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How to Market to Gen Z: Tips and Tricks from the Young Consumers Themselves

how to market to gen z

Gen Z has been making waves in the marketing world (and not only) for quite some time. Some good, some bad, but it all indicates there’s more to this generation than meets the eye.

Brands who want to nail advertising campaigns targeted at digitally native customers need to gain insight into their behavior. These brands can gain insights through various routes, such as hiring a Gen Z agency for specialized consulting on how to connect with a younger audience.

With this in mind, the ad design platform Creatopy sought to discover the best way to approach Gen Zers by running a survey that gathered over 1,100 responses from U.S. representatives of this generation.

Let’s uncover the most important findings.

Is Gen Z a Consumer Group Worth Pursuing?

Gen Z reunites people born between 1996 and 2012. They are often unjustly labeled as lazy by the media, and while there is an unemployment rate gap between them and previous generations, it is mainly due to many individuals losing their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, according to official data, roughly 7.3 million Gen Zers occupy full-time positions, and 6.3 million work part-time. This means they are a powerful group of consumers brands should not ignore. 

If you want them to become your customers, you must first get to know them and understand their needs.

How Does Gen Z Shop?

Gen Z’s spending power is quite high. But what is their shopping behavior? What drives them to “add to cart” and what are they more likely to spend money on?

1. Gen Zers have stable incomes

Most of the surveyed individuals (77.17%) confirmed they have regular wages. There are also those who earn flexible incomes as social media influencers. 

Being as resourceful as they are, we can safely assume the younger Gen Z representatives also earn money through side gigs like selling handmade items, reselling things, or dog walking.

2. They’re not big spenders or impulsive buyers

Gen Zers are quite calculated when it comes to spending their dollars. Although they indulge in online shopping, they don’t usually go over $100 per month. 48.79% of the survey’s respondents buy something when it’s a need, and 32.68% do it during sales to catch the best deals.

market to gen z percentages

It seems that seeing their parents struggle through the 2008 economic crisis taught Gen Zers financial responsibility from a young age. Most of them save or invest one-third of their earnings.

3. They favor socially responsible brands

Gen Z cares about social issues and tries to improve society, so they gravitate towards brands that share the same values.

socially responsible gen z

For instance, they are huge advocates of recycling and equality and don’t tolerate racial injustice. Whichever cause brands choose to stand behind, they must fully embrace it because Gen Z can tell apart genuine commitment from performative actions with no effort.

How Does Gen Z Use Social Media?

For Gen Z, staying connected to the online world is vital, which is clearly reflected in their behavior concerning social media.

1. Time spent on social media platforms

Social media is Gen Z’s primary means of communication. Tech-savvy consumers also use it to keep up with the news and discover more about brands or products. 

42.08% of the surveyed individuals scroll through their feeds between 1 to 3 hours, and 30.8% even get to 3-5 hours of social media usage daily. Only 10.65% of respondents keep it under one hour per day.

gen z time spent on social media

2. YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram: the go-to platforms

Many Gen Zers are content creators themselves, so YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are the social media platforms they use the most.

Surprisingly enough, Snapchat didn’t make it to the top three, even though it is the platform with the most monthly Gen Z active users. It seems the digital natives don’t spend as much time there. 

3. They value authentic content and real connections

Gen Zers relate the most to user-generated content because it’s more authentic and raw. Stuff like reviews, testimonials, or tutorials can sway their purchase decision one way or the other.

Micro or macro influencers will also have a greater impact than content coming straight from the brand. 70% of Gen Z follow at least one influencer, and 44% have made a purchase based on a recommendation from an influencer.

Do’s and Don’ts for Advertising and Marketing to Gen Z

Some of the survey’s questions covered Gen Z’s likes and dislikes regarding ads, and the answers were more than revealing. These are the main advertising takeaways brands should keep in mind:

  • DO keep ads brief

Gen Zers consume more online content than other generations and prefer shorter ads. 

You have around 8 to 10 seconds to grab their attention and convey your message. Otherwise, they’ll quickly move on to the next shiny piece of online content.

  • DON’T use clickbaity techniques

In fact, don’t even think about it because it will backfire. Even if you manage to trick Gen Zers into clicking your ads, your dishonesty will put them off.

Instead, build brand trust by being truthful and transparent; you have a higher chance of selling to them.

  • DO stay inclusive in your advertising

We’re not just talking about the most diverse generation of customers in American history, we’re also talking about individuals that fully embrace their identities.

To make them feel represented, make sure your ads portray diverse people in terms of race, ethnicity, orientation, or disabilities.

  • DON’T invade their online privacy

Gen Z is not as willing to give their information away as other generations. 75.38% of respondents think ads that use personal data are invasive. 

Still, if you’re keen on doing it, the least you can do is be transparent and give them the option to opt-in or opt-out of having their personal data collected.

  • DO mix online and traditional advertising

Online advertising methods are the obvious choice to reach the digitally native generation but don’t dismiss traditional forms of advertising like TV or print. 

It might come as a surprise, but Gen Z ranked them first as the most trustworthy ones.

  • DON’T get stuck on video ads

You might be tempted to think Gen Zers like video ads better. As it turns out, they don’t have a clear preference for video ads despite consuming a lot of video content. 

So don’t limit your advertising campaign to video ads; add some static ones to the mix as well. 

Curious to Find Out More about Gen Z’s Preferences?

Gen Z makes up close to half of the global consumers, and they have a pretty big purchase power. Plus, they are tech-savvy individuals that know their way around the world wide web and social media. So, it’s important to know how to market to Gen Z consumers.

Naturally, they have high expectations from ads and strong opinions on social issues that brands that want to advertise to them need to take into consideration when crafting messaging and choosing communication channels. 

Click here to download the survey-based whitepaper published by Creatopy and read all the key takeaways on how to market to Gen Z.

Ana Predescu is a Content Marketing Specialist who loves stories in any shape or form, whether written, video, or audio. She has experience writing content for e-commerce, fashion, education, and tech brands from Eastern Europe and the United States. Ana is now part of Creatopy’s content department, where she mainly writes blog articles and comprehensive guides on marketing and advertising topics. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing board games, and going to music concerts.

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