5 Critical Warning Signs You’re Advertising To Gen Z Wrong

Marketer Mistakes Signs

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Are you advertising to Gen Z? You'll want to see this.

Like every generation, Gen Z comes with their own individual set of needs, desires, and characteristics. Unfortunately, it just so happens that Gen Z are the most ambiguous generation to date. You may think you understand them, but you probably don’t even know the half of it…

Making up over 25% of the world’s population, you need to become acquainted with the world’s youngest consumers if you have any chance of winning their hearts and making them into brand advocates. 

Time and time again, we see brands pulling out all the tricks in their books to win Gen Z’s approval but they can see straight through their disingenuous marketing tactics. 

Don’t make the same mistakes. 

Here are 5 critical warning signs that you’re advertising to Gen Z wrong…

1. You're lying to them

Gen Z are frequently referred to as the ‘iGen’ and ‘Digital Natives’. Having grown up in a world where iPads, virtual reality, and Snapchat lenses are the norm, they are bucket loads more digitally savvy than their predecessors and are more likely to see through a brands crafty marketing ploys. 

So, practice what you preach! 

There is nothing more appealing to Gen Z than a brand that is authentic, real, and that speaks the truth. Define your brand values and ensure that every campaign you run is representative of them. 


Their appetite for authenticity is also the reason why over 50% of Gen Z demand advertising from “real” people, alternatively to celebrities.

Hence, why influencer marketing is such a hit. 

Micro-influencers, in particular, are seen as a trusted party because they are positioned more as friends in comparison to celebrities. Consequently, Gen Z assume their purpose is not to persuade, but to provide an authentic review on a product or service.  

2. You're not leveraging re-targeting

As previously mentioned, Gen Z are digital natives and are accustomed to being bombarded with constant social media noise. Day to day, they consume thousands of ads, so the likelihood of Gen Z converting on a product or service after seeing one of your ads is extremely slim. 

Online retargeting, therefore, is pivotal to staying at the forefront of Gen Z’s minds. By use of banner ads, you can monitor the customers behaviour and use that same data to persuade them back to your site. This will be beneficial in not only driving brand awareness but also increasing conversions. 

Whilst technically, retargeting is the perfect strategy to advertise to Gen Z, let us not forget that they are also a generation who is most likely to skip over a traditional ad. We do know however that 74% of Gen Z watch more than 30 minutes of video content per day on their mobile phones and are less likely to skip if they are videos. 

So, if you are not creating captivating video content to retarget Gen Z with, then you need to start now. 

3. You don't stand for something

Gen Z grew up with an abundance of information at their fingertips. With the answers to the world at their disposal, they are more socially aware and connected to the world around them. This has, however, caused problems for brands who don’t stand for anything. 

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if your brand is failing to promote a passion for social, political or environmental issues, then Gen Z aren’t going to give you the time of day. 

53% of young people said that they have purchased a brand or product to show support for the issues the brand supported and 40% expressed that they have stopped buying from a brand if they were seen as being inconsistent with their own values.


Gen Z doesn’t just want social justice, they demand it!

To ensure that you are advertising to Gen Z RIGHT, speak up. Make it a priority to become a part of their conversation. Utilise your social media presence to position yourself as the voice of equality, diversity, social justice, and effortlessly increase your chances of being heard by them. 

At Fanbytes, we have run hundreds of Gen Z campaigns for the likes of BBC, Mcdonalds, Warner, to more unorthodox brands such as ACCA. With experience comes expertise, and we are confident that we know exactly what goes into an effective Gen Z marketing strategy. 

We recently ran a campaign with Decca records for their artist Aurora. To promote her newest release ‘The River’, we tapped into Gen Z’s appetite for social justice and created the #youcancrychallenge. In solidarity of mental health awareness, we decided to create a duet chain using our TikTok influencers showing their emotions and holding hands. Because the campaign was centred around a topic Gen Z really resonated with, we went viral after just a few days, achieving a total of 649.4k views and 93.4k hearts. 

4. You're selling the product, not the experience

73% of Gen Z rate experiences over products. So, if your strategy prioritises selling your product over giving them a memorable experience, your efforts are going to fall flat. If we have learned anything, we know that Gen Z aren’t easily persuaded by the sweet-talking and obvious sales ploys. 

Ultimately, they don’t trust you, they trust the experience. Focus on the lifestyle benefits your product or service can offer, and give them full reign to experience it themselves. 

Gen Z also want options. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, it was found that 88% of Gen Z prefer brand experiences to be executed by the blending of both digital and physical channels. 

Put simply, they want to shop in store on Saturday but scroll through the ASOS app on a Sunday. Let them in on that brand experience. 

Achieve this by taking an omni-channel marketing approach and making sure you’re optimising your digital channels. An example of this done well comes from a campaign we ran with Plato, a gaming app. Using our AR lenses platform, we created 2 different lenses to promote their name game ‘Werewolf’ and both campaigns went viral. We reached number 1 on the Snapchat creator charts, garnered 5.5m views, 350k scans of lens’, and 160k shares. 

5. You're not creating mobile-friendly campaigns

96% of Gen Z own a smartphone, spend an average of 4 hours a day scrolling, and make the majority of their purchases on their smartphones. Purely because of this, it is imperative that any campaign you execute is mobile-friendly. 

Here are a few things to consider when doing this: 

Optimise user experience.

Gen Z aren’t a patient bunch. They’re accustomed to our fast-moving world, and are used to quick access for most things. Make sure that your design is user-friendly by creating a simple but intuitive UI. 


Include graphics and gifs.

 A frequent mode of communication amongst Gen Z is emojis, gifs, and other graphics. They are not the type to take to large chunks of words, so think about ways you can create content using videos, graphics, and gifs. 

Make your content shareable and interactive.

Gen Z tend to communicate through social media apps and enjoy getting involved in things that can be shared amongst their friends and social media followings. 

Food for thought

With significant purchasing power, Gen Z should be the apple of your eye. They’re not only central to solidifying brand identity but also fundamental to driving a brands wealth. So, stop assuming that you know Gen Z. They are a complicated generation, and there’s a lot more to discover than meets the eye. So, get to know them properly and you’ll see how it can be mutually beneficial. 



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