiltered thoughts of one of your potential customers-to-be. And if you dare to listen to him, you’ll get some valuable advice :)
"Our modern consumer behavior is determined by many factors: financial means, own interests, interests of our fellow men, etc. However, one of the most important factors influencing our purchasing decision is advertising. It plays a role in almost every purchase - at least subconsciously - and is essential to introduce a product to a larger target group in the first place.
We take advertising for granted today. It's everywhere and you can find it evil, but you'll still see it. Complaining doesn't help.
My advertising experiences mainly comes from magazine-like websites that publish articles, such as APIT, Youtube, and television. I hardly ever use social media like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. I'd like to say now that I’m avoiding social media so that I can protect my data, but the truth is that we just don't have WLAN at home and I don't have enough mobile data to surf massively 😉
Banners: expectations & reality
The most annoying commercials are the ones which are just stating the obvious. These small windows next to “whatever” you are browsing for that very ‘subtly’ ask you to CLICK on them and buy something. Creative or funny ads that really trigger something in me are rather the exception. Well, I have to admit that once or twice I have also given in to some well-targeted banners. Who can resist if one's help is urgently needed to move the evil enemy tank to the afterlife with one click? After I react to it for the first time, however, these ads also lose any attraction for me.
Google Ads and non-native content
What I think it’s the worst of the worst is Google Ads advertising for Google Ads. Whenever I see that, I ask myself: "Do you have so few customers that you can't find anyone who wants this space? Or is Google Ads really so unknown? Besides, I'm not even the target group. Can you really not manage to display the ads in a target-group oriented way?". One note: I am not particularly fond of Google Ads. But not only Google is annoying for me. What disturbs me, even more, are those articles displayed at the bottom of an article I am reading - in a section where I expect related content. Some of those suggested articles are completely out of context or, even worst, spam sites looking to rip-off money from naif users. The ones who most often fall victims to those scam websites are internet newbies, like retired people who end up falling for a subscription scheme. I hate those scammers. I understand that advertising is supposed to be good for companies and brands. But I think there are better ways to reach customers.
Advertising for your future customers
I am always happy about advertising that does not immediately overwhelm me with the message. I like advertising that gives me something back for the attention that I am forced to pay. If they give me something, I am also ready to give them something back: more attention right up to the purchase of the product. A win-win situation for the advertising brand.
What do I expect in exchange for my attention? It doesn't have to be anything material at all. A nice example is advertisements on Youtube, which show me the first 5-10 minutes of a current movie, mostly for the release of the disc or download versions. I am well entertained for a short time, and will maybe even buy the film. As said - a win-win situation!
In my family, we sometimes try to guess the brands of commercials running during advertising breaks (yes, we are weird). I often notice that, in my opinion, the harder it is to guess the brand behind a commercial, the better the spot works for me.
Again an example: Apple’s videos about the features of the new iPhones. They start off with interesting pictures along with catchy music. You watch the spot and don't know what these pictures have to do with each other (or what’s up with them) until shortly before the video ends. It had an immediate effect on me: I wanted to know what those pictures meant. For a short moment, I suppressed the fact that what I was watching there was advertising and I only thought about these pictures. [editorial note: seems familiar 😉] Even when I saw the spot for the second and third time, I still liked it: because now I knew what the pictures were aiming at and I felt superior to the others who didn't know the "solution".
Bottom line: how to advertise for us teenagers
In summary, I can say that I don't like most of the video ads I see. Because they're commercials. Too often, I'm just littered with advertising so that I started disliking advertising per se. Then I close myself off to the message and develop a rather negative attitude towards the company that forces me to look at its crap. However, if I then encounter a good piece of advertising, I find it all the more beautiful and automatically give the brand and company more sympathy."
What do you think about Henri’s thoughts? Any surprises for you? Any new insights? Let us know in the comments!
Or are you even ready for some “Henri-style” marketing? Get in touch!