March 25, 2021
3 Ways to Capture Gen Z’s Attention
We’ve all heard rumors about this elusive, young, TikTok-obsessed demographic. Recently, they’ve made headlines calling out millennials for wearing skinny jeans and sporting side parts, but this is a uniquely powerful generation that already commands $143 billion in buying power— almost 40 percent of all consumer shopping. So, how can brands best communicate and develop relationships with this post-millennial generation?
1. Reach Them Where They Are: Gen Z spends more time on social media than any other generation and they love watching videos on mobile.
2. Be Authentic: This generation wants to see real people and experiences reflected in the content they consume, and they won’t interact with brands whose content feels airbrushed or photoshopped.
3. Take a Stand: Make sure your brand has clear messaging around your values and what you stand for as an organization.
Who Is Gen Z?
There’s still some ambiguity on the exact birth years that make up Gen Z, but most agree those who were born between 1997 and 2012 are a part of the cohort. Which means the oldest are already a part of the workforce and the youngest are still in elementary school.
While millennials grew up in the advent of the internet and desktop computers, Gen Z came of age with social media and smartphones; constant digital connectivity has always been in the palm of their hands. The digital natives spend approximately six hours a day on social media and 85% say they learn about new products through social channels.
As the generation that already controls close to 40% of consumer shopping, it’s critical that your brand is speaking to and garnering the attention of this powerful demographic. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with three ways you can connect with Gen Z.
1. Reach Them Where They Are
We already know Gen Z spends more time on social than millennials at a whopping six hours per day and the type of content they’re consuming varies greatly compared to their predecessors. Millennials have a reported 12 second attention span and Gen Z’s is a mere eight seconds. This means you not only need to have a strong presence on social media, but your visual marketing game needs to be top-notch to really capture their attention. Platforms like TikTok and YouTube are the best places to find a captive audience.
Gen Z accounts for 60% of users on TikTok and was the generation to make the platform a household name. YouTube has more influence over this demographic than big name brands and 85% of teens watch YouTube with 70% consuming over two hours of YouTube content daily. Most popular categories include humor, unboxing/ product reviews, and short-form content. Vogue has established a strong YouTube marketing strategy with reoccurring content series like 73 Questions and beauty tutorials— providing a wide web of videos to attract Gen Z viewers.
To keep Gen Z’s attention, consider developing a gated content strategy by creating exclusive promotions for different groups based on age, affiliations, or occupations. For 41% of the demographic, gated content makes them feel special and rewarded and 51% say this type of content makes them feel excited. Personalizing content is key to connecting with this generation, so much so that Boston Consulting Group estimates during the next five years, personalization alone will shift $800 billion in revenue to the 15% of companies that get it right.
2. Be Authentic
Authenticity informs Gen Z’s buying habits more than any other generation. Almost 80% say they will trust a brand more if the images they use are not photoshopped and 84% trust a company more if actual customers are featured in their ads. This philosophy is driving the shift from the faux-perfection of celebrities to micro-influencers and the rise of user-generated content.
This generation wants to see real people and experiences reflected in the content they consume. Personalization is key and one-size-fits-all messaging no longer works. Allowing the voices of micro and nano influencers to speak on behalf of your brand allows for more authentic and personalized messaging. In fact, 44% of Gen Z say they’ve made a purchase decision based on an influencer. STN helped Amazon Prime Video reach the demographic to promote their new show, The Wilds, through strategic micro influencer partnerships.
Beauty brand Glossier developed its cult following among millennials and Gen Z by steering clear of promoting a singular beauty standard. Glossier was founded on “the belief that beauty isn’t built in a boardroom, it happens when you’re a part of the process.” The brand uses micro and nano influencers to promote its products and tie back the idea that they’re helping to enhance your natural beauty. Just take a look at a video Glossier created with players from the WNBA to promote their new Body Hero product line.
3. Take a Stand
Also known as the activist generation, Gen Z not only wants a good product but they want the brands they support to stand for something. Whether that’s through grassroots environmental efforts like Patagonia Action Works or Warby Parker’s Buy A Pair, Give A Pair program, there’s an expectation for companies to comment on and take a stance around issues like sustainability and racial and social justice. Ben and Jerry’s understands this and in-between posts announcing new ice cream flavors and product recipes, they share content showing what they stand for outside of incredible dessert. Take a look at a few of their recent posts on Instagram:
Gen Z is known for being extremely loyal to brands whose mission aligns with their personal values and who have excellent product quality and service. So much so that two in three say they’ll stick with brands they like and buy from them for years and 60% say they’re happy to be associated with their brands of choice. Make sure your brand has clear messaging around your values and what you stand for as an organization.
As the New York Times wrote, “A decade ago, your lipstick brand wasn’t expected to comment on social justice. Now, consumers demand it, especially the teens and adults under 25 that make up Gen Z.”
The Time Is Now to Connect With Gen Z
As more of this demographic comes of age, their buying power and influence will only grow. Now’s the time to engage with this generation and create meaningful relationships with them. You want to reach them on platforms where they’re already spending multiple hours per day, with content that feels authentic and ties back to your overall brand mission and philosophy.
Still have questions on how to engage with Gen Z? Use the form below to get in touch with us!