It’s no secret that a youth digital engagement strategy is a must for brands. Kids (age 12 and under) and Young Teens (ages 13-15) are spending more time online than ever before and playing an important role in household purchasing decisions. Brands must find safe and effective ways to engage these audiences. 

What’s not as clear is how to determine the best approach — between changing privacy laws, platform policies, and emerging trends, finding a safe and effective solution can be complicated. Keep reading to learn more about why owned communities are essential this year and three tips to get started with your owned media strategy.

What is the difference between owned and paid media?

Owned media consists of the channels managed directly by your brand. Examples of this include your website, app, blog, and social media accounts. Interacting with your target audiences through owned channels allows you to build long-term relationships within a controlled environment in most cases (see below: Does an owned media strategy guarantee safety and compliance?).

Paid media is a method of promoting your brand using sponsored posts, purchased ad inventory, and other forms of sponsored content. A strategically executed paid media strategy is a great way to drive reach and exposure of your brand. However, when engaging young audiences safety and compliance must be the ultimate priority to ensure audience and brand safety. A specialist partner can help you make the right decisions.

Why is an owned media strategy important in 2021?

Your owned audiences will always be smaller in scale than the audiences you can reach through paid media. Despite this, owned communities are much more powerful. That’s because the people who connect with your owned communities are those most connected to your brand. By investing in owned media, you are fostering long-term relationships with your biggest advocates.

A strong mix of marketing tactics is most powerful with a foundation of strong owned communities. With paid media as a driver of awareness, your owned communities can continue to grow — but for these communities to thrive, the people being introduced to your brand must have a reason to opt-in and stay. 

For a great example of owned and paid media working together, read our Penguin Young Readers case study.

Does an owned media strategy guarantee safety and compliance?

While owned channels offer brands more control over both content and context, it is still important to consider safety and compliance to avoid violating privacy laws or alienating young audiences. It is also important to remember that social media channels are never completely “owned” by your brand and may not have policies in place to prevent toxic content or interactions. 

Beyond community, strive for good community

It’s not just regulators and parents who are concerned about kids online safety: kids themselves crave non-toxic online communities in which to participate. In the US, 88% of kids prefer to use social media apps that are meant to be used by kids only. Brands across all verticals must provide safe, moderated spaces for kids and Young Teens to interact with content. 

How to get started with an owned media strategy

  1. Determine the audiences you’d most like to reach. This will help you determine the best channels, topics, and formats to use. Set goals for each channel and keep these in mind when creating content.
  2. Keep safety and compliance top of mind, providing non-toxic and trusted spaces for young audiences to share and consume content.
  3. Consider integrating active ways for kids and Young Teens to interact with your content. This might include sharing, creation, and production tools.

Most importantly, remember that growing owned audiences takes time and consistency. It doesn’t need to happen overnight, and you don’t need millions of users or followers to drive results for your brand.

Spotlight: PopJam, our kid-safe social content community

PopJam is SuperAwesome's safe social media platform

Engaging young audiences requires a thoughtful approach. But in a landscape that is changing quickly—affecting everything from the content that young audiences love to the privacy laws that protect them—doing this well requires knowledge and expertise. 

PopJam is our COPPA and GDPR-K-compliant safe-social content platform purpose-built for kids. It’s a safe, moderated community in which kids can engage with their favorite content, influencers, and brands, designed specifically for the safety and data privacy requirements of the under-13 audience.