Which channels are best for engaging with Gen Z? Stats, tips, and research

1st February 2021

Generation Z encompasses anyone born between 1996-2012, a group that is of increasing interest to brands. They represent 35% of the world population, and require more sophisticated marketing than previous generations.

In many ways gen Z will dictate marketing trends for years to come. They’re responsible for vast amounts of the culture that will be formed – both online and offline – they’re vocal about what they want, and their demands have a real-world impact on how brands market themselves.

How to market to Gen Z:

A safe and simple advertising campaign won’t be enough to get their attention, and we’ve seen big brands fail to strike a chord with this new generation.

More and more brands are trying to be seen and liked by members of gen Z. With gen Z spending more time online than any previous generation, it should be easy for brands to get engagement, yet with marketing campaigns spending millions entirely to cater to gen Z, why are brands going to so much trouble?

Is marketing to gen Z worth it? We think so.

We’ve compiled some of most important stats for any brand looking to market to gen Z, and included some tips on how best to engage them on social.

Why brands are trying to engage gen Z:

Gen Z has bigger spending power than you might think

Worldwide, gen Z has an estimated $143bn spending power.

When the global economy begins to rebound post-pandemic, gen Z will be at the forefront of many marketers’ minds.

They engage with branded content

Gen Z live on social, and follow the brands that they care about. While branded or sponsored content might have been strange to older users when it first arrived on our social channels, it’s a part of everyday life for gen Z.

They aren’t shy about engaging with branded content, sharing it, and even talking to brands directly. This can really help brands be seen, and grow their social following.

They’re loyal to brands that deliver consistently

Brands that put quality first are more likely to find success with gen Z. Consistent style, tone, and overall approach in the content they put out will be received better than a scattergun approach.

Facebook found that 60% of gen Z surveyed wish they could communicate with more businesses via direct messaging. Brands that go the extra mile to create a personalised relationship where their gen Z audience feel like what they want matters will reap the rewards of a loyal customer base.

How brands can engage gen Z through content and social:

Campaign Monitor found that gen Z’s favourite way of interacting with brands was through social media. 85% are on Youtube, 72% are on Instagram, and 69% are on Snapchat. If you want to market to this audience, you need to be too.

A third of gen Z questioned in the survey reported buying something after seeing it on social media once in the past month, so it’s clear that it has a real impact beyond just engagement: gen Z are making purchase decisions based on what they see on social.

But how do you make sure your social content stands out?

Use quick videos

Gen Z watch twice as many videos on mobile than any other age group. Video is the most engaged with form of content for a reason: it gets the messages across quickly.

Generation Z has an attention span of around 8 seconds on average, so your video can’t afford any long introductions. Hook the audience first, and then follow with something of substance.

Show your brand values up front

As with millennials, gen Z want brands to be making the world a better place. 90% of gen z expect brands to help with environmental and societal issues, so if you’re not making a positive impact, you should start thinking about how you brand can start making a difference. Your social media channels should show what your brand is doing, not just what you’re talking about.

Over 70% of gen Z say they want ads to have more diversity. But this goes beyond advertising: if your business is made up of one demographic, with only one point of view, gen Z will leave you in the past.

Have a unique tone of voice

Later, an Instagram marketing platform, found that the more unique a brand is, the better it performs with gen Z. All brands claim to have a tone of voice, but most play it safe with their comms, their style, and their social media presence. For certain demographics, this is boring. Gen Z want to see something exciting, something different, something that has impact.

Old school marketers are often afraid of taking bold creative leaps, as it may not play well with a wide audience. But time and time again, gen Z rewards creative campaigns with attention, shares, and purchases.

Brand collaborations that would never have made it through a brainstorm ten years ago are now some of the most successful and memorable campaigns of recent years, such as the KFC X Crocs. Did some people think those shoes were ugly? Yes. Were they right? Absolutely. But those ugly crocs sold out.

The reason these shoes did so well was because they were weird, because they were different, something no one ever thought a major brand would come out with. That’s why they were a hit with gen Z.

Which channels should you use to engage with gen Z?

Tik Tok

We’ve talked about Youtube and Instagram, but the fastest climbing social channel for gen Z is Tik Tok. Up until recently around 70% of the app’s user base was made up of gen Z.

Tik Tok’s exploded in popularity during lockdown. It has now been downloaded over 2.6 billion times. In Q1 of 2020, the app was downloaded 315 million times, the best quarter for any app of all time.

In fact, around 21% of gen Z feel they’re spending too much time on Tik Tok. Keeping up with the latest jokes and trends can feel like a full-time job, and brands would be well to pay attention to the wider eco-system in the app.

Out of Home

While many marketers might focus solely on social activity to attract gen Z, out of home advertising can help support any campaign, especially one focused on social purpose. Big bold adverts in famous locations can make an impact and ensure your brand’s values are known by your target audience.

Digital advertising

It goes without saying that anyone trying to reach gen Z should invest in digital advertising. Whether they’re on Google, Facebook, or Youtube, ads can provide a big return for relatively little investment.

Tailoring your ads to cater to and target gen Z will help ensure you’re getting in front of the right people. Luckily it’s easier than ever to customise your ads and who they appear for.

But it’s important to make sure your ads are to the taste of your target audience. 63% of gen Z prefer real people to celebrities when it comes to advertisements.

If your marketing lands with gen Z it can make a big difference to how your brand performs online.

Read more of our marketing tips and predictions here.