Gen Z now makes up 26% of the population and comprises 48% of the total media audience. Their spending power is estimated to be between $29 and $143 billion, without taking into account their influence on household spending. They are a formidable consumer demographic, but the generation gap leaves some marketers struggling to successfully reach them.
It is true that conventional digital marketing strategies rarely work and there has yet to be a complete consensus of which methods are most effective. But experts are starting to come together to compile their best recommendations and guidelines for successfully marketing to Generation Z.
Highlight Social Awareness
This generation has a heightened awareness of issues plaguing our society and the rest of the world. They know that what’s occurring now has the ability to strongly impact their futures. Which is why if they discover that a company is engaging in objectionable practices, they will avoid doing business with them at all costs, while making it widely known. Conversely, brands that are positively contributing to society or the environment have the opportunity to be strongly supported by Gen Z. As individuals they have varying beliefs, but they share a number of ideals such as inclusivity, multiculturalism, social justice, environmental awareness, and anti-capitalism.
A great example of a company that has done this is TOMS Shoes. For every pair of shoes purchased, they donate another pair of shoes to a child in need. These are the kinds of campaigns and practices that this generation looks for before fully getting behind a brand.
Focus on Mobile Platforms
75% of Generation Z selected a mobile phone or smartphone as the device they use most. This means strategies aimed at desktop users are no longer effective, especially when it comes to eCommerce web designs. A study performed by Google revealed that Gen Z mostly uses smartphones to make online purchases, and highly prefer online shopping in general. This means all web designs must be mobile-friendly, the checkout process needs to be simple, and content must be created with mobile devices in mind. Voice search is something else to keep in mind, as its use is on the rise with Gen Z. So it’s important to produce website content which conforms to patterns from everyday speech.
Be Personal and Relatable
Generation Z was raised on the internet, they’ve seen everything there is to see. Which means using traditional sales ad and blatant customer manipulation attempts will fail miserably. Aggressive ad copy should be replaced with relatable and relaxed language. They will only pay attention to ads that are directly related to personal needs and desires. They expect retailers to offer a more personalized experience based on the customer’s shopping habits and preferences. This can be accomplished by creating targeted landing pages, publishing content aimed at the right buyer personas, and giving personal replies to messages on social media.
Use Each Social Media Platform Differently
Social media has been a part of Generation Z’s entire lives. They’re highly aware of what each platform is best for and use each reflectively. Which means you can’t advertise to them in the same way on every platform. Response Media’s study reveals that Gen Z:
- Showcase their aspirational selves on Instagram
- Share real-life moments on Snapchat
- Get the news on Twitter
- Glean information from Facebook
Instagram is also most used for brand discovery, with 45% of teens using it to find new products. And YouTube is used most for shopping recommendations, followed by Instagram, then Facebook. These are all things that should be closely kept in mind when conducting social media campaigns, sharing content, etc.
Create Quick, Effective, and Visual Content
It’s a common misconception that Gen Z has an outrageously short attention span, 8 seconds to be exact. In reality, they actually possess a sophisticated filter that comes from growing up surrounded by a deluge of information. So yes, you have very little time to convince them that your content is worth their time, but if it is, they can focus (or binge) long enough to complete in-depth research on any topic.
Additionally, 71 percent of 13 to 17 year olds spend more than three hours a day watching online videos. But that doesn’t mean you can throw any video advertisement in front of them and they’ll pay attention. On average, Generation Z clicks “Skip” on skippable video ads after only 9.5 seconds. It all stems back to growing up in an information overload environment. This means you need to start focusing on only giving them the most necessary and important material.
When it comes to marketing to Generation Z, the most important thing is to forget all the misconceptions. They are not a generation of unintelligent, short attention spanned, detached kids that are dooming digital marketing for the rest of the generations. Every new generation of consumers means shifting marketing tactics and best practices in order to continue driving revenue and growing as a brand. When you execute your digital marketing strategy correctly, Gen Z can bring in major revenue, their own as well as revenue from their parents. They care about social responsibility, authenticity, and personable customer experiences. Brands have the opportunity to start engaging with socially active, highly motivated young people. They want to connect with companies, lead a following, or even become loyal brand ambassadors. Generation Z presents a new challenge that may just not seem worth it to some, but they offer the opportunity for huge payoffs with a little bit of work and understanding.
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