Podcast-The difference between Gen Z and Millennial's

The Difference Between Targeting Gen Z and Millennials

Jade Lamb 5 years ago

Millennials, they’re old news, right? As marketers, we’ve been going after this demographic for a while now. Born between the years 1981 to 1995, the oldest is now 38 and the youngest around 24. This means many of them can now spend money and buy into brands. But a new demographic is creeping onto the scene - Generation Z. We've written previously on some quick ways to target Gen Z with your content.

But today, we’re taking a look at some of the key aspects marketers have taken on when pitching to millennials, and how Gen Z differs. You can listen to our podcast below, where we talk the main difference and how to translate this in your marketing.

The main differences

There is a great deal of crossover between the two generations. In fact, we millennials are now working as marketers, creating content and advertising to hopefully appeal to Generation Z and perhaps our own world views and values are rubbing off on them along the way.

Generation Z could be referred to as - to quote the kids - the ‘woke’ demographic. They’re perhaps even more sensitive to the world around them than millennials, although we’ve definitely set a precedent. Gen Z cares about the environment and ethical issues. They want to know where things come from and the impact their purchase is going to make on the world around them.

Influencer marketing

Millennials are perhaps moving away from influencers with an influx of bad reviews, claims of bought followers and inauthentic accounts and rules around advertising that make Instagram feel like one big billboard for brands. You can see where we've utilised influencers for targeted audiences here, and the results it can achieve as this approach reaps rewards for the right audience.

Millennials are more likely to follow celebrities and consider them to be influencers.

Gen Z prefers real-life influencers, such as YouTubers or those with a large Instagram following. They consider these influencers to be more authentic than celebrities and look for those offering honest reviews of products and brands. They understand that we as marketers are trying to sell them something and so they’d prefer brands and influencers to be upfront when it comes to what they’re creating content about.

Social media

The social media platforms used by millennials differ greatly to those preferred by Gen Z. As a brand, social media should be the main focus in marketing campaigns moving forward. It’s cheap to use and where you’ll find both millennials and Gen Z on a daily basis. Creating content that can be shared on social is so important when targeting both demographics.

According to research by Fullscreen, Generation Z are using Facebook and YouTube for entertainment - to consume video content and follow pages that they like - Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook for socialising and Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube for utility (to learn).

PlatformMillennialsGeneration Z
FacebookMillennials still spend time on Facebook and use it as a platform for staying in touch with family and older friends. They perhaps don’t post as much as they once did but still check in every day.Gen Z will likely have a Facebook account but are much less inclined to use it on a day to day basis. They use this account to consume content created by pages that they follow and to keep in touch with old friends or distant family. They had access to Facebook from a much younger age - a Gen Z born in 1995 will have seen the launch of Facebook occur around the age of 12 and likely had an account from an earlier age.
InstagramMillennials love Instagram. It’s where they follow their favourite celebrity influencers and friends. They’ll share images they like and engage with bloggers and brands on a day to day basis.Gen Z uses Instagram on a daily basis, particularly for the Stories function. They want quick content they can consume throughout the day - overall, they’re consuming around 10 hours of content and watching 68 videos per day. Gen Z also considers themselves to be content creators in their own right, so they enjoy curating stories themselves to share with their followers.
TwitterMillennials are much more inclined to use and engage with Twitter. It’s where they consume most of their content. They share their views on this platform, related to the world around them and actively engage with brands when making complaints or praising their service or product. Gen Z also uses Twitter but mainly for breaking news stories and up to date information. They enjoy the ability to connect with people from around the world and see things from a different perspective on this platform. Twitter is the less glossy cousin of Instagram, offering insight and content that appeals to this demographic.
SnapchatMillennials use Snapchat but not to the extent Gen Z does. They send funny filtered images to their friends and family and watch stories created by their friends. Gen Z is much more inclined to use Snapchat. They use this platform to interact with a large group of friends as they have the ability to interact directly with several people at the same time. According to the Center for Generational Kinetics, Snapchat is the platform Gen Z gravitate towards most. It’s where brands can engage with them easily, by creating AR experiences and fun filters.
TwitchSome people would argue that Twitch isn’t a social platform but its live chat functions and social element make it a popular choice for millennials and Gen Z alike. Millennials are likely to have found their way onto the platform through influencers who now do live streams. Gaming is perhaps the most prevalent form of content featured on Twitch and the rise in e-Sports has supported the concept of watching people play games live.Gen Z want to get something out of the content they consume and so they’re likely turning to Twitch content creators to either be entertained or informed. They won’t just be following gamers on Twitch, they’ll be watching artists displaying their techniques live or cosplayers showing viewers how to make something. They want to learn and Twitch is the ideal platform for this.

The type of content Gen Z is consuming

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, when it comes to consuming content such as the news young adults prefer to read rather than watch. This means long-form, written content is still likely to appeal to Millennials but it must have a human interest angle. Gen Z is less inclined to read those longer-form pieces. They’re time-strapped and they want you to convey a message in just a few seconds. In fact, they’re consuming up to 10 hours of content every day which suggests if yours doesn’t stand out or capture their attention immediately they’ll click or swipe away and never return.

Generation Z is stimulated more by visual content such as branded images and video. This means if you are creating content, lead with the visual design. Stats, graphs and data conveyed in a simplistic visual format is more likely to appeal. Tik Tok is a content curation platform that has seen great success with Generation Z. The app is essentially the new Vine, allowing people to create short videos that can be seen by a huge audience. The app started off with people lip-syncing over popular music and musical numbers but it has now adapted with influencers and comedy content creators also finding their way onto the platform.

Brands are also recognising the appeal of Tik Tok. ASOS recently branched out onto the platform and now creates behind the scenes video and humorous content with its models and staff, as well as look book style videos to show off its products.

What you need to do as a marketer to distinguish between your millennial and Gen Z targeting...

  • Adapt your message - Gen Z feels even more strongly about ethical and environmental issues than millennials. It’s important that brands consider these issues when creating content. You don’t need to shift your whole mantra, just think more about your brand purpose: how what you’re doing impacts the world around you, are you being inclusive in terms of who you’re featuring in campaigns and is your message ethical and fair?
  • Be more social - Dedicate more time to creating content that can be easily replicated or shared on social. This is where you’ll find millennials and those who sit in the Gen Z demographic.
  • Focus on more visual content - Introduce more visual content such as video into your everyday marketing. It doesn’t have to be glossy, simple how-to videos that support content or clearly convey a message will appeal to both Gen Z and millennials.
  • Ask why you’re creating the content - Gen Z want to take something away that they can use later, whether it’s knowledge, something to share with friends or a new skill. Ensure your content has a reason and gives this demographic some food for thought.
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