As each generation reaches adulthood, they gain purchasing power and influence over the consumer market. As a result, businesses need to adjust their marketing tactics to target each subsequent generation. Gen Z consists of people born between 1997-2012 and this generation is already making a big impact in terms of buying choices.
It’s not uncommon for older generations to poke a sly finger at Gen Z’s consumer spending behaviors and “film anywhere and everything” mentality. But the truth is that Gen Z isn’t just partaking in the digital and consumer industry, they’re dictating it.
Gen Z currently makes up a whopping 40% of the consumer industry. By 2026, it’s estimated that Gen Z will exceed the number of millennials and become the biggest US consumer base. With such a large digital hand in the consumer industry, learning to appeal to their likes and interests is not only recommended but crucial to seeing marketing growth.
If you’re looking to grab the attention of Gen Z, here are a few things to consider when crafting your content marketing strategy:
Have a presence on the right social media platforms
When it comes to marketing, knowing where to target your content is step number one. To reach Gen Z through your marketing, you need to establish a presence on the right social media platforms. Not all social platforms are created equal and some are becoming more popular than others.
In 2021, 57% of 12 – 34-year-olds in the United States regularly used Facebook. While this statistic may sound mildly impressive, the percentage of usage has actually fallen 7% from the year prior. Instagram remains steady with 70% of individuals ages 12 – 34 using Instagram (an increase of 2% since 2020). But the biggest growth in social media platform usage was found in TikTok. Although only 44% of the 12 – 34 age group utilized TikTok in 2021, the app saw an abounding 25% growth in usage since the previous year—and its popularity continues to rise, making it one of the best platforms to market to Gen Z.
Utilize the power of video
If there is one major tip to learn when marketing content to Gen Z, it is to utilize the power of video. In particular, TikTok and Instagram Reels. TikTok, a short-form video app, and Instagram Reels, a video creation tool on Instagram, receive more user engagement by the day.
TikTok celebrates its short-form video concept by featuring real user videos in this commercial. The montage highlights celebrities like American DJ Steve Aoki, makeup artist transformations, dance videos, and heartwarming family videos.
Short-form videos are here to stay and the sooner you can utilize their power, the stronger your marketing strategy will become. As you develop your content marketing to engage Gen Z, it is best to think in terms of visuals and brainstorm which topics can be easily turned into captivating short-form videos.
Grab their attention from the beginning
Society as a whole has seen vast development when it comes to the consumer industry. Products can be ordered with same-day delivery and food can be ordered and delivered to your doorstep often within an hour or less. The idea of ‘instant’ and ‘fast’ is synonymous with standard business operations and the same can be said for content marketing. Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds. This is why marketing to Gen Z should utilize content that grabs the audience’s attention from the beginning and should be short and succinct in duration.
Think outside the box
We get that this is a rather obvious tip when it comes to content marketing. But thinking outside the box could not be more poignant than when it comes to marketing to Gen Z. In fact, 51% of Gen Z believes that they are more creative than previous generations. And with the rise of Gen Z influencers, budding business owners, and content creators on every social platform, Gen Z has the evidence to back up their claims. This is why content marketing must now go above and beyond in creativity. Slapping a basic infographic or cliche advertisement together simply won’t cut it. Gen Z demands marketing attempts to be as creative or more than what they could come up with themselves.
Take advantage of influencer marketing
When it comes to buying products, Gen Z invests ample time in researching reviews to aid in their decision-making. 47% of Gen Zers will research product review videos on YouTube before making a purchase. On top of that, 11% of the Gen Z population uses influencers as a trusted source for product recommendations. With all this in mind, taking advantage of influencer marketing in your marketing strategy should definitely be explored as an option.
Consider sending products and/or compensation in exchange for an influencer’s review of your products. If an influencer agrees to work with you, you will be able to get in front of a new audience that already likes and engages with the influencer’s content. In tandem, they’ll be more inclined to buy, or at minimum, learn about the products or services you have to offer since they came highly recommended by their favorite influencer.
Another clever way to apply influencer marketing is to collaborate with an influencer that will pass the digital baton to your own channel. Nava Rose, notoriously known for being a celebrated fashion influencer on TikTok, did just that in a collaboration with Target.
In this video, Nava Rose tells her viewers she’s expecting a giant PR package. We see a delivery truck drop off two items: a large cherry-red trunk that says “Target Drop” and a smaller box. Nava Rose opens the smaller box and finds a scratcher card. The card reveals a secret password to open the lock on the chest. After successfully unlocking the chest, Nava Rose asks the audience if they’re ready to see what’s inside. Just when the audience believes they’ll see the unveiling, Nava Rose yells, “Just kidding!” and directs the audience to Target’s channel to see what’s inside.
With so much time already devoted to watching Nava Rose receive and figure out how to open the special delivery, curious viewers are significantly more inclined to head over to Target’s channel to see what fabulous finds are stored inside the trunk. In doing so, Target not only receives an influx of exposure and engagement from Nava Rose’s audience on their own channel, but they also increase lead generation. As more viewers head to their channel and watch their content, Target boosts the chances of these new viewers heading over to the Target website to further explore or purchase an item that was featured in a video or other related products.
Stand for something
For Gen Z, social media isn’t just a platform to post outfit transition videos and aesthetic selfies. Although Gen Z is highly involved in the digital world, their interests also lie in the physical world, or more importantly, speaking up for their values to elicit change in the world around them.
Take Greta Thunburg for example. The now 19-year-old Thunburg is an environmental and climate activist and was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019 when she was only 16 years old. Although young in age, her impact and voice within the community reverberated across international borders. She urges people of power to stand for their values and make a significant change because “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow because there is a tomorrow,” said Thunburg.
While Gen Z may not need a global movement for every product or business that markets to them, they do want to see corporate social justice. This goes beyond corporate social responsibility. Gen Z wants to see businesses that are truly making a change in their community and within their own companies. In fact, 70% of Gen Z prefers to support a brand that they consider ethical. The Gen Z population is not afraid to voice their thoughts, especially in the face of government and leaders. They believe in making a difference and choose to support brands that stand for values that align with their own and have the courage to speak out against acts of injustice.
Make your marketing interactive
Social media gives businesses and marketers so many ways to engage the audience. An important Gen Z marketing strategy is to make your marketing interactive. If you’re on Instagram, try utilizing Polls or Questions in your Instagram Stories. Rolling out a new design and can’t decide on the color scheme? Display both color palettes on your Instagram Stories and use a Poll to ask your followers to decide between your top two color schemes. Not only is this a great way to directly see what your audience prefers, but using interactive methods increases your user engagement and allows your followers to feel like they are a part of your brand. The more included and attached they feel to a brand, the more willing they are to support it.
Using Questions in Instagram Stories is also a great way to market to Gen Z. Rolling out a new summer product line dedicated to vitamin C? Use the Questions tool on your Instagram Stories. Ask your audience to submit questions and answer them during an Instagram Live Q&A. Your Q&A will be more focused and users who submitted a question will make a bigger effort to watch the live stream.
Sephora is a great example of this. They hold regular Beauty Chat Room live streams where users can tune in and chat in questions and engage with the host and special guests, which have included founders, staff members, and celebrity guests like Lady Gaga.
Utilize user-generated content
Gen Z is constantly creating and posting on its digital platforms. With so many users out there creating engaging content, why not utilize their talents and feature user-generated content in your own content marketing?
A great example of this is Airbnb’s global campaign, Made Possible By Hosts. Airbnb’s campaign highlighted real-life photos so the audience can picture themselves on vacation. Airbnb reached out to a select few photographers and asked them to book an Airbnb listing while photographing their experience. These photos were the heart of the campaign. The resulting videos acted as a cozy picture slideshow from your family vacation instead of a marketing video.
In this particular marketing video, a family visits an Airbnb in Italy and photographs many of the new foods their baby got to admire and try. From gelato to pasta to fresh fruit, the audience gets to see lived-in, candid moments while simultaneously making viewers feel nostalgic and want to create new memories for themselves.
Start marketing to Gen Z
As with all marketing efforts, to successfully target and market Gen Z, you must research the demographic, their behaviors, and active interests. As a highly creative generation of individuals, Gen Z demands innovation and imagination. They value transparency and are more inclined to support brands that have a voice and align with their own morals and values.
Marketing is a creative field as much as it is an analytical obstacle course. If you find that you need some content marketing inspiration or if you want to hire talented freelancers to assist with your content marketing endeavors, ClearVoice is here to help.