They’re young, they’re digital, and they’re socially savvy. Let’s take a look at the marketing needs of Generation Z and identify what you can do to appeal to trendsetters and teetotalers alike.
The times, they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan said. Beginning with the youth culture of the 1950’s, each new decade has brought with it a fresh generation of consumers with different tastes and preferences. Now, marketers have to contend with the current batch of 12-19 year olds – the post-1995 kids, otherwise known as Generation Z.
In many ways, the needs of Gen Z are radically different from those of previous generations of teenagers. Today’s youngest consumers have spent their formative years on the web, in a world where consumers are more likely to engage with brands online than in person. Products of an increasingly digital age, Gen-Zers are emotionally attached to their mobile devices and obsessed with online content and social media in ways that even people in their 20’s can’t understand.
Currently accounting for around 10% of the UK’s population, Gen Z has a reach of influence that brands shouldn’t underestimate – in the US, they are predicted to have a spending power of $43bn (£28bn), which for the UK’s proportion of teens accounts for $7.6bn (£5bn) for the economy. Though they might be a tough group to win over, reaching out to this wave of digital natives is the only way to connect with tomorrow’s big spenders.
As marketers shift focus from the millennials to Gen Z, social media is perhaps the most obvious tool at their disposal. With around 82% of all teenagers on social media, Gen Z-ers are by far the most tech-savvy demographic on record.
The best marketers will pay attention to how teenagers are actually using and engaging with media and understand their multi channel/ device customer journey before attempting to replicate the experience in their campaigns.
Form content is getting shorter, while gifs and Vine videos are continuing to surge in popularity amongst teens. Quick, fun, and visual mobile-only apps like Instagram and Snapchat are potentially more relevant to Gen Z-ers, who constantly use their devices to capture, store, and share the images that appeal to them.
Different Ads for Different Spaces
When approaching marketing to Generation Z, retain this mantra: one size does not fit all. Make sure your content is tailored to fit a variety of platforms, with mobile forming the centre of your strategy.
A study by MCG Digital Media explored the trend between mobile ads and Generation Z, saying 85% of 16-24 year olds have a smartphone. The research showed that 59% of smartphone users only look at the first page of results when searching online and 84% of those using their mobile to find products and services notice mobile ads. 39% of people start their research into products and services on their mobile device and then go through to purchase the item on their computer while 24% find something on a smartphone and then buy offline.
Without a mobile search strategy, you’re simply not triggering this user journey. The message is often as important as the format, so it’s important you adjust your ad copy to attract Generation Z on the subjects they care about on the platforms they care about. Take your strategy one step further with Adthena Mobile, allowing you to track both your and your competitors’ mobile performance and impact of ad copy, giving you the insights you need to tweak your mobile PPC performance and stay ahead of the game.
Having grown up with the Internet, digital television, mobile phones, and hyped-up advertising, Gen Z-ers are comfortable communicating with brands across a wide range of media spaces. In order to stay relevant, you must create a presence for your brand across all of these platforms. Present your advertising and search marketing as a continuation of anything you’ve produced on television or in print.
Allow your brand to present different faces to different platforms, changing tactics while maintaining your brand’s core identity. A consistent message is a great way of showing that your brand can work for the customer in every area of their lives.
Get into the Gen Z Mindset
Though their digital dependence is all but indisputable, Gen Z is also defined by their new economic outlook. Coming of age in an era of economic instability has prompted today’s teenagers to look at themselves and their place in the world differently.
A recent report by the polling company Britainthinks revealed that young people are more likely to value hard work than fame, wealth, or designer labels, reflecting a more realistic vision of the world than previous generations. Whether they acquired this attitude from the media, their families, or through simple observation, kids nowadays have learned to be resourceful and adaptable in the face of hardship.
Gen Z has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit required to pursue their dreams, not relying solely on the things held dear by résumé-obsessed Millennials, such as skills, academic achievement, and experience.
When engaging with teenagers, it’s important to make sure that your brand offers some form of empowerment or encouragement. The fact that the next generation so steadfastly believes in itself is somewhat reassuring to older folks who want to know their world is being looked after.
Giving your Gen Z consumers the tools to accomplish things for themselves lets them know that they can be trusted. How-to-guides, instructional videos, build-your-own kits, and personalised advertising are all marketing devices that help you provide your customers with the freedom they want. More importantly, stressing themes like community, collaboration, and gamification will have a hugely positive impact on your brand’ reception amongst young people.
An authentic, creative partnership is an exciting way for brands to reach their desired consumers. Think about other brands, services, and campaigns targeting the same age group and take steps towards forming mutually beneficial relationships. For some good examples of this type of partnership, check out Kanye West’s collaboration with Adidas or the highly successful Gillette Movember campaign.
Want to see how your brand measures up? Adthena’s competitive intelligence solutions can provide you with all the information you need to outperform your competitors in online search markets, meaning you’ll be “down” with the kids in no time!