Facebook’s new advertising policies for minors focus on organic PR
Facebook is a huge target. It takes a lot of finish. One of the latest attacks concerns its practice of employing contractors like Accenture for content monitoring.
Another target of criticism, and one that Facebook shares with major search platforms and other social companies, is the way its advertising targets young people. In late July, amid concerns over its Instagram for Kids project, Facebook said it would limit targeted advertising to users under the age of 18. This change follows and resembles Alphabet’s efforts to limit the influence of brands on young people based solely on interests.
These changes create a challenge for communicators looking to target young people through SEO and on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Communicators will need to revert to other forms of audience. Many will begin to realize the need to move from paid media to shared media, and from advertising to organic engagement.
Returning to the principles of organic reach, especially reaching out to youth groups, will require more cutting edge and engaging content that attracts a younger audience.
Reinvest your advertising budget
Organic campaigns rely on the value of content as a mechanism for reach. The better the content, the greater the reach.
But going bio doesn’t mean just posting to your own channels. Money once spent on advertising can be reinvested in organic engagement campaigns. These allocated dollars can instead be used to amplify your content organically.
Consider a playful approach to posts. Ask your audience to subscribe, like posts, use a particular hashtag, leave a comment, or upload a photo for a chance to win [insert exciting new gadget, concert tickets, gift cards, etc.].
By participating in the post, the user’s audience will also see their activity. Since many young followers tend to cluster together, the gamified approach will naturally be amplified to a larger target audience.
Share campaigns encourage a target audience to take action for you. By creating a youth sharing campaign, you create an opportunity for the audience to engage with your message by saying, doing or sharing. Think Ice Bucket Challenge but for kids, with a unique and catchy hashtag.
More revealing, less sold
Organic bread and butter means joining the conversation and demonstrating a presence. Brands that want to reach an 18 and under market should consider befriending other brands that reach this audience and posting there regularly. Inject posts organically in the comments and try to share your content between this account.
Consider a derivative account for young people
Youth-centric content may look different from the majority of a brand’s communication. Youth campaigns rely heavily on trendy content that may not resonate with older audiences.
Organizations that rely on a youth audience as a subset of their reach might consider a dedicated Facebook page or Instagram account for people under the age of 18.
Spending by influencers in 2021 exceeded $ 1 billion and continues to climb. As organizations continue to embrace market share and influencing power, communicators trying to reach younger audiences should consider these opportunities.
Not all relationships with influencers are the same. For example, some require a monetary incentive, free “merch” to unbox and demo, and click costs. See “Reinvesting Your Advertising Budget” above.
Joshua James Smith is Assistant Professor, PR, Virginia Commonwealth University