SOURCE: eMarketer

September 24, 2007 09:00 ET

Virtual Worlds Are Trendiest Spot Online for Kids and Teens

Wildly Popular, Virtual Worlds Are Marketers' Playground

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 24, 2007) - Marketers are still trying to figure out how to reach young audiences on social networking sites, but already there is a new game in town: Virtual worlds. Although Second Life has received the most attention from marketers and the press, its traffic is low compared with the crowds at virtual worlds specifically geared for children and teenagers.

By mingling aspects of video gaming, social networking and communicating, virtual worlds have appeal for both genders and are an intriguing opportunity for those marketing to kids and teens, according to eMarketer's latest report "Kids and Teens Online: Virtual Worlds Open New Universe."

According to eMarketer, 24% of the 34.3 million US child and teen Internet users will visit virtual worlds once a month in 2007. This will rise to 34% in 2008 and by 2011, 53% will do so.

What makes virtual worlds appealing to young people? Virtual worlds are about connecting and communicating -- the two recurring themes for online youth. Virtual worlds also allow kids to tap into their creativity, indulge their desire for self-expression and exercise their proclivity for exploration.

The good news for marketers is that most virtual worlds are capable of offering detailed information about how their users interact with brands and advertising.

"The bad news," says Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst and author of the report, "is that it is difficult to know what all this virtual interaction really means. What value is there in a person's avatar drinking a Pepsi? Or wearing a shirt bought from a virtual store? What if a person's virtual activities have no bearing on their real-world activities?"

About eMarketer

eMarketer is "The First Place to Look" for research and analysis on digital marketing and media. eMarketer aggregates and analyzes e-business research from over 2,800 sources, and brings it together in analyst reports, daily research articles and the "eStat Database" -- the most comprehensive database of e-business and online marketing statistics in the world. Visit www.emarketer.com for more information.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Kris Oser
    Director of strategic communications
    eMarketer
    Email Contact
    Tel. 212-763-6033
    OR
    Jared Jenks
    Marketing communications coordinator
    eMarketer
    Email Contact
    Tel. 212-763-6044