It has recently been announced that fast food brands will no longer be able to advertise before the 9pm watershed, which presents the question – how can brands effectively brands market without utilising the big screen TV?

We do a lot of work within the advertising space, helping our brands develop communication strategies which maximise reach and engagement amongst target audiences.

Through our Kids and the Screen research we know that amongst the younger audience Broadcaster TV is still the most effective way to reach kids, delivering adverts which are placed at the right time, showing the right content and with the right audience. However, whilst the ownership of content viewing occasions for Live TV has increased since lockdown (that’s news just in folks!), overall viewing occasions recorded in our viewing tracking study have declined by 19% (Kids and the Screen, May 2021), with social media becoming more prominent as a way for kids to entertain themselves through online content as 52% of 10–12-year-olds that use social media report they use TikTok (Little Voices, 2021).

Therefore, whilst linear TV is still the most effective way to reach and engage in the UK market in this moment is time, it is essential for UK brands to start to think about a future where the big screen does not play as great a role.

A step into the digital unknown…or is it?

The good news for us is that this isn’t a jump into the unknown, a precedence has already been made. Brands in the US have already had to adapt to utilise non broadcast platforms to both communicate and develop a relationship with their target audiences.

We have also recently launched KATS US, enabling us to also see and compare what is happening across the pond and to provide insight as to what strategies will be the most effective in the UK market as we navigate through the shifts of change.

In the US, digital is much more prominent with over twice as many kids accessing digital content (85%) vs broadcast (41%). Brands have already adopted for a digital 1st strategy which means that over a third of kids in this market are more likely to consider YouTube to have the best adverts and twice as many parents to have purchased a product after seeing it advertised on YouTube (25%) vs broadcast TV (12%) (Kids and the Screen USA, 2021). Social media is also more prominent, with half of kids getting inspiration from Tik Tok and Instagram for non-toy items like technology and food and drink (Little Voices, 2021).

An opportunity not a challenge!

We can see these same digital shifts starting already in the UK, with a fifth of kids already getting ideas from the likes of social media such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook (19%), particularly for non-toy categories. Importantly, kids are more likely to agree that they will ask for products seen on YouTube compared to Live TV (Little Voices, 2021) and nearly two thirds of kids who have seen an advert for something they want on YouTube will go on to ask their parents for it.For those aged 10-12 the shift is much further along, being just as likely to recall adverts from YouTube as they are broadcast (Kids and the screen May 2021).

There is a sign that some of these brands which are going to be most affected by the restrictions still have some way to go. For instance McDonalds is still the top advert recalled by kids aged 10-12 when watching Live TV (Kids and the screen May 2021), not appearing in the top lists for digital adverts recalled. These brands need to work harder to become more prominent on the digital platforms which exist, leveraging the unique communication opportunities each digital platform offers e.g. YouTube being content led, Instagram being endorsement led.

The combination of the natural shifts which are occurring mixed with some categories being restricted, brands need to start thinking of these challenges as an opportunity. Developing strategies which utilise both the linear and the digital will mean brands are communicating on multiple touchpoints, delivering persuasive, far reaching adverts on linear (for those where this is still accessible) and brand/ content led communications, building advocacy from the ground up to maintain reach and engagement.

If you would like to know more about how to reach and engage with your target audience in the most effective way then get in touch to find out more!

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