Advertising to Generation Z: How brands can reach the new wave of consumers

With the arrival of Generation Z, brands will be smart to plan carefully how they advertise to this new group of consumers.

Sorry, millennials. It’s time to start paying attention to Generation Z.

As a wave of new consumers approach, brands have been slowly shifting their social media advertising focus to teenagers and it’s best to plan wisely when going after these tech-oriented consumers.

How is Gen Z defined?

For starters, it’s the most diverse generation. In terms of years, however, most define it as those born between 1995 and 2010, or ages 2-19.

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Gen Z are digital natives. Millennials were able to embrace technology easily from a young age but Gen Z can’t remember a time without internet. They can’t remember a time without mobile phones. Many can’t even remember a time without Facebook or Twitter.

It’s also worth noting that Gen Z’s purchasing power is predicted to be worth more than $44 billion in the U.S. alone. They also make up 26 percent of the U.S. population. They’re the up and coming generation that brands can’t ignore.

As Gen Z comes into the buying scene, here’s how to advertise to them effectively:

Keep it short and sweet

Gen Z was born with technology at their fingertips. They’ve been immersed in quick content all their lives, like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Gen Z absorbs information fast, so naturally, they can lose focus fast.

Advertising to Gen Z shouldn’t always be long-form. Keep your messaging short and your imagery simple. In video, show your brand in the first few seconds for higher brand recall. As Gen Z thumbs through their feeds, you want your advertisements to attract attention in seconds for more clicks, or else you’ll lose them.

Authenticity sells

Gen Z looks for real brands and real people. They want to make a connection with brands. This means everything from ads to customer service need to set real expectations and establish trust.

Avoid the use of models, and instead use real people. Why do you think Gen Zers are so attracted to influencers? They can easily relate.

Also make sure to have customer service across all facets of your organization (this includes social channels). An extra helping hand from a human shows them they’re appreciated, which increases loyalty and trust.

Offer value

Advertising to Gen Z shouldn’t be about selling. It should be about the value you can offer.

Make sure you’re showing how your product fits into their lives. Forty-seven percent of Gen Z say they appreciate relevant ads and 44 percent expect ads to be relevant. Gen Z is a much more diverse group, so make sure you’re targeting consumers that will be the most receptive to your ads.

Instagram is a great example of this. It’s an endless feed of people’s daily lives. Don’t choose an ad that doesn’t mix with Instagram’s content. Choose something that offers value to your audience and help them picture how your product fits in with their lifestyle.

Convenience is key

Convenience, quick and easy: three words that matter to Gen Z. That’s where social commerce comes into play. It’s yet to exist across all social platforms, but as augmented reality and in-app purchasing gains traction, this convenience factor will play a huge role.

Because Gen Z is still young and reliant on their parents’ credit cards, it might seem unnecessary to incorporate social commerce just yet. But as they grow up, brands will do well to implement it into their ad strategy. Social commerce has yet to fully take off, but that’s soon to change with Gen Z’s social media use and the ever-growing popularity of online shopping.

Think: multi-screen

Like millennials, Gen Zers are multitaskers. In fact, they’re probably much better at multitasking than their predecessors. It doesn’t have so much to do with attention span as it does with their eagerness to be everywhere at once, switching back and forth from work to play and back to work again.

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With that in mind, Gen Z is a multi-screen generation. Millennials are known to use three screens at one time. Gen Z uses five. They might be doing homework on a laptop, while watching television and taking notes on a tablet, all while Snapchatting a friend.

Be present across multiple platforms and devices to get the most views and clicks on your ads.

Focusing on Gen Z

Gen Z is a hyper-connected, tech-centered generation. They’re active on social media and constantly jumping from task to task. Capturing their attention will take twice as much critical thinking as it does for millennials.

Leveraging these advertising tips will help you achieve success with this coming-of-age generation.

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