Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is a generation of digital natives that has become a major force in the consumer market. Or as some might call them, the generation shaped by iPhones, climate anxiety, COVID-19, and TikTok. By 2025, they will make up a quarter of the population and bring tremendous spending power to the table. A recent Bloomberg report shows that Gen Z has about $360 billion in disposable income, so it’s time your business starts actively thinking how to market towards them.
To effectively market to Gen Z, one must understand their distinct characteristics and preferences. Research by Pew Research Center and The Harris Poll has found that Gen Z is more diverse, tech-savvy, and socially conscious compared to previous generations. But most importantly, they are chronically online, spending 6 or more hours on their phones every single day curating their online version of themselves.
From a content perspective, Gen Z prefers authentic and personalized experiences, craves real-time content, and values brands that align with their values and social causes. Acknowledging these traits is fundamental in crafting a successful Gen Z marketing strategy, so let’s keep this in mind as we dive into the essential strategies when marketing to these so-called “screenagers.”
Gen Z's reliance on smartphones is undeniable. According to HootSuite, over 95% of Gen Z owns a smartphone, making mobile marketing an essential aspect of any Gen Z-focused campaign. Brands should optimize their websites for mobile, create engaging mobile apps, and invest in social media platforms that are popular among Gen Z, such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool when targeting Gen Z, coming in forms such as podcasts, music, gaming, and TV. Studies by Adweek show that over 60% of Gen Z consumers trust UGC more than traditional advertising. Over the next few years, user-generated content will be a critical component in winning the content ecosystem. Encouraging user-generated content through branded hashtags, contests, and challenges fosters a sense of community and authenticity around the brand, building trust and loyalty with Gen Z consumers.
Gen Z consumers are heavily loyal to brands they feel a strong connection to; 66% stick to buying from a favorite brand for a long time which shows that they want to, and are capable of, keeping relationships with the brands they connect with.
Video content has become the preferred medium for Gen Z. A report by HubSpot states that 68% of Gen Z watches online videos daily. Brands can capitalize on this trend by creating engaging and entertaining video content that is easily shareable on social media platforms. Consider using short-form videos, live streams, and behind-the-scenes content to pique Gen Z's interest.
Speaking of TikTok, 60% of its audience is Gen Z, spending 24-28 hours per month on the app. It might come as a surprise, but 40% of Gen Z use TikTok for search instead of Google, and they’re searching this platform partly because of influencers.
Influencer marketing is a killer strategy for reaching Gen Z audiences. Influencers are seen as authentic and relatable, which aligns with Gen Z's preference for real connections. Partnering with relevant influencers who share your brand's values can expose your products or services to a broader Gen Z audience and generate significant engagement. By 2023, 63% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget because of its increased ROI in comparison to traditional forms of advertising.
Gen Z values individuality and authenticity. Providing personalized and customizable products or services allows brands to connect on a deeper level with this generation. Utilize data-driven insights to offer tailored recommendations and exclusive offers, enhancing the overall shopping experience for Gen Z consumers. Brands that are transparent in how they operate, what they’re doing to improve the world in some way, have strong values, and use ‘real’ people, are key factors when marketing to Gen Z.
Strategically marketing to Gen Z requires a nuanced and thoughtful approach. By understanding their preferences with a killer Gen Z on our Digital Marketing team (Content Strategist Grace Lepper), we can help your business successfully tap into the immense potential of this influential demographic.
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