April 30, 2024

3 Ways to Capture Gen Z’s Attention

3 Ways to Capture Gen Z’s Attention

Gen Z, the young, dynamic generation that has grown up with digital technology at their fingertips, now owns an impressive $360 billion in disposable income and is a major player in consumer markets​.

So, how can brands best communicate and develop relationships with Gen Z? 

Here are three strategies to engage this influential group:

  1. Reach Them Where They Are: Gen Z spends a significant amount of time on social media, particularly on TikTok and YouTube​. This generation prefers engaging, short-form content that they can consume on the go. Your marketing efforts should focus on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, where Gen Z tends to spend their digital time.
  2. Be Authentic: This generation values authenticity highly. A vast majority, prefer brands that use unedited images and are more trusting of brands that feature real customers in their advertising​​. Emphasizing user-generated content and leveraging micro-influencers can help create a genuine connection with this audience.
  3. Take a Stand: Known as the activist generation, Gen Z expects brands to advocate for social and environmental issues. They are drawn to brands that have clear, principled stands on matters such as sustainability and social justice, and they appreciate when these brands incorporate activism into their business practices, like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s​. 
Who Is Gen Z?

The consensus is that Gen Z includes individuals born from 1997 to 2012. This means that the oldest members of this cohort are now entering their late 20s and are well-integrated into the workforce, while the youngest are in their early teenage years.

Unlike millennials who witnessed the rise of the internet and desktop computing, Gen Z has grown up immersed in a world of social media and smartphones, with digital connectivity a constant feature of their lives. Today, they spend an average of eight hours per day on social media, and a significant 90% report discovering new products through these platforms​​.

As a demographic, Gen Z is responsible for influencing about 40% of consumer shopping. It’s essential for brands to engage effectively with this influential group. 

Let’s break down three strategic ways to connect with and capture the attention of 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. 

ALSO READ: Do’s and Don’ts of Reaching Gen Z on Social Media

According to Morning Consult’s report, Gen Z spends 69% of their time on TikTok, and YouTube is the most-used platform for Gen Z — with over 80% spending their time on the app: 

To effectively capture Gen Z’s attention, it is advantageous to implement a gated content strategy that offers exclusive promotions tailored to specific age groups, affiliations, or occupations. Recent surveys indicate that 43% of Gen Z feels special and rewarded by such personalized content, and 55% report that it increases their excitement toward a brand.

Personalization is increasingly critical in engaging this demographic, with forecasts suggesting that, over the next five years, personalization strategies could shift as much as $1 trillion in revenue to the 20% of companies that master this approach​. Engaging Gen Z with content that resonates personally can significantly enhance brand loyalty and consumer engagement.

@rarebeauty …emphasis on the offline printer @Selena Gomez 🖨️ Still not over our office, redesigned in partnership with @thehavenly @Rove Concepts @sherwinwilliams 🫶 #rarebeauty #rarebeautyoffice #selenagomez #officetour #ofcoursetrend ♬ original sound - Rare Beauty
2. Be Authentic

In 2024, authenticity continues to deeply influence Gen Z’s buying habits, a trend that is emphasized by their preference for genuine brand interactions over heavily edited imagery. About 86% of consumers, including a large portion of Gen Z, now prefer brands that project an authentic and honest personality on social media​​. This reflects a broader shift towards transparency and authenticity, influencing everything from advertising strategies to customer engagement.

RELATED: The Age of Authenticity: How Brands Can Win Back Gen Z and Millennial Consumers

In response to these preferences, brands are increasingly leveraging micro and nano influencers to foster a sense of trust and authenticity. These influencers, who are often perceived as more relatable and trustworthy, play a crucial role in shaping purchasing decisions among Gen Z. For instance, 44% of Gen Z report that their purchasing decisions have been influenced by such influencers, highlighting the significant impact of personalized and authentic marketing​.

Aerie has effectively harnessed the power of authenticity with their Aerie Real campaign, which resonates strongly with Gen Z by featuring unretouched photos and a diverse range of models. This approach has not only increased trust among young consumers but also set a trend in the fashion industry for more genuine and inclusive advertising.



Just a little ✨ red carpet magic ✨ at the Aerie Real Fest this weekend 📸

♬ original sound - aerie
3. Take a Stand

As of 2024, Gen Z’s expectations from brands have evolved significantly, focusing heavily on transparency and corporate social responsibility. Known for their activist nature, nearly half of Gen Z consumers (46%) express strong loyalty to brands that align with their values, particularly those engaging in ethical practices and sustainability. Their loyalty is not merely based on product quality but is deeply intertwined with the brand’s ethical stance and social engagement.

For example, Patagonia continues to be highly regarded among Gen Z for its environmental initiatives, using its platform to advocate for conservation and sustainable practices actively. Patagonia stated, “By 2025, our packaging will be 100% reusable, home compostable, renewable or easily recyclable.” 


@patagonia We use recycled polyester more than any other material (we’ve been using it since 1993). When compared with virgin polyester it makes no compromises on quality, durability, weight or drying time. Learn more about what goes into our gear (and what doesn’t) at https://pat.ag/TT/Quality #sustainable #fabric #recycling #plastic ♬ original sound - Patagonia

Modern marketing must adapt to these preferences by integrating values such as sustainability and fairness into their core brand message, thereby fostering a genuine connection with this conscious and discerning demographic.

Strategies for Engaging Gen Z:
  • Innovative Engagement: Gen Zers are attracted to creative and interactive content. Think along the lines of AR filters, interactive polls, and engaging challenges that encourage participation​ 
  • Exclusivity and Personalization: Gated content and personalized experiences are highly effective. This demographic appreciates feeling special and included, which can be achieved through personalized marketing strategies and exclusive offers​ 
  • Focus on Community and Experience: Despite their digital prowess, Gen Z values in-person experiences and is credited with revitalizing traditional retail spaces like malls. A blend of online engagement and memorable in-store experiences can resonate well with these groups.
The Time Is Now to Connect With Gen Z

With their growing influence and distinct consumer habits, now is the time to tap into Gen Z’s potential. They’re not just future consumers—they’re actively shaping the marketplace today. Engaging with them now can build long-lasting relationships that could benefit brands for years to come.

For more insights on engaging with Gen Z and to stay ahead of the curve, follow us on social


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