4 Tips for Marketing to Gen Z Effectively
Authenticity, attention, and influencers – capturing the youth
9 August 2023
Gen Z is a demographic that’s too big for digital advertising to ignore, and it’s only getting bigger. Using the US as a touchstone, Gen Z makes up 20% of the population – 58% of them being adults. Gen Z is so vast and tech-savvy that they’re expected to surpass Gen X in digital purchasing power by 2025, and have an estimated $360 billion (and counting) in spending power in the US alone.
But marketing to Gen Z can feel riddled with invisible barriers. For every smash-hit hip hop mixtape made by a fast-food chain, there’re ten ads that missed the mark.
The truth of it is, there isn’t a copy-paste formula for attracting today’s most tech-savvy and socially-aware generation – but there are some essential tips to bear in mind 👇
1. DON’T BE ALL TALK
If marketing’s the talk, then what your company does in practice is the walk. Gen Z values both.
Sustainability is today’s biggest topic for Gen Z, and they’re more willing to support sustainable businesses or products with 73% of Gen Z being willing to pay more for what’s sustainable.
But whether you’re promoting your brand’s sustainability, your company’s diversity, or any other virtues, it’s worth remembering: Gen Z spend huge amounts of time on social media, and gossip about hypocrisy spreads quickly.
But don’t let the often cutthroat attitudes on social media sway you from using those channels – with 54% of Gen Zers spending over four hours a day on social media and almost 80% saying they’ve bought something they saw from there, a confident presence can go a very long way.
2. KEEP UP WITH THE CULTURE
Gen Z culture moves quickly – in fact, the meme above is already outdated and tacky by their standards.
Using Gen Z cultural touchstones is a must: their peers, slang, imagery, and humor help your brand connect. But what was hot yesterday can be cringe-worthy today, and brands are often seen as crashing the party when trying to clumsily cash in on the latest trend. (Don’t underestimate the embarrassment a well-placed ‘SILENCE, BRAND’ crab can cause.)
For inspiration on what to do, look at the McDonald’s X account (that’s ‘Twitter’ for old people). For inspiration on what not to do, look at GrubHub’s infamously awful animation that was torn to shreds for months.
GrubHub’s Delivery Dance went viral for all the wrong reasons
3. BE PRESENT
According to a global study, Gen Z, on average, loses attention for ads after just 1.3 seconds – less than any other age group.
Working within those constraints is essential, as is adapting to the generation’s screen juggling – 39% of Gen Z have four or more social media accounts, up from 15% for the general population.
Be quick, be sharp, and be everywhere.
But that doesn’t mean copy-pasting content, as Gen Z culture can be remarkably different depending on the platform.
On even the most surface levels, a quick scan through X (fka Twitter) and Reddit shows different slang and punctuation; but the differences between platform audiences go even deeper than that.
Where a quick, low-effort video can do well on TikTok (if the creator knows exactly what they’re doing), that same video is likely to fall completely flat on Instagram. A joke that goes viral on Twitter can land like a wet slap on Reddit – even when reaching the same generation.
While volume and speed is important for keeping up with Gen Z with attention-grabbing ads and marketing, developing a real understanding of the audiences native to each channel is equally – if not more – important.
So whether it’s a snappy video, a short post, or a great graphic, avoid copy and paste content!
4. KEEP HIGH-QUALITY STANDARDS
Gen Z is the most online generation yet, which means they see a lot of marketing and advertising. With digital ads especially, anything that’s sub-par is quickly drowned out by high-quality productions.
Using digital advertising providers such as ShowHeroes gives you stellar options for high-quality, engaging video advertising for every budget.
Partnering with ShowHeroes gives access to the ShowHeroes Studios library of over 150,000+ video professional-standard clips, as well as custom-made videos for your needs.
ShowHeroes also provides ad-hoc creative work for CTV advertising – a channel that’s been seeing significant growth among Gen Z, with a projection of 55 million Gen Z CTV viewers in the US in 2024.
Fancy learning more about how ShowHeroes can help your advertising connect with Gen Z? Get in touch!
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