Gen Z Digital Marketing: How Brands Can Unlock Valuable New Audiences

Effective Gen Z digital marketing looks very different to traditional methods of social marketing. To reach Gen Z, brands should implement these 4 tips.
Fanbytes | Gen Z Digital Marketing

In 30 seconds:

  • Digitally savvy, diverse and driving trends – Gen Z consumers are a valuable market for brands to target.
  • Unlike their millennial predecessors, Gen Zers have never been offline, so marketing to them requires a different approach to socials.
  • If brands want to effectively capture this thriving consumer base, they need to first understand who they are.

It wasn’t so very long ago that millennials were digital marketers’ fixation. Working out what they wanted, when, and how… and now it’s time to begin mystery solving all over again. 

This time, the subject is Generation Z; the younger age group born between ‘95 and 2010, who are now growing into their significant buying power

And it *is* significant. Gen Z wields a collective $140 billion in spending power

With the oldest Gen Zers turning 25 this year, it’s clear that reaching this young consumer base should be a priority of every brand who wants to secure its commercial future. 

But it’s not as easy as simply re-directing your established campaigns. Gen Z have different expectations for the brands they support. To secure this new generation, your marketing efforts need to meet – and surpass – those expectations, to stand out. 

And if the last two years have proven anything, it’s that you can’t afford to be anything less than ahead of the curve or else risk being left behind.

Why traditional marketing doesn’t work for Generation Z

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z have grown up online. A whopping 45% of these young people say that they are online constantly. In addition to making them digitally savvy, it also means your potential Gen Z customers are well-used to being marketed to online. 

In fact, 69% of these digital natives report physically avoiding ads, scrolling away or using ad-blocking technology at a rate far higher than older generations. 

They also distrust traditional advertising methods. This has led social networks like Facebook to specifically recommend that brands create bespoke edits. Instagram will automatically split Stories ads into 15-second videos to align with native content. 

But if you can’t attract Gen Z with traditional advertising methods, how can you reach them? There are a few things brands need to know.

100 Days to Engage Gen Z

Fanbytes recently hosted a day of insights, panel discussions, case studies and workshops all around how you can build brand love amongst Gen Z audiences on TikTok and social. 

If you missed it, don’t worry: we’ve put together the best takeaways brands can learn.

Fanbytes | Fanbytes Live Event 2022 Guide: Create

We’ve focused on the key ingredients – creative, trends, data, influencers, and how you can measure the impact of your marketing activities on Gen Z. Click the link to download the first of our free guides, or find out more.

Gen Z Digital Marketing: 4 things brands need to know

Firstly, to effectively target Gen Z you need to meet them where they are. Given that as many as 98% of all Generation Zers globally own a smartphone, social media is the place to find them. 

If you only target one platform, make it TikTok. It’s 60% Gen Z, and it’s their favourite platform. Not only that, it’s also where they’re most likely to interact with brands – and the place they feel most favourable towards branded content. 

When you’re establishing a Gen Z digital marketing strategy, including TikTok in your planning sets you up for the highest chance of success amongst your target audience.

The rise of TikTok says a lot about Gen Zers’ attitude towards digital marketing. When you understand the way they use social media, you can see that effective Gen Z digital marketing overwhelmingly comes from brands that factor these four elements into their marketing campaigns:

Fanbytes | Be Video First

1. Be video first

Gen Z has a short attention span. Shorter than you might think – it’s only 8 seconds

That doesn’t give brands long to impress them. That’s why Gen Z social media marketing needs to take into account this pressure to capture interest immediately. 

Video content is perfect for this – allowing brands to jump straight into something eye-grabbing. The proof is in the results: 91% of Gen Z prefer video to other marketing formats. 

This is something social media platforms are aware of. It’s why you’ll find “Reels” on Instagram, “Shorts” on YouTube, a “Watch” feed on Facebook… you get the idea. 

Of course, these are all heavily influenced by the success of the trailblazing video-first social platform: TikTok

Research found that Generation Zers are watching over an hour of video content every day. By centering your Gen Z digital marketing strategy on video content, you’re able to market campaigns that have the highest chance of keeping Gen Z’s interest.

Fanbytes | Be on Trend

2. Be on-trend

The internet moves fast, and Gen Zers online move even faster. Statista found that TikTok users watch 167 million hours of videos on the app in a sample minute.

If your content isn’t on-trend and relevant, it’s not going to stand out, make an impact – and get results. 

Embracing Gen Z marketing trends might mean keeping in the know about trending hashtags, audios, and challenges – or it could mean working with the people who set the trends themselves. 

If you want a cheat-sheet to the latest trends, our TikTok trends newsletter walks through the top trends of each week, plus how to use them. 

Fanbytes | The Power of Influencers

3. Recognise the power of influencers

One simple way to ensure that you’re speaking Gen Z’s language is to use Gen Z to do it. 

Gen Z users report being more likely to buy a product based on a recommendation from an influencer – perhaps because on platforms like TikTok, over half of users say that they trust others to be their natural selves. 

Influencer marketing means you can leverage the expertise of viral creators to most effectively target audiences relevant to your brand, and do so in a voice they’ll respond to. As we explain here, finding the right influencer can mean increased brand awareness, sentiment, and sales.

Of course, creating the perfect influencer campaign requires more than simply finding the right creator, but they can form a crucial part of an omnichannel approach that really establishes your brand voice amongst the Gen Z demographic

But where does TikTok and Influencer Marketing fit into the wider social media landscape? How do you make your strategy as effective as it can be across all socials? Find out more at our event on Wednesday 9th March.

Fanbytes | Be clear about your values

4. Be clear about your values

Gen Z marketing statistics show that this generation expects the brands that it supports to prove themselves much more than previous generations ever did. Ethical consumption is extremely important to them, so while Gen Z’s brand loyalty is getting stronger, they want to support brands that align with their values – and they’re savvy enough to find out those companies who are more bark than bite. 

The causes that matter to Gen Z are diverse. 55% of the Gen Z population chooses eco-friendly and socially responsible brands, while  77% of Gen Zers feel more positive towards brands that promote gender equality on social media

Plus, Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse age group in the US. 

This means that brands who openly support social causes, and follow that stance with action, are well-situated to appeal to Gen Zers. 70% percent of Gen Z respondents told a McKinsey survey that they try to purchase products from companies they consider to be ethical.

How to unlock Gen Z

Getting inside the heads of the Gen Z market is only the first step to a successful Gen Z digital marketing strategy, but it is arguably the most important. 

After all, with such strong collective stances on brands’ attitudes towards social issues, and a notable preference for video-first, non-traditional branded content, it’s clear that effective Gen Z marketing looks different to the usual advertising brands have become comfortable with. 

Maintaining an authentic brand voice is an important aspect of your digital marketing strategy, but by exploring successful Gen Z marketing examples and case studies, you’ll soon find that the best campaigns embrace the “terminally online” nature of this tech-savvy younger generation, engaging with the latest trends and popular platforms. 

By following the four tips listed above, your brand can unlock the valuable Gen Z market and establish a loyal following of these important younger consumers

After all, establishing your brand within Gen Z spaces is key to digital marketing and ecommerce success – for now, and for the future.

Want to know more? Sign up for our event on Wednesday 9th March to hear from experts about how you can create, scale, influence and measure your TikTok and social media campaigns to effectively capture Gen Z, or check out the links below:

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