In an era of increased digital consumption, being a marketer means continuously updating your playbook to remain relevant with key audiences. One of the audiences that marketers are increasingly focused on heading into 2021 is Generation Z (those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s). Representing 40% of consumers and spending as much as $143 billion in 2020 alone, Gen Z are a valuable audience marketers can’t afford to ignore. As the first generation entirely born in the Internet-era, Gen Zers consume more digital content per capita than any other marketable generation. Such intense consumption means marketers must be smart in how they engage Gen Z using content.
Be quick to grab attention
Gen Zers know the internet gives them unlimited access to content. That incredible access means they don’t have to waste time with content that doesn’t capture their attention fast. How fast? Well, research shows Gen Zers possess an eight second attention span. To hook attention in under eight seconds, marketers must make use of personalization in their content. Studies show 38% of Gen Zers want to be served content that’s based on browsing history or public preferences. Therefore, to engage Gen Z using content, marketers should use first- and third-party data to create more personalized offerings.
Emphasize visual content
Gen Zers love visuals and video more than anything else. The average Gen Zer watches 68 videos a day and spends the majority of the time on the internet exploring visual-centric platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. To engage Gen Z using content, marketers should replace text-based content (blogs, whitepapers, etc.) with more visually-based content (bite-size videos, GIFs, etc.).
Be a part of something bigger
No generation likes altruistic initiatives like Gen Z. Members of this generation will go out of their way to support brands that take a positive, public stand on key issues like climate change, police brutality, women’s rights, etc. In fact, a recent study shows that 69% of Gen Zers expect brands to make their stances on social and political issues publicly known. As such, marketers trying to engage Gen Z using content should focus more of their campaigns and messaging on issues like sustainability, racial equality, voter suppression, etc.
Communicate with authenticity
Engaging with Gen Z is about more than acknowledging their interests and passions—it’s also about delivering an authentic message (e.g., 82% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to trust a brand if it uses images of real customers in its advertising). A great example of this can be seen with Aerie’s ongoing #AerieREAL initiative, which strives to promote body positivity and diversity to create a sense of inclusivity.
Experiment with new ideas to engage Gen Z using content
Gen Zers love interactivity and they love the unexpected. Therefore, marketers should experiment with new channels (e.g., TikTok), new messaging (e.g., Doritos recently eliminated its tagline and logo to better appeal to Gen Z), and unconventional modes of engagement.