What next for brands if the UK bans under 16s from Social Media?

The UK government’s proposal to ban social media use for under 16-year-olds would likely have significant implications for consumer and lifestyle brands, particularly those that heavily rely on social media platforms for marketing and engagement.

Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Effect on Audience Reach: Brands often target younger demographics who are active on social media platforms. With under 16-year-olds banned from these platforms, brands would lose a significant portion of their target audience, leading to decreased reach and potential sales.

Action: They would need to reassess their target audience and potentially refocus their efforts on older age groups or parents/guardians who make purchasing decisions on behalf of minors.

  1. Shift in Marketing Strategies: Social media platforms are crucial channels for brands to engage with consumers, build brand awareness, and drive sales. With a ban on under 16-year-olds, brands may need to diversify their marketing channels.

Action: This might involve investing more heavily in other channels such as email marketing, influencer partnerships (with influencers who have access to the under 16 demographic through other means), or traditional advertising.

  1. Innovation in Engagement Tactics: Typical methods for engaging with younger consumers wouldn’t be available anymore, and brands would need to explore new ways to reach with them outside of traditional social media channels.

Action: They could investigate the development of branded apps, interactive experiences, or offline events aimed at capturing the attention of this demographic in compliant ways.

  1. Emphasis on Privacy and Safety: The focus is turning very decisively towards keeping younger consumers safe online, and the lens of regulatory attention could easily intensify across other mediums.

Action: Brands would need to prioritise privacy and safety concerns when targeting younger consumers through alternative channels. This might involve implementing stricter age verification measures, going above regulations around data protection, and promoting responsible online behaviour in their marketing campaigns.


Brands may place a greater emphasis on offline experiences and events to engage with their target audience directly. This could include pop-up shops, sponsored events, or community initiatives aimed at building brand loyalty among younger consumers.


Unsure how to navigate evolving regulations around your marketing and social media activities? Get in touch for a no obligation chat..

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