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Your guide to marketing to Generation Z

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Everything you need to know about marketing to Generation Z

Many of us know a lot about millennials, we’ve probably devised our strategy based on appealing to them. However, the new kids on the block, Generation Z are beginning to enter adulthood and explore the world of work. Despite this, many of us comms pro’s don’t know much about them, let alone how to appeal to them. It’s time to get up to scratch with who exactly Generation Z are, and which marketing strategies will be the most effective on them.

Using Meltwater’s media intelligence platform, we discovered that between 10th-17th January 2018 ‘Generation Z’ was mentioned globally more than 2400 times in the press. In comparison, 2 years ago (10th-17th January 2016), Gen Z was only mentioned in 174 articles. This data just goes to show how the interest in this generation has peaked to an all-time high and why we, as brands, need to wake up and take note.

So who are Generation Z?

There’s some dispute around exactly what year someone has to be born to constitute them being part of generation Z. Generation Z began sometime between 1995 and 2000, depending on who you speak to.

Whilst the birth year is a little vague, there are some clear differences between the Millennial generation and Generation Z. One of the main differentiating factors between Millenials and Gen Z is their relationship with technology. As a person categorised as a Millenial, I spent my childhood without an iPhone, broadband internet and social media. In contrast, Generation Z were raised in a smartphones and social media culture. Generation Z tend to be stereotyped as “technologically savvy” and social media obsessed due to the availability of such technology in their childhood.

Facts about Generation Z

→ According to ChildWise, children aged between 5-16 spend on average 3 hours online a day

Takeaway: If young people are your target audience target them online rather than through traditional advertising such as print and TV adverts.

→ According to Snapchat, its users spend around 30 minutes a day on the app and visit the platform around 18 times a day.

Takeaway: Consider using Snapchat as part of your social media strategy if you’re targeting Gen Z. Snapping behind the scenes clips of your business is a great way of showcasing culture, our human side and offering teasers.

→ A study by Awesomeness reported that 71% of Gen Z’s typical entertainment consumption is streaming, and one-third is viewed from a mobile device

Takeaway: This stat suggests that this demographic is watching less TV (and therefore less TV adverts). Creating video content suited for a mobile device is best.

Vision Critical reported that Gen Z’s most used tech devices are the smartphone (15.4 hours/week), TV (13.2 hours/week) and a laptop (10.6 hours/week)

Based on the above, we’ve created some top tips for marketing to generation Z.

5 Tips for Marketing to Generation Z

Utilise Influencer marketing

Seeing as around 88% of current students use Instagram and Snapchat, social influencer marketing is the perfect opportunity to reach generation Z. Brands working with influencers can benefit from boosted credibility. According to a study by Google, 70% of teen YouTube subscribers see their favourite YouTube influencers as more relatable than traditional celebrities. And it’s not just reputation that influencer marketing improves! Influencer marketing hub states this form of marketing also has a direct impact on the bottom line. Their research found that every dollar spent on influencer marketing saw a $7.65 in return on investment!

Content to help you get your influencer marketing off the ground:

Blog: Choose your influencers

On-demand webinar: Learn how to master influencer marketing

Don’t forget mobile

As previously mentioned, a smartphone is the most used digital device for those who fall into Gen Z. It is therefore imperative that our marketing efforts are either mobile first or are optimised for viewing on a mobile device. These days, mobile optimisation is important for whoever we are targeting, so we’ll do no harm by ensuring content is easy to navigate on a smartphone.

Consider creating an app and sending users ‘push notifications’ so the brand remains top of their mind.

Content to help you put mobile first:

Blog: What do we actually mean by ‘mobile first’?

Blog: How to create a mobile marketing strategy

Keep content interesting

Research shows that the average attention span of a Generation Z’er is 8 seconds vs 12 seconds for millennials. Multi-screening amongst this generation is huge, many jump between watching TV, scrolling through their social media feeds and using their laptop in a short space of time. Therefore, it is essential that our content will grab their attention in the first couple of seconds.

We need to ensure that our social media channels are full of engaging content and that we’re aware of technological developments that we might be able to implement in our marketing strategy. For example, last year we saw lots of brands using virtual reality (VR) in their campaigns.

With help from a media monitoring tool, we can stay on top of trends impacting our industry and ahead of the competition. By setting up instant alerts around key industry mentions we can keep up to date with new product launches. Social media updates are also important – Instagram especially has had a huge number of updates in the last year. Using these new features (while they’re still a novelty) can help up our brand engagement.

Content to help you keep up to date with trends:

Blog: Utilise technology to create an amazing customer experience

Blog: How brands are using virtual reality in their marketing

Website: Digital Trends

The on-demand customer

Many of us are turning to social media to voice our complaints and ask questions. According to a study by American Express, Gen Z is more than twice as likely than Millenials to drop a brand for poor features or responsiveness on social media.

Convince and Convert found that answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%. Aim to respond to questions and queries within an hour or two if possible. We can use a social media engagement platform such as Meltwater Engage to keep on top of our social media mentions and keep our responsiveness tip top!


We know it can be difficult to stay on top of brand mentions if you receive thousands a day, that’s why we introduced a way of ranking community members by their influence. Having the ability to assign posts to customer service team members will also create a smoother customer experience.

Online chat boxes can be a nice addition to our websites also, especially for the “needy”/ on-demand consumer. This means the customer can get an instant reply to their questions.

Content to help you keep up with the needy consumer:

Blog: How can we deal with on-demand customers on social media?

Use video

Marketing pros have spoken a lot about the need to utilise video – ideally, live video. Brand organic reach is decreasing because platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are increasingly filtering out content on our newsfeed in order to favour posts from friends and family. With that being said, social media algorithms favour video over other content. Using video can, therefore, improve our brands reach.

Based on the fact that 52% of Generation Z’ers spend at least an hour a day on YouTube, video is a great way to reach them.

Avoid using links to video and instead embed the content within the post on the social media platform. Social media algorithms favour posts without links (as users stay on their platform, rather than go elsewhere).

Overall

  • Use influencer marketing
  • Ensure advertising and content is mobile friendly
  • Reply quickly to social media messages
  • Keep up to date with tech trends to keep things interesting
  • Use video
  • Don’t forget about Generation Z as they may be buying from you in the near future!
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