New Marketing Trends 2023: How to Attract Gen Z

What are the new marketing trends emerging for 2023? Young people are the first to adopt new trends, so winning them over will future-proof all your activity.
Fanbytes | New Marketing Trends

In 30 seconds:

  • Gen Z influences new marketing trends. Why are the younger generations so crucial in the changing world of commerce?
  • Marketers need to be at the top of their game if they want to target Gen Z. We’ve got the insights to keep you one step ahead.
  • What are the latest trends in digital marketing? We’ve listed the top 10 and why you should know about them.

What are the new marketing trends for 2023, and how can your brand keep up with them? 

It’s more crucial than ever to adapt brand marketing campaigns with fresh techniques, especially when targeting young people. To do that, you need to listen to the masses… literally. Gen Z is currently the largest generation on earth. They’re also the first to adopt new trends and embrace innovative ideas.

Gen Z is known as the “digital generation”, and marketers should not ignore their agility in adapting to technological changes. Where Gen Z goes, others follow – so it pays to play to their tastes. Gen Zers are also sceptical of traditional marketing techniques, so the more you can innovate, the better. 

How do you do that as a marketer? This article will help you get a lucrative slice of the latest action.

Gen Z fuels marketing change

With over $360 billion in disposable income and a significant influence on their parents’ purchases, Gen Z is immensely powerful. Marketers need to please this target audience, but playing catch-up isn’t good enough. To anticipate the next move, you need to understand them. 

Gen Z tastes have already prompted marketers to overhaul their strategies. The Oxford Dictionary only added the word “influencer” in 2019, but since then, Gen Z tastes have transformed influencer marketing with their ad-averse approach and desire for authentic content. It’s this generation that began to oust big-brand adverts, leading to the rise of micro-influencers and an explosion of different kinds of social media creators informing content marketing

Social media is Gen Z’s go-to source for shopping inspiration – but that’s growing too. Apps host checkout solutions, and it’s even where Gen Z shares content about their customer experience.

Gen Z has also shifted the focus from trending products to brand ethos. They care about company values and consistently research to make sure the brands they buy from fits in with their lifestyle and ideologies. Brand conversations have had to transform to adapt. 

The next big digital marketing trends will need to anticipate which new marketing initiatives will drive and develop Gen Z’s interest. The question is… what’s next?

1. Influencer marketing throughout the marketing funnel

Most marketing teams have already seen the power of influencer marketing in one way or another. 76% of Gen Z follow an influencer on social media already, and they’re key to most brands’ digital marketing efforts. At present, however, brand awareness campaigns are usually the focus of influencer-led marketing strategies. In fact, in 2022, this is still the number one priority for marketers. 

But if you feel the same way, you’re missing a trick.

Creators can offer so much more for brands. We anticipate that marketers will begin using influencer marketing throughout the whole marketing funnel. Young audiences trust creators more than their friends, so why set the limit at brand awareness campaigns? A unique opportunity exists to encourage deeper actions and interactions via specific, targeted, influencer-led strategies that marry the best of video marketing with high-performing conversational marketing

Here’s an example:

We worked with ACCA to get accountancy into the hearts and minds of Gen Z. We implemented full-funnel digital marketing strategy via different influencer campaigns based on where consumers were in the funnel. 

To gain brand awareness, we used high-quality influencers (many of whom were black, working class and female) and asked them to build a conversation around inclusivity and career goals. With over 2 million content views and a 26% increase in brand favourability, it’s clear this marketing tactic worked well. But we needed to dive deeper. 

To increase consideration, we tasked the best-performing influencers with creating an online survey through Instagram Stories to gain insights into Gen Z’s perceptions of finance and accounting. This resulted in 130k responses. 

These responses informed a virtual event, which was promoted by the best-performing influencers from the previous campaigns. Addressing the subjects raised earlier in the campaign, created a deeper connection and resulted in 23,000 shares, 5000+ sign-ups and the most well-attended virtual event ever hosted by The Guardian. 

To really ingrain brand loyalty and advocacy, we partnered with the best-performing influencers who had previously mentioned the top 4 accounting brands to create ongoing content with the ACCA. This triggered an ongoing week-on-week increase in sign-ups for the company

Powerful right? If you wish to hear our founder Tim Armoo speak more on this, you can watch the video here

If you want more tips on how to get your influencer strategy on point, take a look at our article, Why Influencer Marketing is Effective.

2. Short content for long watch times

Most marketers have heard that Gen Z has a short attention span (8 seconds, apparently). And yet, they are also known to spend hours on social media. Confusing, right? 

This is something we are often explaining to our brand partners: in this competitive, noisy world of social media, you do have to capture Gen Z’s attention fast. You have 8 seconds to capture Gen Z’s attention. But if you get it right, you can sustain their attention for a considerable period of time.

The ability of short-form videos to capture young audiences’ attention explains why they have become so popular. 39% of marketers report that short-form videos such as TikTok videos, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts generate the biggest ROI. But these are just the beginning of what is possible. 

61% of Gen Z would describe themselves as a “really big” or “super fan” of someone or something. This means they have the capacity to immerse themselves in a subject – and they’ll even make it part of their identity. 

We see this in the other forms of media Gen Z enjoys. For example, Twitch is a channel based on long-form live streams with an average length of 3-6 hours, and over 60% of users on the social media platform are Gen Z. This tells us that Zoomers can sit through hours of content when they want to; you’ve just got to get them hooked.

As digital marketing over social video matures, brands will utilise short-form video content to bring young audiences into their communities, but those that look at the bigger picture will skyrocket their success.. Encouraging audiences to stick around – and become valuable customers – takes a longer-form approach to storytelling.

What does the overall presence of your brand on social media look like to customers? Whether through fostering online communities, developing longer form content, or creating video series, grabbing Gen Z’s attention and leading them into areas that will give your business better, tangible value will be the aim of the game.  

3. Community marketing will become crucial

So you’re using short-form content to draw Zoomers in, but what are you drawing them into? 

A key answer will be communities. Gen Z cares about connection. More than two-thirds feel more confident online when using community-focused social apps, so we know Gen Z are excited by active, engaged online groups

But why should your brand create a thriving community? 

On top of building trust, communities foster peer-to-peer engagement and organic user-generated content (UGC). UGC is powerful. Ads based on UGC content get 4x higher click-through rates, and UGC is overwhelmingly trusted by Gen Z when informing their purchase decisions. 

Building an engaging community online encourages this rich information and connection amongst customers, fostering natural growth. Forget chatbots and artificial intelligence: engaged community members can help inform their peers in a relatable way, without your brand doing all the heavy lifting. 

Fostering an engaged community means marketers can also focus less on brand awareness and instead build deeper relationships with existing audiences. Your marketing efforts can go towards nurturing these engaged users to push them through the marketing funnel. 

This new marketing trend will see brands use communities through new social media strategies. Discord is one platform that brands can use for this purpose. With over 150 million monthly active users, it accommodates all interests and groups. You can read more about how to create a flourishing community on it through our article on Discord marketing.

TikTok is also a community favourite. The comments section is booming here, with 79% of users mentioning they always take the time to read the comments on videos that interest them. This is where brands have the opportunity to get in on the conversation. 

For example, we worked with GANNI, creating an influencer marketing campaign that blew up the TikTok comments section. This resulted in an engagement rate of 7% (almost double the industry standard). The comments section was full of mentions and mini conversations. These kinds of responses allow brands to fuel more content and build deeper connections.

Take a look at our article on How Fashion Brands Can Grow Engaged Communities on TikTok to find out more about the power of community engagement for fashion brands.

4. Brands will mix permanent with ephemeral content

Since Snapchat created 24h stories, ephemeral content has been steadily on the rise. Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram created their own versions, and now the new app BeReal has reinvented ephemeral content as we know it. TikTok has jumped on the trend, too, with TikTok stories and is brimming with momentary videos. 

So what makes this kind of content so crucial? It’s partly down to the FOMO (fear of missing out). 56% of social media users experience this phenomenon. Ephemeral content provides instant gratification and a sense of the here and now. Gen Z wants brands to be “fun” and “authentic”, and this allows brands to create a tone of exclusivity and relatability through behind-the-scenes footage or quick glances into what’s happening now. 

But ephemeral content is not as powerful on its own. Permanent content is also essential for your brand’s success on social media. Creating posts that will stand the test of time will allow you to have a constant flow of content and will also mean you can establish your brand’s social voice. On TikTok, older videos can sometimes blow up, so ensuring a steady stream of entertaining social media posts will ensure that’s possible. 

We predict that brands will use a developing combination of temporary and permanent content on their social media channels to engage their audiences and build their brand voice and contextual tone. Lasting posts actually have more reach than stories, but temporary content can engage your current following, build trust and loyalty and keep them engaged. If you use both, it’s a win-win. 

Creating a dynamic community with a range of consistent content on your page will attract more trusted followers, nurture leads and significantly boost your ROI on campaigns. 

5. Companies will embrace radical social responsibility

Gen Z are activists. 69% of them believe that brands should make their stance on social and political issues known publicly, and they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand if their ad mentions mental health advocacy, sustainability and racial equality. 

Although brands have already talked about their values and causes, this new marketing trend will focus on how they tackle them. We expect the narrative on brands to shift with a complete outlook on what it means to be responsible. It will no longer be okay for companies just to “talk the talk”. They will have to “walk the walk” too. 

Since the pandemic, more brands have shifted to outwardly advocating for causes they believe in, but often this was through social media shout-outs and messages of support. For brands to connect with their consumers, they will need to look at implementing a broader, integrated marketing strategy with causes  at the core. 

Honesty is key. Making sure you are authentic and truthful about your brand’s beliefs and actions will work for Gen Z. Zoomers do their research, and they see through brand’s hot air. However, 71% will forgive and even recommend brands who own up to mistakes. So being up-front about your past, and identifying how you’ll improve is a great way forward. 

@joannstores Thank you all for your concern & support of @Palouse Dress Company ♬ original sound - JOANN

The brand JOANN shows how to turn difficult situations around with a sincere, direct message to its consumers. 

Honesty really is the best policy.

As the cost of living crisis develops, we expect to see more companies taking a radical approach towards supporting their customers and ensuring their messaging is consistent across marketing and internal policies.

6. More in-person events

Gen Z are digital natives. So they should love all things digital, right? Not necessarily. A common misconception about the younger generation is that they only want digital offerings and touchpoints. In fact, Gen Z craves face-to-face interactions. They spent recent years in lockdown, unable to socialise. Now, they are leading the way for in-person events

A staggering number of new Gen Z fans bought tickets to Euro 2022 (more than 200,000 of them). Managing Partner Gretta Kissell at JUV (Gen Z consulting agency) and a Zoomer herself, told PCMA:

We’re a generation that just also really values experiences. And even though we might capture that differently and we might incorporate a lot more digital elements into that, we still like to be in-person. We miss seeing and talking with people and getting that kind of face-to-face interaction.”

Her mention of incorporating digital elements is crucial to note. Brands will need to keep in mind that Gen Z will want to mix digital with IRL experiences. They will be turning up to events with phones in hand. Successful campaigns will combine online, social media-driven campaigns with in-person events. 

We worked with fashion brand Ellesse to create a shoppable concert backed by high-engagement influencer marketing campaigns. We achieved a total of 1.8M+ influencer views, overdelivering our guaranteed influencer views (800K) by more than double. The campaign received 31K+ likes across all videos. Additionally, the hashtag challenge secured 4.2 billion views. 

The concept? Influencers helped identify an opportunity for a UGC competition winner to have their TikTok video featured on stage in a real-life concert.

The allure of real-life awards is clear, but it can also buy your brand huge traction online. Brands can utilise social media to grow through branded filters, influencer videos, and live streams. This is the future of events—a hybrid strategy of online and real-life features that blend cohesively. 

7. Mobile optimisation will be even more important

Mobiles are king in this online world. Mobile minutes account for 79% of online time, so smartphone optimisation is crucial. 97% of Gen Z consumers use social media as their primary source of shopping inspiration, but they’re not necessarily completing orders on these channels. Our research shows that Zoomers still go to mobile websites to shop after seeing inspirational content on socials. 

We anticipate brands will continue to improve their mobile optimisation next year and beyond. That means brands must fully optimise websites for smartphones with the latest, easy-to-use shopping baskets and check-out experiences. 

New ad formats on social media will also be utilised more with in-app purchase options and integrated shopping features. Using these alone, however, may not be enough. Successful strategies will mix ads, optimised websites and influencer marketing campaigns to create a multifaceted approach that allows for segmentation and deeper connection.

We did this when working with the refurbished tech company Back Market, who created a fast-loading, mobile-optimised web page that worked alongside the influencer marketing campaign on TikTok. It featured  infographics, facts and shareable elements. This meant users were intrigued by the influencer content, and could easily learn more facts on the mobile website – helping Back Market to establish trust and drive consideration amongst this audience.

The combination of authentic, entertaining content and a fully optimised web page is a perfect match. It ensures you get the best of both worlds: catchy content to secure targeted attention, and informative experiences to gain trust and drive conversions

8. SEO for social media and beyond

Marketers already understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). But it’s now making waves in the social media world, which is what the most future-forward brands will be looking towards. 

40% of Gen Z prefer TikTok over Google for searches. This is big news. It means young people are flocking to social media to search for content that answers their queries. Why? TikTok has authentic, emotionally-driven content and advice from peers that contrasts with the empirical information you see on Google. 

Brands don’t just need to optimise their website; they need to optimise their social profiles too. 

We expect to see a change in how brands handle SEO on social media channels – and TikTok in particular. TikTok has intuitive search suggestions for users to tap when scrolling. This is the future of SEO and brands need to know what keywords they should hit, so that their products can be found by the right potential customers

Social media marketers will have to get better acquainted with SEO strategies. You’ll need to conduct keyword research on TikTok, and become familiar with TikTok’s search engine capabilities and recommendations. 

But you won’t be thinking exactly like an SEO strategist: you’ll be a hybrid SEO-and-social marketer: you’ll need to ingrain keyword and content strategies with a TikTok creative mindset. 

Why? Because TikTok users go onto the app to find content they enjoy – and the algorithm still rewards the most engaging TikTok content. Brands will need to incorporate influencer-led campaigns, authentic posts, and entertaining content, but doing so will skyrocket their rankings, views and sales conversions. 

If you want to know how to handle TikTok SEO, read through our article: TikTok SEO: How to Get Discovered on TikTok.

It’s not just TikTok innovating SEO, though: Google is now having to compete with TikTok, which means many more changes are in store for users (and marketers) on the platform. Voice search, advanced image search – informed by improved machine learning – and new, localised results are already taking place at Google, improving the user experience and transforming the opportunities for business owners of small businesses, startups and global brands alike.

For SEO marketers, the top digital marketing trends emerging now are helping to feed each other and spur even more creativity: the future is exciting and packed with innovation.

9. More consumers will hear branded audio content

To get audiences to listen up, trending sounds will become more prominent. Sounds can be powerful on social media, creating a sort of “brain feel” that makes them memorable and fun. We talk about the exact meaning in our article on TikTok sound memes

88% of TikTok users said sound is essential to the TikTok experience. Audio is becoming more crucial for online experiences, and brands must adapt their strategy to get in on the action. How?

Brands will begin to create their own sounds, promoting UGC and supercharging organic content. Taco Bell recently did this using their “bell” sound and asked their followers to develop fresh videos using the audio.

Sounds on TikTok, especially, give brands the chance to go viral. This audio virality can convert to real-life experiences. Just take the Binley Mega Chippy internet sensation. An unassuming TikTok channel created the song, but it catapulted the humble chip shop into the spotlight. Hundreds of people subsequently flocked to sample food from the Binley Mega Chippy, and many have created their own content to show it off. 

This branded sound triggered a snowball effect for the company, boosting customers more than they could ever imagine. Their sales went up almost 40%

Brands will be looking to get in on this kind of organic traction through trending sounds. Branded audio is a great way to ensure ownership of trends, and creating a satisfying audio will trigger UGC – making it a key component in high-performing marketing strategies going forward. 

If you want to know how to employ trending sounds in your content, take a look at our article: TikTok Trending Sounds: How Brands Can Get Involved.

10. More consumers will step into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)

VR and AR have grown exponentially in the last year, and this is only going to continue. Both market sizes are set to increase by $162.71 billion, progressing a CAGR of 46 % from 2020 to 2025. Soon we will see more brands hopping onto this marketing trend and using both to enhance their digital marketing strategy

Young people are 71% more likely to use AR frequently, and we expect these numbers to grow with the adoption of 5G. The most exciting aspect? 92% of Gen Z consumers want to use AR for e-commerce

AR is shifting away from badly-done masks and dramatic make-up filters. The next gen is looking for real-time, deeper connections with brands and other users. Creating experiences that elevate their interactions is the ticket. An overwhelming 80% of viral AR effects on TikTok are focused on people, while only 20% are focused on objects, showing just how critical face-to-face interactions are on the app

Companies will have the opportunity to use AR and VR with influencer campaigns too. But despite current focus on virtual influencers, we predict that it will be real-life creators that young people will follow in online worlds (even if they are using an avatar!).

With the introduction of the TikTok Effect House and other social media filter tools, creators have much more freedom to… well… create. Brands who collaborate with them will access new creative potential and see better ROI on their social media investments. 

The Metaverse was a key buzzword among brands a few months ago, but it’s a common misconception that the Metaverse will come along fast and hit brands over the head. Here’s an insider’s secret: it’s actually already here. The metaverse is a smooth transition as we adopt new ways of connecting. VR and AR experiences will become increasingly integrated into our online worlds, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the metaverse slowly.

Fanbytes by Brainlabs’ Head of Creative Strategy, Tom Sweeney says, “There’s so much confusion about what the Metaverse really is. It’s no single game, app, or framework – instead, we need to think of it as the intersection of the physical world we know and the virtual one.”

Fanbytes by Brainlabs’ SEO & Content Manager, Jem Leslie agrees. “We’re only at the beginning of marketing in the virtual realm. As more kinds of virtual products and activities emerge, we’ll be able to see more opportunities for marketing with them.”

Brands looking to succeed will create varied campaigns both in and out of metaverses and look to implement these technologies within a more comprehensive marketing strategy.

The most fundamental marketing requisite for the future? Spot-on strategy.

We’ve taken you through the top marketing trends of 2022 and all they encompass, and how these will develop into 2023 and beyond. Now it’s time to get your marketing strategy streamlined. Even more than millennials, Gen Zers can be formidable consumers, demanding exciting, dynamic content to get them listening. They’re a tough nut to crack. 

Marketing guesswork just won’t cut it, and testing the waters is no longer safe. You need to maximise your ROI and know for sure that strategies will hit the target every time

We happen to know where to aim. If you’re looking for a brand strategy that nails your message and converts “Gen Z scrolls” to “Gen Z sales”, get in touch. We have worked with some of the world’s leading brands and helped them bring on board a new generation. 

Curious? Check out our case studies to see our work in action. Need some more stellar insights on everything from email marketing to automation to influencer innovation? We’re the marketing agency that’s got you covered:

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