10 Ideas to Reach Young Voters and Audiences Online - JVA Campaigns


10 Ideas to Reach Young Voters and Audiences Online

In the United States, 99% of 18-29-year-olds are internet users, with nearly half admitting to being online “almost constantly.” If you want to influence young audiences and inspire them to take action, whether that means voting, being an advocate, or supporting your cause, you’re most likely to reach them online. 

Reaching young audiences has become increasingly complex over the years due to growing privacy concerns and increasing targeting restrictions. However, it is still possible to target these audiences with accuracy, influence them with the right message, and get them to take action. Here are 10 ideas on how to do it. 


1. Target on the right platform.

The first step in reaching young audiences online is targeting on the right platform. 70% of U.S. adults 18-29 use Facebook, 71% use Instagram, and 95% use Youtube. Well over half of U.S. adults are using these platforms daily. Social media platforms are where the vast majority of young adults in America get their news, socialize, and consume media. If you want to reach a young audience, this is where you’ll find them.

2. Prioritize mobile formats.

Smartphones make up 80% of social media browsing. If you want young audiences to see your content online, you must prioritize content formats that are viewed on mobile devices. That means creating vertical content, creating short-form videos, and following fast-moving trends. It also means bidding higher on mobile ad placements. 

3. Talk about issues young people care about.

It’s no surprise that 18-29 year-olds care about different issues than older generations. While young Americans don’t necessarily all share the same opinions or care about the same issues, surveys have shown that the environment, racism, and affordable health care are the top three most likely to drive them to take action or engage with your content. If you want your audience to be genuinely interested in and engaged with your message, make sure you’re talking about the issues that affect them.

4. Use short videos.

Short-form video is one of the most effective message formats, especially when targeting younger audiences. Shorter videos (20 seconds or less) are generally more attention-grabbing and are easier for viewers to digest quickly. They also tend to come across as more relatable and genuine than longer and professionally produced videos, which is especially important when targeting Gen Zers or millennials.

5. Use organic and relatable content.

Using organic content humanizes your brand and message. It can make your message seem more genuine, personal, and relatable than running ads alone. Young adults especially don’t want to feel like they’re seeing just another ad. Make your content and message creative, and truly speak to your audience, as if the information is coming from a friend.

If you want to not only communicate your message but also drive your audience to take action, don't just talk about what action you want your audience to take. Tell them the why behind your message.

6. Utilize influencers.

Similarly to organic content, USG, or “user-generated content”, can be the best message format for getting a young audience’s attention. Online personalities who your audience members follow daily, relate to, and  “know” can speak to your audience like a friend. Influencers are especially great for civic engagement and voter registration messaging, which can create an “everyone is doing it” mindset.

7. Don’t rely on matched lists.

If you want to target an audience based on their past voting history, matched lists can be a great option in some cases. However, young Americans may not have voting history, and likely may not even be registered to vote at all. Relying only on voter lists can make it difficult or impossible to reach your target audience. Try targeting using various demographic or psychographic characteristics young audiences may identify with. You may be surprised by the vast range of creative ways to reach your target audience.

8. Teach something.

A young person might consider themself very engaged in politics or public affairs, but may still have very little knowledge about how to take action. They may be unsure about how to register to vote, who to contact, how they can support a cause, etc. If you want your audience to be motivated to take action, include helpful information that is simple, clear, and accessible. For example, try including a link to the petition that supports your cause in your social media account bios and advertisements.

9. Engage with your audience.

Young audiences have an expectation that content online is a two-way conversation. Here is another opportunity to not only humanize your brand or message, but build a relationship with your audience. Keep an eye on the comments section of both your content and other viral content in your niche. This is where you can engage directly with your audience and move them to action. This gives you a chance to highlight positive comments, provide your audience with extra information, use humor, etc., thus making your audience feel more connected to your brand and message. When you regularly engage with your audience, it makes them more likely to continue to engage with your brand as well. If people are commenting on your content often, they are more likely to see your content in their feed (even if they aren’t following you).

10. Communicate the “why.”

U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are the least likely demographic to cast a vote, with only 51% of these eligible voters having participated in the 2020 presidential election. If you want to not only communicate your message but also drive your audience to take action, don’t just talk about what action you want your audience to take. Tell them the why behind your message. Tell them how taking action can make an impact. Inspire them. Help them realize their voice counts.

At JVA Campaigns 

With our extensive background in digital advocacy, we’ve uncovered the most effective ways to reach and connect with any audience online. Here’s how we can help.