Media Digital Transformation Influencer Marketing

Research reveals 5 strategies to engage youth audiences in a shifting media landscape

By Pablo Gomez | chief strategy officer



Open Mic article

This content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic.

Open Mic is the self-publishing platform for the marketing industry, allowing members to publish news, opinion and insights on

Find out more

September 25, 2023 | 8 min read

TotallyAwesome’s Youth-first Digital Insights study shines a light on how brands can connect with audiences aged four to 24. As part of our Deep Dive on The Media Convergence, Pablo Gomez (chief strategy officer, TotallyAwesome) shares five strategies on how to engage this elusive audience via the media they love best.

Diverse younger generation (gen z, gen alpha), which brands want to know how to engage

Youth marketing has evolved over recent years. No longer is it just about traditional media forms such as TV. For brands wanting to reach a youth audience, you need to be in their digital world.

This highly valuable audience is a treasure trove waiting to be unlocked. They are highly influential on purchase decisions (almost 80% of purchased items within the household are influenced by youth) and highly engaged with digital mediums. Showing up in the right way, at the right place and right time will deliver brand growth now and into the future.

TotallyAwesome’s Youth-first Digital Insights study has been exploring the youth audience in Asia Pacific for over eight years, focusing on four to 24-year-olds and their parents. In that time, we have seen a shift in their media consumption behaviors and an increase in the role of digital. This generation are born into ‘tech’; it’s how they discover and research brands, it’s how they consume content, it’s how they connect with the world.

So, what does this mean for brands wanting to reach a youth audience? Here are five strategies to engage youth audiences and unlock brand growth.

1. Be in, around and beyond gaming

Gaming is the superpower for brands. According to our research, nine out of 10 youths are gaming. Gaming is a positive part of their digital world. The number one reason is that gaming is fun, with 63% of youths identifying this as a motivation for gaming.

Interestingly, there has been a rise in the role gaming plays with youth mental health. Across Asia Pacific, 39% state that gaming helps with stress and anxiety and 39% feel that gaming makes them feel better about themselves. Gaming is a social connector, a learning environment and a place to explore self-expression.

For brands, being a part of gaming builds positive associations with your brand and engages with youths in an environment where they are more receptive to your messages. Gaming ads are effective and drive conversions. TotallyAwesome’s insights show youths are more likely to act after seeing a sponsored ad in gaming environment. In-game ads online promote product discovery, influence and trigger purchase decisions both online and offline.

Gaming is more than gaming. It’s their new social.

2. Utilize influencer marketing

Influencers are influencing youth. Brands need to consider relevant influencers to deliver brand messages and achieve brand affinity. 94% of youths are watching and engaging in influencer content. Content from gaming to food, to lifestyle and entertainment resonates and is popular with this audience.

TotallyAwesome’s insights identified that influencer content is how youth discover new brands from fashion (23%) to health and beauty (20%), to toys (17%). Once they discover a brand, a quarter of youth are purchasing because of influencer endorsement.

Partnering with influencers is an integral part of a youth engagement strategy. It builds trust and desirability among young audiences and achieves overall brand awareness and relevancy.

3. Implement campaigns that integrate multiple platforms and mediums

Media synergy is key. Integrated campaigns that utilize digital mediums such as gaming are the starting point for reaching youth. Including gaming alone into your TV mix can increase your reach by 23%.

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

Media Agency Briefing


Our media editor explores the biggest media buys and the trends rocking the sector.

Youths are discovering brands across multiple media platforms from YouTube (38%) to TV (30%) to TikTok (22%) and Instagram (18%). As they move through to purchase, digital stays front and center with 55% shopping online. E-commerce needs to maintain a connection and engagement with this audience. Youth need to be well informed and confident in their purchase decisions.

4. Develop content for mobile

Mobile ready content wins with youth. Brands must ensure content is optimised for mobile. Our study showed that 65% of youths have a smartphone and 45% have a tablet. 75% are on a smartphone daily and spending an average of almost three hours a day. 64% rate smartphones / tablets as the preferred device for watching influencer content.

Mobile is where they discover, research and purchase brands.

5. Align brand values with youth values

This is a generation with strong values. Purpose driven, contextual marketing matters. They care about what brands stand for and brands that align with their core values will benefit. Values such as reliability (46%), sustainability (33%), community care (22%) and embracing diversity and equality (45%) resonate strongly with this audience.

With recent cost of living impacts, affordability has grown in importance and is a key value youth are looking for (46%). Brands need to generate value and affordability with this audience. Youth make emotion-driven and functional purchases, so brands need to meet both these needs.

Reaching this highly valuable audience requires brands to be brave. Brands must step into their world and show up in a way that is relevant and responsible. Youth audiences are reachable. Youth audiences are the future for brands. Youth audiences are wanting brands to engage with them in their world, a digital world.

For more insights and information on how to reach a youth audience, please contact TotallyAwesome at We provide white papers and custom reports for brands wanting to understand a youth audience.

Media Digital Transformation Influencer Marketing

Content by The Drum Network member:


TotallyAwesome is a Youth-first specialist marketing and media platform focused on connecting brands with youth in a safe, relevant and effective way. We are driven to make a positive impact for our youth in the digital world. At the heart of everything we do is youth. TotallyAwesome offers Youth-first, Youth-safe engagement across thousands of YouTube channels, apps, games and websites. Our extensive research gives us a deep understanding of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, while our ‘zero- data’, contextual intelligence solutions enable safe digital engagement with a youth audience. Our Youth-first, curated and human moderated technology solutions reach more than 500 million active monthly users across Asia Pacific. From content creation to innovative gaming solutions, we bring excitement to the digital world of our youth.

Find out more

More from Media

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +