Last week, SuperAwesome hosted an exclusive industry breakfast briefing in NYC. 

CEO Dylan Collins kicked off with an update on SuperAwesome and the wider market before handing over to SuperAwesome’s Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Nunn. 

Privacy Goes Mainstream

Paul comes from a background in YouTube and kids gaming. He built out Outfit7’s YouTube channel presence, and set the blueprint for how to do kids digital engagement on YouTube. Paul talked through the recent changes to YT policies and what that meant for brands, agencies and content creators. 

Paul highlighted the 3 critical considerations in looking at your kid-safe video strategy in 2020: 

  1. Who – Under 16 audience now represents 40% of new internet users, with regulation spreading this even wider. You can’t ignore this audience anymore.
  2. How – Specialist kidtech tools are required, you can’t rely on repurposed adult platforms. 
  3. Where – contextual advertising is key for this audience – how do you understand insights and plan across the areas you are engaging with kids.

What does this mean for Agencies? 

While the media landscape for kids and family continues to fracture, the volume of content online expands. With trends in the kids and family space spiking and fading faster than ever, and with context now established as the default targeting method for U16 consumers, media planning is required to be smarter than ever before.

Specifically, every agency should be considering the following:

  • Specialist solutions are required to deliver your message to the right audience, on the right platform, in the right content to achieve the KPIs for your campaign
  • 3rd party contextual insights, trends, and tracking are now critical for u16 targeting globally
  • Compliance expertise and coverage needs to be a core element of your service to any brand looking at the u16 space.

What does this mean for Brands?

The data-enabled audience insights that have historically dominated digital strategy are now outlawed for u16 consumers. If you are a brand, it is imperative that you have full control over who you are targeting, where you are reaching them and how you are doing it.  Brands must:

  • Hold accountability for their suppliers and technology partners that reach an u16 audience
  • Must be able to demonstrate compliance across all of their u16 brand activity in digital, in respect to COPPA and GDPR-K plus many other local and related regulations
  • Access to dedicated compliance resource in order to manage the new, evolving kids digital privacy landscape.

What does this mean for Content Owners?

Brand building has changed! Youth audiences are being shaped by their online experiences and the platforms they throw themselves into. Demand for content and brands they love continues to grow; it is the delivery and engagement that must change. 

Three areas all content owners will be focusing on in the current climate are:

  • Diversifying content distribution strategies to move with consumer trends and reduce their reliance on YouTube
  • Engagement with the u16 audience requires additional platforms, and content owners must keep up with this fracturing digital landscape
  • There is now an expectation of responsibility, as well as awareness that your content will be viewed by kids in digital environments.

Video Strategy in 2020: Phyllis Starisa, CEO & Founder at PowerPhyl Media Solutions and Jen Hourigan, Group Director, Communications Design at Initiative

After Paul we had a panel of experts talking about Video Strategy in 2020 and perspectives on today’s digital marketing for kids, moderated by our COO, Kate O’Loughlin. 

“It’s a myth that you can either target kids or the parents. You have to engage with both.”

– Jen Hourigan, Group Director, Initiative

Kate, Phyllis and Jen discussed how reaching and engaging kids requires experimentation, especially because digital consumption patterns continue to change. In their agencies’ work, both panelists felt that there was no static playbook for connecting with kids and that there are myths to be busted in media planning and execution. 

Kate also asked Jen and Phyllis to predict what disruptions will occur in the kids ecosystem in 2020. The panelists agreed that anti-predatory and anti-bullying issues will be topical this year.  Violations of kids data privacy laws were central to compliance headlines last year – and enforcement is expected to continue – but appropriateness and responsibility for kids safety are themes expected for 2020.

“It’s the brand, as much as the parent, which has a responsibility towards safety and privacy for their u16 audience.”

– Phyllis Starisa, CEO & Founder at PowerPhyl Media Solutions

Key takeaways:

  • Consensus that experimentation for reaching kids is required, especially because of TV scarcity and fragmentation of kids‘ digital time spent.
  • Content is now central to video strategy. There is an increase in fluidity between ads and experiences.
  • Brands have an obligation to treat kids safely. You can’t rely on parents to police, especially since there are few true co-viewing experiences for school-aged kids and tweens. You also can’t rely on the platforms because they weren’t built for kids. Brands need to ‚own‘ safety in their strategy.
  • A common myth that needs to be busted is there is only room for either shopper (adult) only or kid-only strategies. Both audiences have a role to play in transactions.
  • Another myth is that kids are all the same. They have passion points and advertisers need to understand/align to them. 

The Fireside Chat: Ginny McCormick

Dylan then returned to the mic for a fireside chat with Ginny McCormick. For the past 20 years, Ginny McCormick has been a digital marketing evangelist in the toy industry.  Working at Mattel Interactive, Disney and Hasbro, Ginny’s experience includes global media leadership, marketing strategies for families and fans, as well as launching digitally connected toys. 

The pair had a lively discussion which concluded by looking at how the ecosystem of kids brands and agencies evolve with the increasing kids-privacy laws and what does a marketing mix look like in 5 years time.

‘Toy Companies have the most demanding target audience on this planet.”

– Ginny McCormick

Key Takeaways:

  • Tremendous growth is due in toys, if we listen to our consumers and pivot some of the legacy behaviours.
  • Disruption is coming from everywhere – really smart companies are leaning in to this ‘what’s next’ approach.
  • No one has a clear definition of what TV is – least of all kids. It’s all video and it’s all on their terms and that’s the realm we need to operate in.
  • Regulation has been part of the kids’ space forever.
  • What’s going to change in 2020 is how much time kids spend on ad-free platforms, meaning more unreachable families
  • As a brand, you need to have a partner who is committed to the kids space and is going to help you navigate the ecosystem.
  • Brands who are going to get the most return are the ones that are taking a step back, thinking about that consumer and ALL the possible ways that they can reach them. Shake off the legacies.

“You cannot do it alone as a brand right now.”

– Ginny McCormick

If you missed it (or if you were there!) and you or your team would like to hear more about any of the topics we discussed, click here to get in touch.