Commentary

Content That Works: Generation Z

Every new generation presents a different set of challenges for marketers. Today, we’re setting our sights on Generation Z, the largest and most diverse generation to date. Born between 1995 and 2015, the oldest Gen Zer is turning 23. Yet, studies suggest that, in two short years, they will account for 40% of all consumers, Fast Company finds. Key to a marketer’s success in the years to come will be understanding the behaviors and motivations of this demographic. 

Behaviors and Mindsets

Generation Zers are digital natives, mobile-first consumers and social media driven. To effectively reach this demographic and make your message memorable, keep in mind these key behaviors and tactics unique to the Z-nation. 

:06 is the new :30 

Three out of four Gen Zers spend most of their free time online. Don’t expect them to surf Facebook for hours on end like their Millennial predecessors. Generation Z’s time on platform is short while the frequency of their visits is high. They can check their accounts as often as 100 times per day, says Adweek. This means when they are on platform, your brand’s message has to be fast and clear. We’ve started to test six-second paid formats and the results are exciting. They’re outperforming traditional :30s placements in completion rate and perform equally in brand recall. When it comes to delivering your message effectively, :06 is the new :30.  

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Native and Original 

Generation Z is social media driven. Yet, according to Forbes, their social media habits have evolved from their oversharing predecessors. Instead, they are intentional about what they share, where they share it, and who they share it with. Speaking Generation Z’s language requires native and original content tailor-made to the channel. Native and original content looks like existing content on the channel, it’s not repurposed content. Ensuring that your brand’s content fits seamlessly into the feed will increase the likelihood that Gen Z engages with, shares, and trusts your brand’s message.    

Influencer Marketing Z.0

The traditional coming-of-age milestones navigated by previous generations (going to college, going on a first date, or getting a first paycheck) aren’t as important to Generation Z. Their generation wants to play an active role in how business, culture, and tech impact and shape their lives. They’re looking to their peers as role models and want to see content made for Gen Z by Gen Z. Influencer Marketing Z.0 asks brands to involve Gen Z in helping them craft their brand’s message and doing the work of producing the content that they share on social. 

Go Vertical 

Unlike any other generation before them, Generation Z consumes their content mainly on their mobile devices. Of the five screens that they view throughout their day, they spend 78% of their time on their mobile phone. Reaching this demographic means that your content needs to be created for mobile-first consumption, which means your content needs to go vertical. Square and horizontal content resized and repurposed for placements in Stories or other vertical formats won’t stop a Gen Z’s thumb from scrolling. Some brands are going as far as creating content first for mobile and optimizing for desktop. Whatever your strategy, vertical video has to be a part of it. 

Creating for Z Nation will certainly pose a challenge for brands. There are agencies out there that can help you adapt your strategies to reach this demographic with content that works.

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