Marketing Generation Z

Step aside Millennials, Generation Z is on the rise. Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet; they are expected to comprise 32 percent of the global population in 2019, outnumbering millennials, who will account for 31.5 percent. 


Who Is Generation Z?

Generation Z includes everyone born between 1996 and 2010. The eldest are barely into their twenties, so they’re still figuring out how they fit in socially and economically. What we do know about Gen Z is that they act out of many internal motivations. They are often self-aware, self-reliant, innovative, and goal-oriented.

Nevertheless, they are an extremely cautious group of people. They are generally pragmatic, practical, and risk-averse. Overall, this new generation is made up of young people who want to make a difference in the world.  


The Generation Z Debate

Still, there’s debate over the specifics of Generation Z psychographics. This group includes people so young that researchers haven’t had the time to solidify the generation’s place in the world. Some analysts believe that the generation represents negative personality traits. They believe the generation is unfocused, has short attention spans, is addicted to social media; The list goes on and on. Others believe that they are good multi-taskers, early starters, and entrepreneurial.

Altitude’s Jeremy Finch has an interesting take on Generation Z. In his Co.Exist article, Finch discusses how Generation Z gets a bad rap and tries to refute some of the negative generalizations about the people included in that group.

Generation Z uses what Finch calls an “eight-second filter.” Instead of the misconception that people in this group have short attention spans, he proposes that they spend eight seconds evaluating whether or not the information is important. Gen Z does this to preserve what valuable time they have. They strive to be as productive as possible and this filter helps them do so.

Finch goes on to describe Generation Z’s online and social media usage as a means of “brand management.” This group is using social media to create the image of themselves they want to reflect to the world. Lastly, he describes Generation Z as “practical pragmatists,” people who plan ahead and work independently.  


Reaching Generation Z Through Social Media

Uniquely Generation Z is incredibly difficult to market to. People included in that generation have a deep mistrust of advertising and make immediate decisions about their interest – or lack thereof – in certain media. Generally, this leads them to skip ads as soon as they can.

But, Gen Z is constantly plugged in. They are an internet, mobile, and social media invested group. Most of them hardly remember life before technology at all. As George Beall puts it, “Gen Z’ers were born social.” They are globally connected through the internet, making the internet the best place to reach them.

Generation Z sees most advertisements on mobile devices. This presents a great opportunity for marketers to use social media and online apps to distribute their advertising content. Generation Z doesn’t use Facebook as much as Millennials and Generation X does. They’re more present on Instagram, Snapchat, and various messaging apps. 

Yes, they do skip ads, which means you have to create an ad that will hold their attention. Gen Z is more likely to watch shorter videos — between 10 and 30 seconds. The closer to 10 seconds, the better. Shorter ads work well for this group because it makes it harder for them to skip the ad immediately. This puts media companies, like Quibi, in an excellent position to grab the attention of Generation Z with their short-form video content. 

This new generation is especially susceptible to comedy content. They are three times more likely to enjoy a funny ad than a serious one. They are also more receptive to ads that feature music and a good story. 

Gen Z is quickly moving up in the market. They are more and more important to target with each passing day. Keep the above tips in mind when you decide to start marketing to them.

Updated on February 11, 2020.

Katie Murray, Marketing and Communications at Green Buzz Agency. Lucy Wolfe and Emily Herman contributed to this post.