Digital advertising aimed at children under 18 is an annual market that in Latin America alone today exceeds 250 million dollars a year, and will reach 380 million dollars in 2025, according to a private estimate.
This activity seeks to be regulated by the States, with even global data privacy and secure communication standards for this vulnerable segment.
Demian Falestchi , co-founder and CEO of the company Kids Corp, analyzes in the following iProfesional interview how children and adolescents in Latin America use information and communication technologies (ICTs) and how Web3 opens up new opportunities to the digital advertising business for this segment.
Kids Corp has its own offices in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay and works with more than 500 brands, including Disney, Hasbro, Kellogg’s, WarnerMedia, Nintendo, Netflix, Mattel, Pokémon, Lego, to understand, innovate and interact with more than 150 million children, adolescents and parents each month.
Children and adolescents are the most creative beings on earth and consume more and more content on more screens.
How do children use “smart” mobile phones and tablets? Just to watch shows and play games?
-Smartphones are an important part of everyone’s life, including children, since 85% of the U18 (less than 18 years old) have access to one in Latin America, and it reaches 93% among the adolescents (13 to 18 years).
Access to entertainment through a mobile device is increasing, with children choosing watching videos (78%, mainly on YouTube and YouTube Kids ) and playing video games (64%) among their favorite activities, far above watching TV (open or cable), chosen by 42% of the segment.
The case of social networks requires a very particular analysis for two reasons. In the first place, that access to most of them (TikTok and Instagram to mention the favorites of the segment), require being over 13 years of age to create an account, but in reality it happens that millions of children access through users with fake IDs.
the most viewed content on social networks is also videos , mentioned above as one of the main online activities carried out by children and adolescents.
The Internet was not designed for minors, exposing them to risks such as inappropriate content, “bullying” and “grooming”.
What challenges does the possibility of giving children access to the vast amount of information that exists online present?
-Before talking about the challenges, I think it is essential to understand the opportunities that children and adolescents have access to today. The Internet is the largest library in the history of mankind.
There are two main ways to access their content , paying for it (through purchases in apps, games, websites or subscriptions, for example), or having brand advertising pay for it.
In this last point, it is where children have an enormous opportunity to learn, be informed, be entertained and grow , thanks to the fact that there are companies that, through digital advertising, contribute to universal and free access to content.
Now, behind this enormous opportunity, there is also a great responsibility of the entire industry so that this access is through safe experiences for them.
The Internet was not designed and created for children , therefore, there are different risks when connecting, such as being exposed to inappropriate content, “grooming” or spying on minors when they are “online”. We must take care of all this so that it does not happen in the future.
Governments, through regulations and laws that protect data privacy; the creators , developing quality content suitable for each segment; and brands, investing in technology that guarantees safe and entertaining experiences for children. We all have a historical challenge to accompany children and adolescents to take advantage of this unique moment.
How does the screen become a mere distraction device in a reference tool for children and their parents?
Today the screens are, without a doubt, a reference and development tool for children , and parents have an enormous opportunity to accompany their children to make this happen.
During the last year, through the Askids Insights Portal (Kids Corp’s data and “insights” solution for the “kids, teens and families” segment in Latin America), more than 25,000 children and adolescents were asked who they trust, and 92% answered “my parents” first. Very far away, with 62%, their teachers appear.
This trust has to be the engine for all parents to find a point of contact to be close to their children in their connections, inform themselves and guide them in taking advantage of all the good that screens offer, both from the recreational and from the academic and educational.
Smartphones are an important part of everyone’s life, including children.
Today the creation of children’s versions of existing applications predominates. When will there be a move to building from scratch for kids, instead of an outside-in, adults-first perspective?
-This is something that is already happening, and the main exponent of this is the metaverse, more natural spaces for children than for adults. Roblox (more than 13 million “kids” and “teens” use it in Latin America), Fortnite and Minecraft, to mention the most popular, (in adoption, number of users and “engagement”) are virtual experiences designed exclusively for children and adolescents.
Such is their success that they are a reference for other metaverses designed for general audiences, such as Horizon Worlds, the virtual Meta platform recently launched for the United States and Canada, or Decentraland , the virtual space created in Argentina that began in February 2020, and which has already become a place to shop, have fun, attend concerts or events, such as the Metaverse Fashion Week (2022), with fashion shows and the presence of major international fashion brands.
On the side of applications for the segment, Zigazoo was created in 2020 and is a social network for children with noticeable growth, and that allows them to express their unlimited creativity in a safe context.
Another example is that of Ok Play , a community where children can create, play and share content in a space 100% for the segment. Also platforms like Cryptoys (recently invested by Mattel), which merge collectibles, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and gaming.
Going a little further back in time, the still “online”, but not as current, Mundo Gaturro , which began in 2009 thought of as a game for children from 4 to 12 years old, and in 2010 it was officially launched in all the world.
Club Penguin is another prescient example, in fact we could say that it is one of the first metaverses for the segment. Designed in 2005 (and later acquired and closed by Disney) specifically for children ages 6-14, with a strong focus on child safety. Already at that time they introduced a series of features in the game to protect them through technology and chat moderators.
Within the more general applications such as YouTube and TikTok , created for the adult public, efforts are being made to be able to adapt to minors, respecting data privacy regulations.
YouTube , since 2020 and after being sanctioned for 170 million dollars in 2019, does not collect information from channels classified as “make for kids”. TikTok removed more than 20 million accounts in the first quarter of 2022 on suspicion that they belonged to children under the age of 13, in violation of the platform’s policies. As part of this, both TikTok and Instagram have removed all ad targeting filters on accounts under the age of 18.
YouTube does not collect information from channels classified as “make for kids”.
What new uses will excite children? For example, a money app for kids first, focused on allowances and gift cards?
– The relationship between children and money is very interesting , and even more so among adolescents, since 51% of them have access to their own money to make purchases and save.
Between 13 and 18 years old, 38% of them allocate money to the purchase of clothing and footwear, 36% to food and drinks, and 33% to eating in ” fast food ” restaurants, to mention the 3 most relevant.
Beyond the fact that the vast majority (67%) make payments in cash , they also use other means of payment such as debit cards (16%), credit (8%), and virtual wallets (7%) and the use of PayPal (4%).
Linking the theme of money with its new uses, it is a segment that is directly impacted by digital currencies , since only 13% have never heard of them in Latin America, 4% use them and/or use them in their homes and 43% understand what it is about, despite not using them.
Children are ” early adopters ” of these new technologies and there is no doubt that adoption will be increasing in the segment. Virtual wallets are finding a very attractive and dynamic segment, and the efforts of some of the big ones have already begun to be seen, such as the appearance of new “fintechs” specialized in minors.
For example, currently, in Brazil , we are working together with Mercado Pago in the communication of their accounts for adolescents between 13 and 17 years old.
Mozper is another great example of how financial education is present in the segment. This company, created in Mexico in 2020 and with operations in Brazil since 2021, supports parents in the financial education of their children in a safe way, through financial education, and logically with products for children and adolescents, such as credit cards. credit and digital account.
TikTok is one of the favorite social networks for children.
What online experiences make sense for children?
-There is a prejudice and prejudice that devices are bad for children because they “fool” them , take them away from a social life and have them locked up in a screen that is bad for them.
Although there are cases of excesses , the reality is that the screens used correctly and without excesses, have a great playful, academic and socialization sense, through which they can be in contact with their friends, play, interact and carry out activities together, that if it weren’t for the connection of the screens, they couldn’t do it.
All experiences can make sense, as long as they are appropriate to their ages and context. For this, it is essential that the content they access and interact with is relevant to them .
From Kids Corp we created the ” kidtech ” industry in Latin America with that purpose, to make the internet a safer and more entertaining place for new generations. And we do this through technology and data tools that empower more than 500 content creators, advertisers and decision-makers.
Roblox is a metaverse space for kids.
In what new ways could an Internet device be a platform for imaginative play?
-These ways already exist and are being developed in Web3 , which tends to recover decentralization and be a secure network. Roblox, for example, is an experience platform where children create their own games and stories, and develop an online life through their avatars, clothes and accessories, virtual goods, and with their own economy.
Today children have access to countless sources of inspiration, education and learning to create content, program and interact with each other on the Web3. Be it YouTube, Twitch, communities on Discord , they have everything at their fingertips.
Another example designed exclusively for the segment is Crack The Code , a Peruvian “startup” created in 2018 that offers hundreds of courses and trainings that prepare new generations to develop in this new digital age. Its mission is to create opportunities for boys, girls and young people in Latin America through code, programming and technology.
Virtual reality took a leap in recent years. When will you be on the kids’ list for the end of the year parties?
-It is common in the development of technologies that often take time to normalize, expand and be friendly. Virtual reality is something incipient, but increasingly used. In its early days, VR (virtual reality) devices like Oculus , and headsets were very expensive.
However, in the last two years they have become more competitive in values, and their use has been somewhat democratized . This has generated that more and more virtual reality content is produced and the industry begins to grow slowly. We estimate that in approximately five years there will be a great adoption, driven by the new generations.
What possibilities does the metaverse offer children? How will children create metasociety?
-During the last years, children resignify the sense of community , generating a boom of virtual spaces where conversations happen, ideas flow and fun is shared.
Through the creation of virtual universes with components of everyday life, such as platforms ofRoblox, Minecraft, Animal Crossing o Fortnite, it is no longer just about playing, but also about customizing characters and interacting with friends, generating a new identity on Web3.
Digital natives today are the colonizers of the metaverse, which is reshaping how people meet, play, shop, work and learn, build their digital identities.
This context creates a huge challenge for brands , just as 10 years ago they had to work to find their role within the social media universe, now they are challenged to draw up strategic plans to navigate the galaxy of metaverses, the new social media.
What is the place of podcasts in “kidtech”?
-The podcast format occupies a very important place in our mission to raise awareness and work for the development of our industry, it is part of our contribution to the industry, as are webinars and summits, and soon Kids Corp University , which we organize from Kids Corp throughout the region.
Kids Talks , our podcast, is a space for conversation and reflection with leaders of the digital ecosystem for children and adolescents in Latin America, and aims to address different issues, trends, opportunities and challenges that make the industry of products and services aimed at segment, as well as meeting the people and ideas behind the executives and professionals of the most important companies in Latin America.
Although this content is a source of inspiration for the entire industry, it is also a source of inspiration for parents of children and adolescents, so that they learn more about safe content, how companies work and their commitment to developing relevant content and experiences. safe for your children.
What are the challenges of digital advertising focused on children and adolescents?
Children and adolescents are the most creative beings on earth and consume more and more content on more screens. This poses to advertisers the need to innovate and the challenge of knowing and understanding each of the points of contact with the segment, taking into account that it takes only six seconds to capture their attention.
On the other hand, the Internet was not designed for minors , exposing them to risks such as inappropriate content, disclosure of information, “bullying”, “grooming”, “sexting”, among others.
This context requires an understanding of data privacy protection laws . When a child turns 13, theindustria “adtech”It will have already collected 72 million of your data, something that is prohibited.
It also requires an understanding of local and global advertising regulations to ensure an entertaining, safe, and appropriate experience for each audience.
Currently, when advertising solutions (adtech) not designed for children under 18 years of age are used, such as those of Google , 7 out of every 10 dollars invested are wasted because the target is not reached.
Working with kidtech solutions specially designed for the segment allows us to reverse this situation and guarantee that at least 8 out of every 10 dollars reach the target, guaranteeing safe and adequate contexts for their brands.
Finally, consumption and purchasing power, the great influence on family decisions, and the beginning of building brand loyalty. It raises a need to understand the role of each of the actors of the family and their environment , for decision making in the business.
It is essential to have expert teams that know the culture of each country, understanding that there are global trends, but also local uses and customs .
-What volume of billing and what growth prospects does digital advertising focused on children and adolescents have in the world and in Latin America and Argentina?
-The digital advertising industry is getting bigger and bigger, and the kids, teens and families segment has gained enormous prominence in recent years.
The annual market size of advertising directed to children under 18 in Latin America is currently over 250 million dollars , and will reach 380 million dollars in 2025.
In this context, at Kids Corp we have doubled our growth in the last year. For this 2022, we also project a 100% growth compared to 2021 , thanks to the consolidation of a team of more than 60 professionals distributed among our offices in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogotá, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires. , who work every day to guarantee the quality of service for our clients, who are the main content creators and the most important brands in the segment industry.
Today we consolidate ourselves as the number 1 kidtech company in Latin America, and from 2023 we will start our operations in the United States in order to take our solutions to the world.