Generation “Alpha” — how marketers can find an approach to kids on the Russian Internet
In 2019, 1,484,500 children were born in Russia, which means that the audience of marketers has expanded significantly. The older ones can be involved in interactions with brands, as well as their preferences and interests can be studied and analyzed in order to tailor products and services. To develop ongoing interest in the product, communication with the audience must be regular. How to hook such a young audience, and why is it especially important in the CIS market, which includes Russia? I tried to figure it out.
Let’s start with geography. Most marketers consider the Runet market only as Russia, but is it correct? Runet is not only Russia, but also Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other countries with russian speaking people. Since 2013, Russian language has been considered the third most popular language on the Internet after English (51.3%) and German. So, is Runet worthy of attention? The answer is obvious.
Children born after 2010 are called Generation Alpha. Such children spend time with smartphones almost from birth, which means they absorb content from the very beginning of their life. And if marketers have already dealt with the previous generations – Zoomers well enough, then there is still a lot of work to be done with the Generation Alpha.
According to the definition of the scientist Mark McCrinld, Generation Alpha includes everyone who was born from 2010 to 2025, meaning the first alpha children were born the same year Apple released the first iPad. Of course, it affects Alphas – they are well versed in smartphones and the Internet from an early age. Among the distinctive features of their online life are the following:
- Personalization. Children quickly understand that on the Internet everyone has their own corner, and everyone can arrange it the way they want. They also understand that a smart feed will help you choose the content that is tailored to the individual taste of the user.
- The real and virtual world seems the same for them. Modern technologies make it possible to create a picture on the screen, which will be hard to differ from the real one. That’s why, it’s not so important for children how to learn this world – offline or online.
- They create a new kind of content or transform the old ones. For example, watching online toys unpacking brings as many emotions for Alphas as buying real ones. Streams and vlogs are also popular – they let them live in two dimensions.
But that’s not all the features. In real life, the following characteristics are distinguished:
- They have better relationships in the family. Millenials and Zoomers are parents now, and they are more conscious. In such families members have the same interests – online-games, blogging etc. Tech-savvy parents are also more likely to take their children’s opinions into account.
- It’s a sensitive generation. They are highly moral and distinguish lies. Reputation for them is not only the word because in social networks you can’t hide anything. Also, Alphas learn to take care of ecology from childhood, so they’re trying to follow these rules and make sure everyone else does the same.
- They don’t have gender differences. Children follow the influencers, who do makeup or dress fashionable, and they don’t care if it is a boy, or a girl, or somebody else. For example, the popularity of Houdsey Bishop – it’s an explanation for this phenomenon. He easily transforms into different images, does makeup, and presents it so easily that it’s hard not to believe him.
- They have low levels of concentration. They switch easily to other things and it’s very difficult for them to keep attention on one activity. That’s why Tik Tok is very popular, because of fast-content.
- Probably, they won’t have a university degree. They don’t need it and it’s not interesting for them to have it. The progress of artificial intelligence, as well as the ability to monetize own hobbies on the Internet – that’s the alternative for Alpha’s.
All of these, of course, are assumptions, but even now we can say that technologies have a tremendous impact on humanity and Alphas are the generation that caught them on the heyday, not on the birth.
What content Alphas prefer?
Given a low ability to concentrate, these kids will actively use interactive educational programs. Pandemic made us understand that the world is ready for online education, that’s why educational Internet platforms nowadays are so popular.
Alpha generation is interested in all types of content. They don’t care if it’s videos (YouTube, TikTok, Likee), games, pictures (Instagram), or texts. But it’s also important to segment children by the age – by the age of 7, Alphas become a part of the audience who reads, but before the age of 7 – it’s an audience, which absorbs video. Also, content gamification is a driving force because first of all games are very interesting for children.
We should also mention humor. Alphas like absurd and abstract memes. According to some reports, in the 5-8 age group, funny videos are the second most popular video content (53%). The interest in “meaningless” content has been a trigger for Tik Tok’s popularity.
All these conclusions are easy to confirm. For example, Russian blogger Vlad Bumaga became popular because of video games streaming and also was making funny vlogs about school jokes, relationships with friends and girls.. Then he began to get involved in challenges, but the real breakthrough was the video in which Vlad spends the night in a water park closed to visitors. Is it not a dream for a kid?
So, how marketers can involve the alpha generation?
Based on the above features of Alphas, we can draw the following conclusions:
- Working with Alphas, emotions, which will affect both Alphas and their parents, are very important. It can be games, tests, entertainment, polls.
- Influencers affect the Alpha’s, who are essentially role models for them. Bloggers talk about their lives, hobbies, show their collections and it’s a very big field for promotion.
- Online-education will be very interesting for Alphas. From primary school they do homework, presentations, using educational applications. It can be also used as a communication with children and their parents.
Using all these introductions, we have converted knowledge into experience.
Our client is a donut manufacturer, who just started selling his products in Russia. What have we done to make the brand recognizable and in-demand?
First of all, we created an AR-mask on Instagram, with which children could catch donuts with their mouths. Is it interesting for them? Yes. Does it involve? Of course. With this mask we made contests and more than 700 children took part in it.
Secondly, we were working with influencers. For example, Maria OMG, who became popular in the middle of 2010th, advertised one of the first contests. She makes unpacking videos, vlogs and stories about school, and also uses Likee – another popular social network. There she uploads short humorous videos, which gain a record number of responses and comments very fast. Her popularity gave a push for our client’s brand account popularity, which means – to the conversion.
Thirdly, we used “tasty” visuals, which also affected emotions and desires to try products. They grabbed attention in the feed and positively influenced CTR and ad engagement.
Fourthly, we speak with children in their language. We actively follow new trends of young audiences, analyze their interests, and use popular slang words. This is how users and brand became friends.
And, of course, we were giving presents. Users could win donut sets and then share them with friends, which increased brand loyalty among the audience.
In conclusion, I need to say, that working with Alphas is not hard if you show empathy, follow the development of the market and modernity in general. This niche has great potential for experimentation. Also, while working with children, it is important to broadcast useful and good values. Emotions, mutual respect, and simple ethics have never been something new in communication. The most important thing in working with children is to love them.