Youth Marketing 101: What’s the Best Time to Reach Young People Online?

Voxburner Content Team

Around 6000 tweets are posted every second, while 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. This leads many brands to ask: How can we stand out from the crowd?

Around 6000 tweets are posted every second, while 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. This leads many brands to ask: How can we stand out from the crowd?

The first step is to create interesting, relevant and shareable content – you can get some inspiration from YMS London attendees such as Social Chain and The Tab. Then comes the even more important bit: ensuring your content is seen by the right people. There are several ways to achieve this, one of which is posting at the optimum time for your target audience.

When are young people most active online?

The best time to reach your audience depends on who you want to target, and what you’re promoting. You need to think about the daily life of your typical customer, and what times of day they’ll have time to go online. Even within the youth audience, this can differ dramatically, for example the routine of a 16-year-old is quite different to that of a 24-year-old.

What time are Gen Z online?

People who are still in full time education, such as school or college students, spend most time online in the afternoon and evening. Although they may access the internet before school or during breaks, they won’t have a lot of time to browse and engage with your content. It’s more effective to reach them at a time when they are relaxed and actively looking for something to do.

When are Millennials on social media?

The best strategy for targeting young professionals depends on what type of content you’re offering. If it’s business-related, you’ll get better results during working hours. They probably won’t feel like looking at anything work-related during their personal time, and they are unlikely to be able to take action, such as making a purchase or signing up to a new service. However, if you want to promote something fun, such as a travel or fashion brand, before 9pm or after 5pm is best. At these times, they will be free to enjoy your content and share it with friends, who will also be online and open to conversation.

Another useful tip is to think about the location of your audience. For example, if you want to reach people in both the UK and US, posting in the evening UK time may be the best option for organic reach. This means users will be awake in both territories.

How to schedule your posts

In order to reach your audience at the optimum time, you don’t actually have to be online at those times yourself. There are many social media scheduling tools which enable you to publish posts at the future times of your choice. Some, such as Buffer and Echobox, can even automatically schedule content at the most effective time based on data analysis from your previous posts.

Cross-channel marketing is a smart strategy for targeting Millennials and Gen Z, because these audiences consume a huge amount of media from a variety of different sources. Here is our guide to the most important advertising channels to consider if you want to reach young people.


In 2017, 96% of 16-24s owned a smartphone, while another survey found that nearly 80% of teens check their phones at least once an hour. With the iPhone being the most popular device, iOS apps are a prime location for mobile advertising. Tablets, such as iPads, are also popular with young consumers who may not be able to afford their own laptop. Mobile advertising offers a range of formats, including banners, interstitials and video, which means it can be tailored to any brand or advertising objective.


Display is the most common and traditional form of online advertising, but that doesn’t mean it’s only effective for an older audience. The benefits of display advertising include raising brand awareness, which is especially valuable when you’re targeting a young audience, whose brand loyalty in most categories is still up for grabs. Display ads typically appear on editorial and entertainment sites, such as Buzzfeed or Capital FM. Formats include banners, pop-ups and rich media ads.


Social media has replaced email, phone calls and text messages for many teens, becoming the default mode of communication. This has made platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook the most powerful and direct advertising channel for this audience. Not only can brands place ads through services such as Facebook Ad Manager, but there’s also the opportunity to buy your way into users’ timelines by working with social media influencers to create sponsored content.

Learn more about creating engaging media moments for young consumers at YMS London, the world’s largest youth marketing festival, taking place in March 2018.


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