Facebook for Kids

Executive Summary:

  • FB launches Messenger Kids for 6-12-year-olds
    • Parents download and manage friend requests
    • Kids not found via search
  • Offers 3 Benefits to FB:
    • 1. PR
    • 2. Early Brand Affiliation
    • 3. Monetizable data

What it Means:

Smart for many media COs to have kid-specific offering:

  • Encourage family co-viewing / make babysitting easy
  • Create early brand affiliation
  • Enrich viewer datasets (I feel sick typing that but it’s real)


Facebook Launches Messenger Kids

Facebook launched Messenger Kids for 6-to-12-year olds in the US Monday, saying it took extraordinary care and precautions. The company said its 100-person team building apps for teens and kids consulted with parent groups, advocates, and childhood-development experts during the 18-month development process and the app reflects their concerns. Parents download Messenger Kids on their child’s account, after verifying their identity by logging into Facebook. Since kids cannot be found in search, parents must initiate and respond to friend requests.


Messanger Kids makes sense for Facebook for three reasons:

  1. PR – It sends a message that Facebook values giving parents comfort that their children have a safe environment on Facebook to communicate.

I wonder if the timing of this release is serendipitous, or possibly influenced by YouTube Kids’ current debacle in screening inappropriate content (USA Today).

2.  Early Brand Affiliation – Kids that use Facebook are more likely to become teenagers that use Facebook.

According to Facebook, Kids will not automatically be rolled into adult accounts when they turn 13 but it’s easy to imagine Facebook sending Kids a nice “Happy Bday!” message on their 13th birthday while facilitating an easy-as-possible upgrade to Adult Facebook.

3. Data – Messenger Kids expands Facebook’s data within a valuable demographic which can be monetized

Facebook has not disclosed a plan to monetize Messenger Kids and they will not serve Kids with ads. However, per The Verge, the data it collects could be useful for ad targeting elsewhere on the service. Tactics that come to mind:

  • Kids data could be used to target parents with ads
  • Once Kids become Adults, Kid account data could easily become associated with Adult accounts

Also, Messenger Kids will improve the integrity of Facebook’s age data since it’s likely that over the years, millions of Kids have fabricated their birth dates in order to create Facebook accounts.

What this means for media companies:

Scepticism of Facebook’s altruism aside, it’s hard to deny that Messenger Kids is a savvy product development.

As media companies develop their content strategies on linear, digital, and OTT channels, they should consider the value of offering children’s content:

  1. Encourage family co-viewing / make babysitting easy
  2. Create early brand affiliation
  3. Enrich viewer datasets (I feel sick typing that but it’s real)

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