According to a 2003 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 60 percent of teenagers use the Internet on a regular basis. As technology becomes increasingly affordable and available, these numbers are expected to grow significantly over the next few years. This influx of young shoppers has make teen marketing a primary focus for many online retailers. If you are an affiliate marketer trying to promote products and services to teenagers, you need to learn more about how to market items to this key demographic.

Teen marketing has become increasingly vital to online affiliates, especially those selling products popular with young shoppers such as music, movies, clothing, and tech-gadgets. U.S. News and World Report estimated that children under the age of 18 accounted for more that one billion dollars in online sales by the year 2002. Affiliate marketers simply cannot afford to overlook this booming niche area.

Teen Marketing Basics

Research has consistently demonstrated that teenagers do not shop exactly like adults. Their choices are more likely to be swayed by social and media influences, which means that word-of-mouth can have an extremely powerful affect on youth marketing. Social networking websites such as del.icio.us, Furl, MySpace, and Flickr can serve as important tools for savvy online marketers.

Teen Marketing Challenges

While viral marketing campaigns can be extremely effective in youth advertising, certain statistics indicate that online marketing to teens can be an uphill battle. Studies have demonstrated that teenagers tend to have very low click-through rates. Getting teens to actually click your ads and links requires special consideration and planning.

Teen Marketing Tips

1. Focus on Viral Marketing

Videos, photos, and social bookmarking are powerful tools for marketing to teenagers. One great marketing method is to create an online personality quiz, such as “Which MP3 Player is Right for You?” After taking the quiz, provide a list of recommended products that suit the reader’s personality. Allow teens to then promote your quiz and products by creating banners that they can add to their MySpace blogs. This word-of-mouth marketing offers virtually endless exposure to a highly targeted audience.

2. Create Interactive Ads and Website Content

Affiliate marketers and online retailers have found that teens are more likely to click on interactive links. Games, opinion polls, personality quizzes and reader comments are a great way to help potential customers feel like an active participant in the online community. You can maximize the potential of these promotional tools by allowing teens to pass them on to online friends. Include a link that allows readers to forward messages or invitations to other potential customers.

3. Provide Something for Free

One of the best ways to increase click through rates with teens is to offer something for free. Whether it is a free product, newsletter, or online video, budget-conscious teenagers are very likely to respond well to giveaways.

Choosing a marketing strategy that appeals to the needs and interests of today’s teens is the most effective way to promote products, services, and websites to a young audience. Concentrate your efforts of viral social marketing, interactive content and free offers to succeed in teen marketing.