Here at Giraffe, we have recently launched our Kids and the Screen proprietary study in the US, in partnership with Precise. This exciting piece of research comes at a time where brands need to understand and respond to the changing environment and the impact this is having on kids viewing. The study surveyed 2,000 families with kids aged between 2 and 12 years old and aims to give brands a greater insight into the US market to ensure strategies are adapted based on facts rather than industry myth.

A steep trend over the last few years has been that kids are watching YouTube above all other online video platforms. This is particularly true amongst our US audience with 35% of surveyed kids only accessing content via YouTube, online sites, social media, gaming, and video-on-demand platforms. In particular, YouTube is the most popular way US kids consume content (85%), followed by Video On Demand (71%), and Gaming (60%). In contrast, they are less interested in esports (13%), magazines/catalogues (16%), and trips to the cinema (17%). These findings do not suggest that families are not watching video on televisions, but rather that they’ve shifted their viewership habits to internet-enabled viewing across screens. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of households embracing free ad-supported television options. That means, if brands and advertisers are not focusing on a digital-first strategy, they’re missing out on at least a third of all kids’ audiences from the outset!

Kids are not only spending more time on YouTube, but they are also recalling more adverts whilst utilising this platform. Kids recall twice as many ads on YouTube than broadcast TV with 70% of kids aged 2-12 recalling adverts on YouTube compared to 35% on broadcast TV. This means that kids are not only choosing to watch skippable ad formats on the Google-owned platform, they also value them as part of their viewing experience. This offers a great opportunity for brands looking to reach and engage with young audiences.

Our study goes further, revealing how advertisements across platforms impact purchasing decisions. When kids were subsequently asked to recall where they saw advertised items that they had then asked their parents to buy for them, YouTube was the overwhelming response with one-third of kids asking for items advertised on this platform. This was followed by broadcast TV (15%) and in-store (9%). These insights were largely backed up by parents. When parents were asked where they had seen ads that led to purchased items for their kids, they said YouTube (25%) broadcast TV (12%) and online websites (10%). Our latest insights may explain why YouTube is now the biggest source of supply in US connected TV advertising, with approximately 40% of ad impressions on YouTube now occurring via smart TVs, up from 12% just two years ago.

As YouTube’s reach and capabilities continue to grow, it is no longer a question of whether brands should include YouTube as part of their marketing strategy but rather a question of how to best utilise it as a platform to reach and engage young audiences. With a wealth of other data that sits behind this study, brands can access the full research to provide their business with strategic kids’ insights not currently available anywhere else!

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