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As ad spend targeted towards kids continues to rise, so does the amount of spend dedicated to digital advertising. New findings [download page] from PwC and SuperAwesome reveals that of the $4.3 billion estimated to be spent globally on kids advertising this year, digital advertising will account for 27%, compared to 22% last year.

While traditional, non-digital, advertising still accounts for the majority of kids advertising in 2019 (estimated at $3.2 billion), there has been a gradual trend towards digital. PwC forecasts that this trend will continue, but traditional spend won’t lose out any time soon – by 2021, digital will represent just over one-third (37%) of all kids advertising spend.

Prior research has shown that US teens (ages 12-17 years old) spend about one-third (33%) of their daily video viewing time on YouTube. Advertisers are clearly finding that even younger kids (ages 5-15 years old) are spending a lot of their time on YouTube, as PwC notes that the Google-owned network accounted for 22% share of total kids digital ad spend in 2018, and is expected to account for one-quarter (25% share) by 2021.

In their efforts to reach these younger viewers, advertisers are also investing ad spend in video-on-demand (VOD). In 2019, VOD will account for $152 million (13%) of the estimated $1.2 billion digital ad spend directed to kids. This investment is expected to remain relatively consistent into 2021.

But the trend towards digital also comes at a time when marketers have been questioning the ethics of certain marketing practices. About two-thirds (64%) of marketers define unethical marketing as marketing that targets and exploits vulnerable groups – which could arguably include children. Additionally, unethical marketing towards children can damage a brand, and advertisers have noted that brand safety is a particular concern when it comes to digital media, especially when compared to traditional media.

However, marketers shouldn’t forget about Mom and Dad, as parents are a valuable segment when it comes to online sales. Being a time-poor group, parents are avid consumers of subscription services according to Digitas, with many describing them as “absolutely essential”. Furthermore, households with children are almost twice as likely to shop online weekly.

About the Data: Insights for the report are generated by proprietary interviews with a range of companies in the kids digital media industry. This includes brands directly, their agencies and specialist agencies who represent a large number of kids focused companies.

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