Ads in the Teen Tech Space: What's Being Marketed?
FEB 7 2023

We are now entering the teen years of Generation Z, a group now between the ages of 10 and 25, and one thing this generation is known for is embracing modern technologies, from virtual reality (VR) to smart home tech. 

A whole generation of buyers spending their time online through well-known social apps might sound like a marketer’s heaven to some. But don't be fooled, modern teens are not following what the media tells them or listening to traditional advertising anymore. 

Teenagers' ease of access to the internet and the advent of new social media platforms raise concerns about how to advertise and market to the generation that’s seemingly removed from traditional methods of marketing. 

Teenagers are setting trends and building brands on online platforms, so it’s time to get creative with your technology ads aimed at teenagers.

Technology & Teens

There is no doubt that teens are dominating the modern tech industry, but the reason may be unclear to many. 

Well, for starters, many teens have no memory of life before social media. This is while the millennials only remember using smartphones after they reached their teen years. Check out the three most popular teen apps here, and you'll see that only one is a familiar name on the list of most companies’ traditional communication channels with customers. 

Teens are a prime target audience for technology ads due to their superior understanding of technology compared to other generations. In a recent study, teenagers were found to be more likely to pass down technology to their parents than the other way around, simply because they have a better understanding and grasp of technology.

According to a new survey, 95% of teens have smartphones, 90% have desktop or laptop computers, and 80% have gaming consoles. Study results also show an increase in daily teen internet users from 92% in 2014-15 to 97% in 2022.

The number of teens who say they almost always use the internet has gone up as well: 46% report almost constant use of the internet in 2022, compared with only 24 percent in 2014-15.

The Value of Advertising to Teens 

There has always been a huge market for teenagers in every industry due to two important reasons:

  1. They have a tendency to adopt brands quickly, regardless of whether they offer accessories or electronic devices. 
  2. Teenagers who are between 12 and 17 years old have one of the greatest disposable income rates despite their limited income.

In addition, according to Web Marketing Pros, organizations that gain the trust of consumers in their teens are more likely to retain them, provided they continue to value them, pay attention to their wishes, and remain relevant to their needs. 

Teenagers are also an attractive target audience these days because they are easy to reach. The brand preferences of this group are still forming, and their hobbies and interests are constantly evolving, making it easy to retarget the same teens time and time again.

Aside from being shoppers themselves, teens can influence their families' shopping habits through fashion styles, the furniture they choose, and even what kinds of shops they buy from. It is not uncommon for teens to make purchases based on whims, trends, and passing fads either – which is why advertisers must adapt their advertising accordingly.

Is Targeted Teen Marketing Ethical?

It is becoming progressively more common for digital advertisements to target teenagers and children through games, social networks, mobile apps, and other online channels they use. Increasingly, marketers are targeting children of younger and younger ages with ads for an array of products – clothing, holiday resorts, stock trading, sweets, TV shows, and video games. 

Yes, America’s tweens and teens are constantly being targeted by advertisers in the digital era, but are these targeted marketing campaigns ethical? 

A constant barrage of commercial messages aimed at children resulted in two things: 

COPPA - Aimed to Protect Digital Youth

We live in an age of technology, where smartphones and the internet have made it possible for advertisers to get in touch with us anytime, anywhere, and to reach us by using our online behaviors. 

Fentonmiller argues that marketing techniques, such as personas, or customizing messages according to a buyer's preferences and age group aren't necessarily bad, but it really depends on what the company is selling.

For example, a weight-conscious teen may come across weight loss ads, leading to unhealthy eating habits or nutritional deficiencies. These ads can also negatively impact the next generation by increasing obesity, damaging self-esteem, and promoting smoking, cannabis, and booze. 

According to research, over 75% of 8- to 11-year-olds struggle to tell ads apart from other content, and only about 50% of 12- to 15-year-olds realize search results are sponsored, regardless of whether they are labeled "ad" or not.

Until an individual is much older, they are unable to critically evaluate what they see online, allowing businesses to take advantage of these age-related weaknesses.

That’s why there was a heated discussion that led to policy changes - most notably the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) rules for websites like YouTube. Since 1998 when Congress passed the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a formidable legal barrier has been created between children and teens.

But advertising to teens younger than 15 has also become more challenging for businesses that have to develop campaigns without compromising teens’ data security while attending to parents' concerns about fragile minds being manipulated by unscrupulous and deceptive advertising tactics.

Every tech marketing campaign’s planning and development process should include a section devoted to addressing the needs of particular segments of the target audience, like teens, a process that has become easier with smart marketing. 

At Driver Studios, our goal is to effectively and responsibly distribute your content to the right audience on the right platform across OTT, CTV, and YouTube, as well as across mobile and desktop games on the world's largest COPPA-compliant network.

Check out our kids’ advertising services and get in touch to get personalized recommendations based on your brand strategy, goals, and target audience.

Technology Ads Aimed At Teenagers - What’s Being Marketed?

There is a fickleness to teenagers' minds, causing them to change their tastes in online content as frequently as they do in their wardrobes. Also, the spending habits and lifestyles of this generation differ greatly from those of millennials. In the end, it was the pandemic that made them who they are. 

But unfortunately, marketers are still trying to reach this demographic through traditional persuasion methods. It’s probably time to update your marketing strategies when it comes to your teen audience, and here below we provide 4 useful suggestions.

Good Deeds

Generally, one of the most important marketing tips for young people is to demonstrate commitment to ethical sourcing, protecting the environment, and reducing your carbon footprint.

According to a recent study, Gen Zers are even more likely to spend 10% more on sustainable brands. You can use philanthropy and green sourcing as marketing tools for your brand if you use them carefully and responsibly. But be careful with cause marketing.

Just promoting your organization's name in support of a charitable or eco-friendly project without considering the underlying cause might backfire because customers may turn against the organization if the cause is later changed or stopped. 

Being Cool

Teens want to belong to a peer group, and to some extent, that can be a vulnerability. Companies exploit teens' deep-rooted insecurities and lack of confidence to convince them that their product is the key to being cool.

It has been found that teens and tweens (those between the ages of 12 and 14) seek out brand-name clothing for the perceived value they believe it offers, as reported in a 1998 paper in the journal Adolescence. 

Keeping up with the latest trends and adjusting your campaigns in a timely manner can be challenging, however, because once a trend is found, revamped, and sold to youngsters, it has lost its appeal.

Not-Marketing Marketing Strategy

In the same way that teenagers before them, and the previous generation of teenagers resented adults telling them what to do, today’s teens are no different. Using old-fashioned marketing methods? A waste of time. 

A lot of young people are aware that they are being advertised to, and they know companies are trying to sell them products. But that doesn’t mean you can just bombard them with your ads. It is a clever or unusual marketing campaign that appeals to them. 

These people aren't just consumption units who want only the newest, the sexiest, or the trendiest items. If you want them to spend their money on you, you have to give them something of real value, and you have to do it in a way that doesn’t shout “SALESY.”

Media coverage of your company's newest service, announcing an impressive achievement on social media, promoting your company culture, and broadcasting customer or shareholder interviews can all help you promote your company without advertising.

Values of Individuality

It is inevitable that the demand for customized products beyond basic demographics will rise as society becomes increasingly diverse.

A teen market is different from a market for adults, but that does not mean all teen markets are the same. It may be necessary to run multiple campaigns to reach teens from different backgrounds, age groups, or geographical areas.

Teenagers appreciate retailers who respect their individuality, hear what they have to say, and consider their opinions. In fact, 44 percent of teens would like to participate in product design.

Not only should brands ensure their marketing communicates these values, but that it is authentic as well. As a result, if your company promotes individuality in its advertising campaign, your business practices and products should match the message.

Best Platforms for Technology Ads Aimed At Teenagers

As you consider your social media marketing strategy, you should determine which social media platform is most effective when targeting your target market. 

Did you know that a total of 67% of teens say they use TikTok, with 16% saying they use it almost all the time? Meanwhile, according to the Center's 2014-15 survey, Facebook use among teens has fallen from 71% in 2015 to 32% now.

According to Pew Research, teens' top three favorites in 2022 were:

YouTube - The Most Popular Platform in Tech Space for Teens

If you don't have a YouTube presence for your store now is the time to get one! YouTube tops the list of online platforms used by teens in 2022 according to the Center's latest survey, with 95% of teens using it.

In our list of methods that work for technology ads aimed at teenagers, viral videos are the most time-consuming, but they can yield great results. A brand with a funny, engaging, and original video is sure to become a viral hit within a few days, spreading like wildfire on Facebook and getting dozens of likes on Twitter and YouTube - the dream of every marketing director. 

Note that YouTube youth marketing has strict COPPA laws in place, so plan your campaign with care.


Despite social media being a mainstay of marketing to most age groups for over a decade now, the latest social media technologies and trends continue to be dominated by teenagers. And at the moment? That’s short videos on TikTok (there are now other places you can find this type of content, most notably Instagram Reels & YouTube shorts.)

A new app called TikTok is capturing the attention of teens all over the world. Currently, TikTok is the most downloaded app on the App Store, and Statista estimates that 62% of TikTok users in the US are between the ages of 10 and 29. 

For brands who want to get innovative with their marketing, TikTok is a great option. By producing engaging videos, staying on top of trends, and getting your preferred audiences to see your content, TikTok helps marketers maximize returns on their marketing efforts. 


Instagram is an extremely unique social media site that allows you to tell a story and build brand awareness using captivating images and visual content. Aside from that, the platform seems to already be focusing its tech ads on teenagers.

Based on documents provided by The New York Times, Instagram's global marketing budget is almost entirely dedicated to showing ads to teenagers. The app's annual ad budget almost reached $390 million in 2021, according to the report.

Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

Designing The Right Tech-Based Ads for Teenagers

There are few adults without an opinion about being a teenager; most are negative.

But make no mistake: It will not be long before these young people are a force to be reckoned with. They’ll be your clients or your future employees. They are influencing the purchase of tech equipment, household goods, apparel, games, and almost anything else you can imagine. 

As a generation, Gen Zers share many of the consumer behaviors and values of their predecessors, the Millennials. However, Gen Z's distinctive characteristics necessitate strategy adjustments that reflect their unique traits.

Knowing what motivates them, how they spend their time, and why they do what they do is far more useful than you might imagine. But unfortunately, reaching this group of teenagers has proven to be one of the most challenging tasks marketers have faced so far. Apple has done an excellent job. However, when it comes to identifying what led to the iPod's success over the other MP3 players on the market, even Apple can't pinpoint it.

We know how to advertise to kids and teens, which involves much more than holding their attention for a short period of time. Teens want to see their favorite brands grow as they do. Leaving you behind will not be an issue if you don't keep up.

Driver Studios can help you reach the right kid at the right time, which usually results in higher KPIs and better overall results. Securing the allegiance of your teenage prospects is only a contact form away from you.

A Final Word About Technology Ads Aimed at Teenagers

It's getting easier and easier to avoid traditional commercials every single day, which means brands must come up with creative ways to connect with teens. Often, they do this through social media. 

Sites like YouTube and Instagram are excellent ways to reach teenagers and tweens. Additionally, Snapchat and Instagram are more commonly used for creative technology ads aimed at teens than Facebook and Twitter.

By realizing that teenagers are an audience worth marketing to, reframing teenage demographics, learning about teenage internet usage trends, creating engaging videos and popular platforms, and creating content designed specifically for teens and teen issues, you can develop a content marketing strategy that is effective and profitable.

According to the National Retail Federation, teens become more loyal to companies and brands with age. So, although this generation has unpredictable shopping habits now, winning their loyalty to your store today could pay off in the long run.