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What do you know about Generation Z?
If the answer is “not much” or “what’s Generation Z?” this is the article for you.
Gen Z marketing is easier than you think. Even if you have no idea what “yeet” means and have never so much as thought about TikTok as a social media platform, much less a viable advertising option.
With the tips we’ve included here, you’ll be able to connect with Gen Z a whole lot easier and tap into this young, hip market with massive spending power and a deep love of all things social media.
First, who is part of this vibrant, young generation?
Generation Z also called the “smartphone generation” or “iGeneration,” includes anyone born between 1995–mid-2000s.
This demographic is technologically-inclined. They’ve grown up with mobile phones, iPads, SmartTVs and have never known a time that they weren’t connected to the world via the internet. This sets them apart from the Millennials who came just before them.
Another thing that sets them apart from Millennials is their attention span. The average attention span for Generation Z is a mere eight seconds. This is a full four seconds less than the attention span of Millennials.
If you don’t grab their attention with something innovative, fun, or meaningful during those eight seconds, you’ll probably be forever lost to them.
Before we get into our tips for Gen Z marketing, let's take a closer look at the people who make up this demographic.
Gen Z marketing might not mean throwing out your entire digital marketing strategy and starting fresh, but it will definitely need some substantial updates.
Marketing to Gen Z requires a deep understanding of who they are and what motivates them. Here are some statistics about Generation Z you can use to inform your customer persona.
General Gen Z Statistics
Generation Z makes up 32% of the world population (Bloomberg)
They have an estimated purchasing power of 44+ billion annually (LinkedIn)
Nearly half of Gen Z (48%) identifies as racially or ethnically diverse (Pew Research Center)
In 2020, Gen Z accounts for more than 40% of U.S. consumers (Fast Company)
More than 74% of Gen Z spend their free time online (Institute of Business Management)
Around 75% of Gen Z most frequently uses a smartphone over computers and other devices (Institute of Business Management)
Generation Z spends 11 hours on their mobile devices per week on average (Criteo)
Gen Z streams video for about 23 hours every week (Criteo)
Around 71% of Gen Z teens use mobile devices to watch videos while 51% use mobile for social media surfing (Think with Google)
More than 32% of Gen Z transactions take place on a mobile device (Criteo)
Only 45% of Gen Z watches cable; most prefer subscription services like Netflix (Vision Critical)
60% of Gen Z won’t use an app or website that loads too slowly (Institute of Business Management)
Social Media Use
Gen Z spends roughly two hours and 55 minutes on
each day, almost an hour longer than the average Millennial (World Economic Forum)
62% of Gen Z checks Instagram, while 60% visit YouTube, daily (Business Insider)
90% of 13–24-year-olds in the U.S. have used Snapchat (Snapchat)
88% of Generation Z prefers omnichannel branded experiences, while 54% are most influenced by social media (CMO Council)
More than 76% of Gen Z follow a social media influencer (Morning Consult)
25% of Gen Z women learns about new products from social media influencers (Morning Consult)
Behaviors and Preferences
On average, Gen Z’s attention span is eight seconds—four seconds less than Millennials (VisionCritical)
65% of Gen Z prefers not to see out of stock products (Institute of Business Management)
66% of Generation Z find high quality most important when making a purchase (Institute of Business Management)
Roughly 65% of Gen Z finds value in coupons, discounts, and rewards programs (Institute of Business Management)
Over 70% of Gen Zers say they have influence on family decisions like purchases (Institute of Business Management)
Less than 30% of Gen Z are willing to share personal data like health, wellness, location, or payment information online (Institute of Business Management)
69% of Gen Z aren’t fans of online ads, finding them disruptive (Vision Critical)
Gen Z’s attention can be drawn using aesthetically pleasing product images (Vision Critical)
Now that you know a little more about Gen Z, you’re probably already thinking of ways to market to them. Treating them as a single demographic isn’t advised, however.
In this section, we’ll share 10 Gen Z marketing tips that will help you create the perfect marketing strategy for this always-online consumer group.
Gen Z doesn’t want to be sold to. And they know all of your digital marketing tricks.
They’ve been on the internet their entire lives, they were bound to pick something up.
Instead of telling them what makes your product so great, you’ll need to focus heavily on the benefits and the experience your product provides.
According to Mention, your product is only 25% of what you sell. The rest is the feeling your product inspires. Gen Z very much wants to know about that feeling.
Meet Cleo, the money management assistant for iOS and Android, it a great example of marketing that focuses on experiences.
On their website, they include real social media mentions of the app that show off how people feel about the app:
Video content has been in increasing demand, but never so much as with Generation Z. According to Google, YouTube is the first platform Gen Z turns to when they’re seeking entertainment.
80% of the teenagers who use the platform use it to learn about a topic and 68% to improve or learn new skills. Still others turn to YouTube when they’re struggling and want to take a break from real life.
This makes YouTube a great place to make connections with Gen Z. Just remember to focus on showing the experience your product provides instead of talking endlessly about it.
In addition to YouTube, you should start posting on Instagram Stories and include video content on your website, too.
Generation Z is highly susceptible to influencers. But, they have to be the right influencers.
And, no, it’s not necessary—or even beneficial—to drop thousands of dollars to partner with a celebrity.
We recommend finding the right micro-influencers instead. These are influencers with anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 followers on social media. They typically get better engagement since Gen Z can relate to them… And they’re more likely to engage with their followers.
Experticity found that micro-influencers have 22.2X more conversations than the typical Instagram users. They also drive 60% higher engagement levels and are 6.7X more cost-efficient per engagement than macro-influencers.
The content also needs to be a little different to reach Gen Z.
Where Millennials responded to carefully executed, picture-perfect images, Gen Z prefers images that are less filtered.
This doesn’t mean that they aren’t attracted to visually appealing images, of course. It just means that their idea of “visually appealing” is different than the generation before.
Generation Z prefers marketing that is authentic, not salesy, and is a bit more raw.
There’s a reason that micro-influencers have better results with Generation Z.
76% of Gen Zers want brands to respond to their feedback (IBM/NRF). They see this feedback as an earmark of an authentic brand that cares about its users.
Gen Z also pays attention to reviews. 41% of Gen Zers read at least five online reviews before they make a purchase (The Center for Generational Kinetics).
In addition to the reviews themselves, Gen Z wants to see how you respond to both positive and negative reviews. They look for personalized responses that signal your desire to really connect with your customers.
Cookie-cutter review responses aren’t going to fly with them.
For a generation that lives online, Gen Z is very privacy-minded. According to NGen, 88% of Gen Zers feel that privacy protection is very important.
A survey by IBM found that, outside of contact information and purchase history, less than 30% of teens are comfortable sharing personal details online. However, 61% said they’d feel better about sharing their personal information with a brand they trusted to keep it safe.
Generation Z wants to be wowed, so keep that in mind when creating content and visuals.
Also, Gen Z spends more time watching videos on YouTube than they do on Netflix. This is a testament to their reduced attention spans.
Instead of long-form content, focus on creating snack-sized, easily consumable content like short videos and infographics.
To get and keep the attention of Gen Z, your content should be short and impactful, get to the point quickly, and include tons of effects, music, and overlays or stickers.
We’ve talked about authenticity, but we’re going to talk about it again.
Gen Z wants to support brands that are fun and cool. This means that you can let your hair down a bit when marketing to this audience.
Funny content and memes are infinitely popular with Generation Z and they’re drawn to brands that use humor, memes, and GIFs in their marketing.
This is similar to the Millennial desire to see the people behind the brand, but Gen Z seems to be taking it to the next level by expecting brands to cut up once in a while.
So, what do you do if you’re in an industry that isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs?
Be real and show off your human side. Engage with Gen Zers in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a robot. And, get rid of the outline.
Gen Z wants to be heard and they want to support businesses that are on their side on social issues.
This can be scary for brands. After all, aren’t brands supposed to stay out of politics and controversial issues?
If Gen Z is your target audience, you’re probably going to have to pick a side at some point. Gen Zers tend to be very passionate about their beliefs and seek out brands that are just as passionate as they are.
Find out what your target audience is passionate about and decide if your brand is passionate about it, too. If you’re not, it’s better to not get involved. If you’re not authentic in what you’re putting out, Gen Zers will drop you, fast.
Aerie is one of the brands that’s standing up—and standing out—due to their inclusive marketing that focuses on using real bodies that aren’t airbrushed as well as using people with disabilities in their advertising.
According to ClickZ, virtually all Gen Zers use smartphones. And, most of them are spending around four hours every day online.
Your site and marketing have to be mobile-first, or at the very least, mobile-friendly. This means creating a seamless mobile experience between marketing and buying and supporting it all with a clear call to action and mobile-optimized websites.
Generation Z loves a good deal and chances are, they’re not going to be paying full price for whatever it is you’re selling.
These are people who have near-instant access to everything. Plus, they grew up in the Age of Amazon.
With instant access to everything they could want to purchase at rock-bottom Amazon prices, it’s no wonder that Gen Z is so price-conscious.
Generation Z is an enormous demographic with enormous spending power. To reach them, though, will require your brand to think outside of the box and push beyond your comfort zone.
By focusing on building relationships you can get the most out of your Gen Z marketing to increase brand awareness and boost conversions.
Ready to build a marketing strategy that will get you noticed by Gen Z? Digital Marketing Agency can help! We provide comprehensive and aggressive digital marketing plans that will take your business to new heights.
Contact us today for a free consultation!