Gen Z has never known a time without the internet. With the oldest Zoomers being born in 1997, they’ve had access to anything and everything digital since they learned how to use their opposable thumbs. They are also the largest, most educated generation in history with 57% of Gen Z adults in the U.S. enrolled in college. What makes that number even more impressive is the fact that Zoomers make up 22% of the U.S. population … and only 10.3% are of college age.
These young adults have demanded their space in the workforce ever since they were able to begin working, with the oldest being just 25 years old, there are still millions between the ages of 10 and 16 waiting to make their mark. Even though only 13% of Gen Z is currently working, that 13% makes up almost one-third of the global workforce.
Generation Z is often considered the most powerful consumer force in U.S. history because of its sheer buying power and influence over other generations. Bloomberg reports that Gen Z has $360 billion in disposable income as of 2022, which is more than double their original estimates.
The generation’s spending power will increase exponentially over time, as more members enter the workforce. Their power makes them an indispensable audience and their current age is optimal for forging connections and building lifelong relationships.
With so much going for them and so much to consider, marketing to Generation Z can be intimidating. We’ve come up with 5 considerations to make when targeting Gen Z to help you optimize your campaigns:
How to Reach Gen Z? Mobile Marketing.
The key to advertising to Gen Z is remembering who they are, digital natives. Zoomers have grown up with fluency in technology and can pick up any device and know how to navigate its operating system without running into many issues.
By 2025, there will be 66.5 million Gen Z smartphone users who clock in an average of 5.5 hours a day on their phones. To market to Gen Z, you need to be targeting them on mobile.
If you don’t advertise on mobile, you might as well not exist. According to Hubspot’s 2022 Consumer Trends Report, 56% of those surveyed use mobile phones more than any other device when looking up a question on a search engine. Not to mention over 88% of Gen Z TikTok users purchase items from advertisements they see.
Mobile marketing can be any type of promotion. As of late, short-form content has taken over digital marketing on major platforms such as Youtube, Google, and TikTok. Marketing to Gen Z should focus on TikTok, with over 68% of Gen Z using the platform consistently.
If you want to successfully target Generation Z as an audience, you need to be where they are .. and that is on their phones.
What’s More Important than Ever for Gen Z Marketing? Brand Reputation & Association.
Like millennials before them, Gen Z values authenticity. That means brands need to be transparent and real when it comes to their messaging across social media platforms. This is especially important when it comes to digital platforms like Youtube, Instagram and TikTok, where Zoomers are most likely to engage with brands and content.
Raised in a digital world, Zoomers are particularly susceptible to the influence of social media. They are more likely to be socially conscious than older generations, which has led many businesses to change their marketing strategies to appeal to this demographic group’s values. It’s important for brands to take a stance on issues that matter to them—especially when it comes to corporate responsibility. 51% of Gen Z agrees that companies should take a stance on social issues.
With Gen Z being quick to deplatform anyone who has been hurtful or made mistakes in the past, it is extra important to evaluate the future of the influencers your brand associates with. Selecting the proper influencer and content is crucial for promoting any new campaign. Having a proper understanding of your brand’s ideals and values is principal when it comes to selecting influencers to promote a product or service.
What type of content works best? User Generated Content (UGC) and Organic Ads.
Zoomers are more likely to purchase something if they see someone in their situation benefiting from the product or service. This is why influencer marketing has become so popular in recent years. Because users know that these people are genuine and have used the product, they feel more confident in making a purchase decision themselves.
User generated content also allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level. You can use UGC as part of your social media strategy to increase engagement and improve brand loyalty.
Organic ads and UGC are great ways to get your product in front of potential customers. They’re also the most cost-effective way to advertise. They don’t cost anything, but they do require you to have a strong SEO strategy in place so that when people search for something related to your business, they find you first.
The best part about organic ads is that they’re highly targeted and very relevant to what people are searching for. This means that you’ll get more clicks and conversions because people know exactly what they’re clicking on when they see an organic ad.
Organic ads aren’t as easy as they used to be. Google and other platforms have gotten smarter over time and it’s getting harder and harder to rank organically. That’s why it’s important to have SEO experts (like us!) on your team who can help make sure that your website gets ranked high enough on search engines like Google so that when people search for something related to what you do, they’ll find your website first.
Here are some ideas for including UGC in your campaigns:
1) Use UGC in email newsletters
2) Encourage customers to send in photos of themselves using products
3) Ask customers to share their stories on social media
4) Share customer reviews on your website
5) Create a UGC gallery on social media
Why Does TikTok Work to Advertise for Gen Z?
The trust factor is particularly important in the Gen Z space. Most Zoomers (55%) report that recommendations from influencers are one of the most important factors in their purchase decision. Zoomers are a group that has grown up with everything being shared on social media. They’ve seen the rise of influencer marketing and brand deal tactics, and they’re wary of that kind of content.
Gen Z grew up watching ads and seeing through social media lies. After years of constant, daily exposure to influencer marketing and brand deal tactics, Zoomers have their lineups of brands, sources, celebrities and influencers deemed trustworthy. If your brand isn’t one of them, it’s going to have a tough time breaking through with this audience.
The good news is that building trust doesn’t take too much time or effort — just consistency over time. The same goes for building shared values and interests; if you can find something that resonates with them culturally or socially, then you’ll have a leg up on your competitors.
Influencers have been posting brand deals for years, but UGC showcases the value, application and legitimacy of a product or service.
TikTok allows the newer generations to see people who look and live in similar conditions as them using products targeted for them specifically. Nowadays on social media (TikTok especially) anyone can become a content creator, despite any circumstance. Digital advertising on these apps comes naturally with user generated content.
Related: TikTok Platform Changes 2023
Targeting Gen Z with Social Commerce Strategies.
Social commerce strategies work well with this demographic because Gen Z is so used to seeing content formed around a sale, that it feels natural no matter what type of ad it is. The utilization of eye catching visuals captures the user’s attention quickly, and without missing a beat, ads typically jump right into the main point.
With social media rapidly adapting short-form content, the newer generations don’t have an interest in slow moving videos or ads that don’t get to the point. With the sweeping impact this generation has had on TikTok and content creation, it is no surprise that ads should conform to their content style.
When targeting any audience, it’s important to follow their behavior. Note which platforms they tend to use or shop on most and place your ads there.
To best market to Generation Z, understanding which types of ads work best is crucial. Youtube and TikTok are both very influential spaces for short-form content. Most of Gen Z’s social media consumption would include Instagram reels, Youtube Shorts, and TikTok’s ‘For You Page.’ It is important to note that Youtube ads have to be set to campaign in shorts separately from publishing a video ad.
These platforms have very specific targeting requirements which is helpful for niche advertising. When it comes to targeting millennials, you can target by age (preteen – early twenties) and target interests based that are relevant to your brand and audience.
The best way to understand any audience is through data and analysis. Be sure to conduct research on your target demographic and utilize analytics in your strategy.
Marketing to Generation Z is the first time marketers have had to majorly adjust to the market in a while. Staying in touch and ahead is the key.
Content should be focused on short form, real user reviews to be promoted on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Youtube Shorts. Since targeting younger people isn’t always clear, find niche audiences where you know Gen Z is following.
Work to find the best influencers that reflect your brand’s values clearly, this will help gain reputability and a space in the product promotion world.
Gen Z and Millennials are more similar than some may want to admit, especially when it comes to mobile marketing. Click here to learn more about how to best market to Millenials.
The digital natives really know how to stir things up after all. With these tips, marketing toward Gen Z will be an easier learning curve to navigate! But at the end of the day, you’ll need to hire a trusted agency to maximize your profit potential when targeting Gen Z.
The Cape & Bay team is here to help you start the conversation, with proven strategies and techniques for marketing to Gen Z. Let’s chat about how you can optimize your campaigns.