Who'd Have Guessed? Cinema And Outdoor Are Gen Z's Most Receptive Channels

The research is in, and the results are pretty conclusive. Gen Z -- or 16- to-19-year-olds, for the purposes of Kantar Millward Brown's study -- are leading the world in their love of the cinema. What's more, in the UK, they respond better than the global average of similar-age consumers to cinema ads with an acceptance level of nearly six in ten, compared to just over half.

Interestingly, Gen Z is loving cinema ads significantly more than the Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen X demographic that came before it. 

So before we all get too carried away with digital marketing, it's worthwhile noting that cinema is the preferred medium to reach those people who are junior first jobbers, apprentices and students. Strangely enough, they also respond slightly better to outdoor than the generations that came before, just to add another argument against anyone who automatically assumes that the younger a person is, the more likely they are to only be reachable over online or mobile digital marketing.

In fact, if you look at the global figures released today, Millennials are far more open to desktop and mobile display and search channels than the Gen Z consumers coming after them. The difference is not so noticeable in the UK, where attitudes between the two groups are largely the same, but as a global average, marketers will need to note that acceptance of the biggest digital channels is on the wane among younger consumers.

Where Gen Z is leading online is in accepting online and mobile video advertising and approval ratings increase significantly if rewards are offered and a skip option is available. Pre-rolls that are not skippable are more than halved in acceptance levels compared to those that do.

Other big hitters for the youngsters who are following on from Millennials are a far higher acceptance of branded social content in their feeds as well as native content. Celebrities are massively popular. In fact, social celebrity content is twice as popular among young Britons compared to Generation X.

So if your focus on Millennials has prompted a discussion around what the kids that are just entering university are going to want from digital marketing, the answer is pretty clear. Celebrity based and branded social is popular, as is video, so long as it is skippable. But whatever you do, don't forget the allure of the cinema or the outdoor screens when this young demographic are out and about socialising and shopping. 

Other tips from the researchers are that the members of Gen Z are more musically and aesthetically influenced than any other generation and they also respond best to ad campaigns in which they may be invited to participate or voice an opinion.

The elephant in the room is that this generation is the first where three in four will spend more than an hour a day on their mobile phone, compared to two in three Millennials. This means television, radio and print consumption are all slightly down compared to Millennials (Gen Y) and Gen Z.

The research pretty much backs up what you would imagine, then, in terms of mobile video, celebrities and social being hot. For me, though, the big take out is not to just assume digital is the only path to this young demographic because cinema and outdoor are far and away their most popular channel. It stands to reason when you think this is a generation that will be out dating and socialising, hanging around the shopping mall or catching the latest blockbuster they are now old enough to watch without parents tagging along.  

Mobile, video, social, native and celebrities are all in the ascendancy here, but so too is good old-fashioned posters and ads enjoyed while trying to save some popcorn for the feature film.

3 comments about "Who'd Have Guessed? Cinema And Outdoor Are Gen Z's Most Receptive Channels".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 11, 2017 at 7:51 a.m.

    Sean, when samples of respondents are asked simplistic and highly generalized guestions about their "acceptance" of or receptivity to ads in various media, the results have no bearing at all to how they respond to ads for specific brands in the "winning" or "losing" media. This holds for "Generation Z" and "X" and "Y" as well as "Millennials", "Boomers", "Silents" and any other generational definition that can be concocted. An advertiser would have to be balmy to base a media mix decision on research like this.

  2. Sean Hargrave from Sean Hargrave, January 11, 2017 at 9:02 a.m.

    Fabulous input Ed, thank you. I think you're right, in that this isn't a definitive guide and a lot would obviously depend on how apt the brand is and the quality of the content they are interrupting. Great brand and must-see content are obviously favourable than the reverse.
    However, the figures are useful to see the difference in the age groups towards what they prefer and, again, this can be taken with a slight pinch of salt.
    However, the stand out stat, for me, was Gen Z is out and about and actually more open and welcoming of cinema and outdoor than previous generations. So, it's always good to remember that any media plan doesn't have to be exclusively restricted to online and mobile. 

  3. David Bell from Flux Outdoor, January 15, 2017 at 5:26 p.m.

    Thanks for the write up Sean. I too read the AdReaction research recently and similarly found the findings about cinema surprising. The research (specifically the UK end) shows a nine point improvement on Gen Y for positive receptivity in both cinema and outdoor. No it's not too significant but it's an up-tick and i'd say backed by the latest growth figures in the sector. Ultimately if you have a person born into an 'always on' society and always with mobile in hand, the cinema environment represents one of the few captive environments that are engaging enough to draw their genuine attention for a sustained period of time. It's one of the few media experiences that's still an event. A genuinly memorable moment that can capture imagination whilst simultaneously moulding buying habits. 

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