How To Market To Young Adults

September 22, 2021
March 25, 2024

If you’ve tried marketing to young adults, you’ll know it can be a tricky task! Historically, the young have always been a difficult audience to reach. But now, with an entire generation unable to remember a world without superfast moving mobile technology, the problem has magnified a hundredfold. However, there is a way to grab their attention and market your business or service in an effective way. Throughout this article I am going to explain a few ways you can successfully market to young adults.

Choose The Right Platform

The first step of marketing to teens and young adults is choosing the correct platforms to promote on. Social media is a must of course, but you need to pick wisely, especially if you have a limited budget. There are so many channels to choose from, and looking at demographics is key. Facebook is a colossus bestriding the planet, but if you’re trying to hit 18-24 year olds, you might want to look elsewhere. If you’re a Facebook user, it’s most likely you fall in the 25-34 age bracket, and there are as many 45-54 year olds using the platform as 18-24 year olds!  Meanwhile, Instagram performs much better in the 18-24 bracket (although 25-34 still comes out top) and usage in the groups aged above 35 drops off enormously. That’s not to say that both these platforms won’t perform for you, but if you were looking for a social media channel where 18-24 year olds made up the biggest proportion of the audience, then TikTok could be for you.

As well as looking at the numbers, you should download each platform yourself and use them to get a feel of what they are like, and how they are used. Once you have chosen your perfect platform then you can start focusing on the ways you are going to market to your target audience.

Grab Their Attention

In days gone by, it was relatively easy to ignore advertising. You could walk away from the telly or ignore them in your magazine. In the digital era, advertising is on every device the young are glued to! Every teen and young adult comes across advertising as part of their day, all the time. So, when they’re scrolling, if you don’t catch their eye they’ll just scroll on some more. When marketing to young adults, you need to make sure your offer is to the point, and clearly communicated, so even if they do scroll on, they’ll be able to remember you and refer back to you. And make sure your simple message is repeated often – the world of social media runs at the speed of light – you have a split second to grab their attention so make sure you plan for a strong pulse of activity.

Word of Mouth

It might not sound the most exciting thing, but it works on the young as least as much, and perhaps more, than other age groups. As a young adult myself, I am more likely to buy or try something if someone I know has recommended it to me, than I am to try something I see on an ad I scroll past on my social media. Once someone tries your product or service and likes it, you’ve potentially got a brand champion who will recommend you to friends, family or colleagues who may become intrigued and want to try it out for themselves. Making sure your customer service and after sales service is tip-top works for every generation.

If you have the budget, find and use an influencer in and around the age group you are looking to target. The power of influencers to leverage brands is colossal! If you use one, they need free rein to review what you sell honestly. You might be paying them, but young people can sniff insincerity and they will drop influencers they don’t trust.

Email Marketing

A big misconception when marketing to young adults is that they don’t check or access their emails. However, this really isn’t the case. A recent survey asked young adults how often they check their emails. They found almost 70% said they checked them hourly and the remaining 30% said daily. We’re as addicted to our emails as we are social media! Segment your emails into age categories so that the right information is going out to the individual age groups. There is a lot to learn regarding email marketing and how to approach it correctly. Check out these email marketing tips for beginners if you are unaware of how to get started.

Embracing Authenticity

Authenticity is paramount when marketing to young adults. This demographic values transparency and genuine connections with brands. To resonate with them, marketers should prioritise authenticity in their messaging and communications. Avoiding overly promotional language and instead focusing on storytelling and real-life experiences can help build trust and credibility. Incorporating user-generated content, customer testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the brand’s ethos can further strengthen authenticity and foster a sense of community among young adults.

Things You Must Avoid

You absolutely must ensure your marketing and your website are optimized to work on mobile devices. Recent studies show that 98% of 16-24 year olds in the UK own a smartphone. That is where they spend their digital lives, and if your messaging is designed only to work on desktop, you’re simply never going to have a chance of reaching them. And finally, use the right language in your marketing. And that means avoiding hip words young adults use when talking and messaging. You’re probably going to get it wrong, and you’ll be as uncool as their parents! The same goes for emojis too. Be honest, be direct, be simple and make sure the offer is great.

Final Thoughts

Marketing to young adults doesn’t have to be difficult. Just remember to treat them like any other adult you would market to. Understand what channels they use and how they use them. Keep things simple and repeat often. Make offers excellent and also focus on excellence in your customer service. I hope that the tips I have given help you market your product or service to young adults successfully.

Do you have any other ideas of ways to market young adults? We’d love to hear what you think and if you have any suggestions to add to these ideas. Email us at

Need help?

Do you need advice on how to market your business? Please do not hesitate to contact us. Call us or send us an email, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We can also arrange a 30-minute free consultation call or a Zoom meeting to discuss your needs and how we can help.

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Businesses of all sizes struggle to market to young adults. But they are the most accessible generation in history. Follow these strategies and reach out to them.
Lauren Crowhurst
98% of 16-24 year olds in the UK own a smartphone.
March 5, 2024
Small Business
Social Media
Young adults
Young people
young adults