For many marketers, Gen Z is a mystery. We’ve been so focused on targeting millennials in the past ten years that we’ve forgotten about a whole new generation of young’uns who are now able to buy from brands.
From an ecommerce perspective - Generation Z should be easy to target. They’re online already, they know how tech works and they’re very active on social.
It’s worth noting though - before we begin - that as people, we don’t like being typecast into one box. So remember, Gen Z are all different, and while there are trends to how they consume content and spend their time, it’s important to note that some may not enjoy what you’re putting out there as much as others.
This post isn’t a tick box solution but guidelines to work to when considering marketing to this generation of consumers. With this in mind, here are 13 ways to tap into Generation Z.
This goes without saying but it’s pretty important you get this right. Gen Z is the generation born between 1995-2012 - into an era where tech has advanced at an incredible rate and everything they need is now at their fingertips. They might not be like Generation Alpha (born between 2013 and 2025) who know how to use a touchscreen by their first birthday but they have every gadget possible, right now.
According to this article, Gen Z are less focused than their predecessors, they’re excellent multi-taskers and they expect brands to respect their loyalty. They’re quick to change allegiance though, if a brand doesn’t match up with their view on the world. They care about the future and the impact they make on everything - from the environment to the economic climate.
They understand better than their predecessors that the future and its outcome is up to them - so they’re very conscious of ethical issues, such as animal testing and sustainability, when it comes to choosing who to buy from.
Remember that this not only applies to a digital journey, but also an in-store approach. Many from Gen-Z still find an in-store experience enjoyable and valuable to them, according to a long term survey of the retail world, by our parent company IPG. While physical retail and high street shopping is on a slow decline, we can see below that many still value the experience of physical shopping.
Creating a community and social feel to in-store experiences will appeal to younger generations, they want to live a brand story and be in a conversation with their chosen brands - more on this below.
Generation Z wants to consume content and make their own decision about whether or not to buy it. They want to learn something new and find a better way of doing things. They are willing to spend a little more than millenials too.
This is one of the reasons why Gen Z love influencers. They want advertising to appeal to them, speak to them personally and to not be too in your face when it comes to product placement.
Gen Z know that when they watch an influencer’s review on a makeup brush or a new gadget that they’ve been supplied with it for free or paid for their time - but they also appreciate the honest review that supports it. Advertising simply tries to convince us that a product is the best choice, a good influencer offers a middle ground where they point out both pros and cons, allowing people to make up their mind.
While influencers might not be right for every brand, as our recent State of Content Marketing Survey suggests, brands that can work with influencers that appeal to Gen Z are likely to see engagement increase - and could even encourage people into the top of the funnel.
When it comes to major influencers, this generation are moving on from the likes of Zoella, PewdyPie and Lily Melrose - that millennials still love. Instead, they’re scrolling Instagram and liking posts from the likes of Zendaya, Baby Ariel, Amanda Steele and Connor Franta.
While these A-list influencers might be a tad expensive for most brands, those with thousands of followers are still obtainable and can encourage Gen Z to use your site or simply notice your brand.
Ensure those you work with have a positive experience too - from that first contact via email or phone to receiving your product - and offer an incentive for those who are intrigued by what is being reviewed, such as a discount code.
Generation Z like to feel like a part of something bigger - so ensure marketing campaigns encourage their input. Not only does it improve social campaigns, as consumers feel like they’re interacting directly with their favourite brands, but they also enjoy the recognition they receive from taking part.
A social campaign that encourages them to share an image via a hashtag - with the chance of winning an exclusive prize is just one example of a great way of engaging with Gen Z. If your brand is supporting an important cause, asking people to share their stories helps them feel like a part of something wider, improving brand awareness and your ethical goals at the same time.
This generation want to feel involved, like the brand has thought specifically about them when it came to creating the content. This means larger scale pieces that they can get involved with are a good call. You may only put out one or two of these a year - we call them hero pieces here at Zazzle and I spoke about this content type at Brighton SEO last year - but if they engage this younger audience, they’ll be remembered. This means they’re likely to come back to you later.
Gen Z want things to be crystal clear, they don’t want to trudge through content to get to what they’re looking for and so you need to utilise things such as data, stats and video to get your point across. Keep on page blog posts succinct and supported by visuals such as charts or imagery, keep videos short and to the point and don’t be afraid to conduct your own research into the market to share with your consumers.
Gen Z want information up front - so leave out any fluff.
Gen Z are so used to tech that if an app isn’t working as it should or a page isn’t loading properly they’re likely to click off and never return. This means taking great care before sharing the latest marketing campaign, you don’t want to turn off that new customer base before you’ve even really started.
If you haven’t yet dabbled in VR, AR or voice search, it can feel a little daunting when looking into it. But our survey results revealed that there is a gap in emerging channels that could be owned if you take advantage early on. However, it’s important you don’t do these things on the cheap - as noted above, Gen Z will expect it to work first time. It’s important to also ensure if you’re creating an app it works on all devices - gone are the days when you could only get an app on iOS, Android users aren’t going to be impressed if they can’t access something. Those who use Android phones are typically more loyal and this could stretch to your brand too.
It’s also important you only look into this supporting tech if it complements what you’re trying to achieve - if it makes no sense, it’s unlikely people will use it. Ask why you’re creating something before you start paying developers and content creators.
Remember, everyone is welcome when it comes to marketing. That means expanding those you include in your campaigns - don’t leave anyone out. It’s very important to include everyone in your marketing - don’t just strictly focus on those you want to buy from you. All ages, races and genders are welcome with Generation Z, their eyes are completely open and accepting.
Gen Z spend a lot of their time on their favourite social platforms - this is where they do everything from interact with friends to reading articles about the things that interest them. They’re moving away from Facebook, so ensure your focus is on Instagram and Snapchat. Make social media a priority when you intend to interact with this demographic - you’re more likely to find them here.
Gen Z is open to new experiences and with a world of technology at their fingertips, they’re accustomed to trying out the latest thing and are more likely to receive something a little more innovative with open arms. Wondering what this media boils down to? Here’s what the kids are enjoying at the minute:
Gen Z watch around 68 videos a day, on average - that’s a lot of content consumed. Snappy videos that give them all the info they need in 60 seconds is the best choice - if you want to make a longer video then add a link in the description they can click onto, if they want to know more.
If you want to create long form content - so videos that are around 10 minutes long and tell a story, YouTube is the best platform. Otherwise, Instagram Stories or Snapchat are the best choice for shorter, snappier videos that Gen Z will watch while scrolling through their influencer content.
In recent years, these were considered a bit of a gimmick. But the tech has come a long way since and now brands looking to appeal to Gen Z should consider how they can use it.
VR puts users right there, in the moment - and Gen Z like to see what impact their purchase will make on them and the world around them. Brands are incorporating VR into their marketing by creating apps to support it or utilising YouTube’s 360 video tool. VR that doesn’t require a headset is a good call - Gen Z want to consume content there and then, not have to go searching for the supporting tech to check it out.
Velux, is a good example of a brand that has used AR to its advantage, with its MyDaylight app. It allows users to create a replica of their room via the app and they can then add skylights to determine where they’d be best placed to help them move further down the funnel.
Gen Z spend 4 hours of their day, viewing content via their phone. So an app is a pretty good call when it comes to interactive content. If your brand doesn’t yet have an app, to support the products or service you offer online, then it’s time to invest.
While you’re building that app, consider the content it will offer - include content to support your latest marketing campaign and look into incorporating AR where possible. IKEA are a good example, allowing you to slap their furniture in your home to see how it looks while Sephora lets people view their face through the camera and try out different products to find the right one for them. An app is a costly investment but if you get it right, it could pay off with Gen Z consuming your content.
Here at Zazzle Media, we believe voice search is going to be big in 2018/19 and by 2020 a common part of our everyday content consumption. As my colleague Elle noted in her post earlier this year:
Before you can create quality content, research and data will be the foundations of your success for any savvy marketer. With long-tail keywords taking centre stage, we can begin to see that voice search will differ largely from search-box queries. It’s obvious to state a person can speak more words per minute than they can type. Adding to this, these search queries are then naturally more conversational and colloquial and with the prediction that by 2020 50% of search queries will be conducted by voice, the importance of these keywords is growing.
This means you need to take a good, long look at the content on your site to ensure it meets this new criteria. It’s likely Gen Z will be the first to test out voice search on a day-to-day basis as they quickly get to grips with new tech - and so you need to ensure you can keep up and have your content read out by Alexa or Google Home.
Ready to get out there and get those Gen Z’ers involved? It’s time to adapt your marketing to appeal to those consumers that are now ready to buy. Keep the points above in mind and reap the rewards of working with Gen Z in the future.
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