Ten ways to market to Teens online

Anastasia Goodstein on behalf of the School Library Journal (and author of Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online) has written an interesting piece on some of the lessons she’s learned from studying young peoples’ online habits.

Many parallels can be drawn to how virtual world operators (the companies running the platforms) and brands can best position themselves into this segment.

She breaks out the following:

1. Teens are multitaskers: According to a 2005 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (see Generation M), students between the ages of eight and 18 spend more than 25 percent of their media time multitasking.

2. Teens prefer byte-sized entertainment: With so much multitasking going on, its best to keep your message short if you really want to nab teens attention……when it comes to electronic content, brief is best.

3. Teens expect content on demand: Gen Yers are used to getting what they want, precisely when they want it?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùdelivered, of course, on their favorite devices, including iPods, iPhones, and game consoles, like Playstation 3.

4. Teens want to participate: Kids want to have a say?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand even some ownership?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùin the products and content they use. And the more opportunities they have to personalize these things, the more engaged theyll be.

5. Enlist teens to manage your social media: By recruiting a teen or two to assist you, youre validating their technological expertise and social networking skills.

6. Dont try too hard to be cool: Kids can see right through that. And dont write in teen speak or pretend youre hip to whatever theyre into.

7. Know your audience: Boys and girls, and teens and tweens use the Internet differently?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand youll want to tweak your strategy to take advantage of those differences. Teenage boys, for example, create and upload more videos onto sites like YouTube. But girls spend more time designing, decorating, blogging, commenting, and communicating on social networking sites.

8. Dont sweat the design: Beautiful design is great, but your site doesnt have to be drop-dead gorgeous, like Apples or Nikes. Just make sure it addresses kids fundamental needs.

9. Support causes that kids care about: Find out what your local teens are passionate about and create a way for them to make a difference in the world.

10. Use text messaging and IM appropriately: Teens use email to communicate with the adult world, but when they want to talk to each other, they usually text or IM. If adults reach out to kids in a medium they view as their own, it often freaks them out.

I think Anastasia has really locked-down some really relevent points here, particuarly when considering how these points can be leveraged into virtual worlds.

I’d actually add in an 11th point – playing games (either alone or collaboratively).

The full article is here.

Related info:

Kids and Tweens virtual world case study

Seven Point Plan for Marketing in Virtual Worlds

K Zero services

For brands

For virtual world owners

For investors and VC’s