Reaching Generation Z

With lower attention spans and higher media exposure, brands will need to cut through the clutter to draw Gen Z’s to their ads. (Generation Z, also known as “post-Millennials,” commonly refers to the cohort of individuals born after 1996.) Marketers might need to refresh their ads more frequently for this group than any other generation. To get their attention, marketers can also attach their ads to exclusive content preview clips for new movies or game highlights from major sporting events.

Align your brand with relevant events. Social campaigns activated around events allow marketers to gain visibility in front of millions of Gen Z’s following sports tournaments, video game releases and more. Of course, not all Gen Z’s are interested in the same events. Use social to test a variety of creatives, each aligned to a different genre or subcategory of events and monitor ad performance to identify the events your Gen Z target audience is interacting with.



A brand recently aimed a healthy-living campaign at Gen Z’s on Facebook and Instagram. The company, which has partnerships with major sports leagues and entertainment brands, set out to determine which content — ads attached to sports/entertainment versus the client’s standard branding — would drive engagement. The company found that ads aligned with events, especially sports events like March Madness and Major League Baseball, generated 34% higher engagement and 30% higher video view rates than ads featuring the company’s branding only.

Quantify the impact of your investment in events with proper measurement. Similarly, another company forged a partnership with the Video Music Awards and launched a real-time Twitter campaign targeted at Gen Z females. To measure how this initiative impacted brand equity, the brand’s marketing team set up a Nielsen Brand Effect study, which revealed that the Twitter activation drove a 13-point lift in recall, a 6-point lift in awareness and a 5-point lift in purchase intent.

Divide your Gen Z audience into different holdout segments to identify the right frequency and time frame after which your creatives start seeing diminishing returns. The nonprofit mentioned above saw that the rate at which Gen Z’s engaged with ads on Instagram peaked at 1.5 weeks.

Meet Gen Z’s where they are. Social platforms have a huge Gen Z user base and boast high penetration and daily usage trends among these audiences. For example, Instagram’s 500M+ user base, which skews younger, is a gold mine for marketers looking to reach millions of young people with a lower investment.

Invest heavily in social. A retailer that had maintained high awareness for decades among older generations decided recently to reach out to Millennials and Gen Z’s. Partnering with a series of celebrity influencers under the age of 25, the brand launched a mass awareness play on Facebook and Instagram. With a $200,000 investment across both platforms, the campaign reached 50 million unique people globally. In contrast, the television commercial slot most likely to reach young people — Sunday Night Football — requires a $600,000 investment, and provides just a fraction of this reach.

Port learnings into channels beyond social. Your relationship with Generation Z doesn’t start and end with one or two campaigns. Social advertising enables you to access a range of insights about this audience – insights that are pertinent outside of digital platforms. Your learnings on social — such as which creative, languages, geolocations yield the best results — can inform your strategy for other channels, including TV.

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