Born between 1997- early 2000’s, Gen Z are true digital natives. Having grown up with mobiles and iPads, they’re natural experts who can’t remember a time without the internet.
Currently, this generation range from being in their early twenties to beginning secondary education, they’re the next generation to enter work – as their earnings increase so does their purchasing power – providing a huge opportunity for sustainable business growth for brands who act now to affiliate themselves with this upcoming generation.
Gen Z has grown up in a world where their opportunities are limitless but their time is not. They’re often mislabelled as having a short attention span, but they have simply developed a filter as a result of growing up with an abundance of available information, which also allows them to dive deeply into any subject of their choosing.
These intuitive behaviours have influenced this generation’s consumption of social media, specifically impacting what they seek in brand relationships. While you may only have a few seconds to persuade Gen Z customers to stop scrolling, once you do, they will be able to dedicate significant time to fully exploring your brand.
In contrast to Millennials who are renowned for turning to social media to cure their boredom, the root of Generation Z’s online behaviours originates from the search for truth:
Gen Z is constantly switched on and connected, they work hard and care about issues in the world and doing good. As a result, businesses must reconsider how they offer value to customers and practise what they preach regarding ethics.
So how can brands reach this audience?
Generation Z is digitally savvy as a result of growing up with the internet and navigating through “fake news”. According to Adobe’s research, customers react positively to branded content that is genuine, well-designed, and appropriate.
“With the rise of fake news and ‘click-bait’ content, consumers are increasingly looking for engaging content that provides them with an authentic and relevant experience,” John Watton, Senior Marketing Director, Adobe EMEA, explained. “Whether it’s across social, online, blogs, or email communications, branded content has to be well-designed, optimised for the device, and offer a genuine experience that goes beyond selling products. Brands that succeed will drive customer acquisition and loyalty; those that don’t will see customers swipe their screen in search for content that offers them a better experience.”
Remember, this generations’ behaviours stem from searching for the truth. They’re adept at finding out information and then verifying it – if you’re not putting your words into action, you’ll be caught out.
No purpose? No purchase.
A Google survey found that Gen Z seeks brands that are “a representation of their values, their expectations of themselves and their peers.” They aren’t interested in hearing why your product is so great; they want to know how it will benefit them. What experience will they have as a result of your product? Determine how you can contribute to society and the planet and make sure consumers understand your purpose and values.
No generation is discovering new media and experiences faster than Gen Z. Heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, 55% of this generation use their smartphones for five or more hours a day. Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram take the top three spots in preferred social media platforms, with Instagram being the most popular platform for brand discovery.
Forget Facebook’s familiarity, if your target audience isn’t there, why are you? Advertise to your audience where they already are. Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram all offer a range of ad options, as well as the means to track conversations, especially with TikTok’s recent addition of a lead generation form.
Make sure your business is optimised for mobile as this is where the majority of information is searched for and accessed. Consider building a mobile-friendly website and create content with mobile devices in mind, like vertical videos.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is a library.” – Srinivas Narayanan, Facebook’s Engineering Director. Consumers prefer videos over other types of material from brands on social media. This powerful medium isn’t just good for grabbing attention and entertaining viewers, it’s also an effective tool for guiding customers through your sales funnel. A Millennial’s average attention span is 12 seconds, whereas Generation Z’s is only eight.
With a lower attention span, Gen Z prefers to consume short-form content. Over half of viewers will watch a video until the end if it’s under a minute long. Commonly found on Instagram Stories, TikTok and YouTube Bumper ads, shorter videos provide the opportunity to break through conventional barriers and create fun, engaging videos that can drive brand awareness and generate engagement.
Building a digital community is key to retaining brand loyalty and trust amongst Generation Z. Actively seeking to leave their mark on the world, this generation love to get involved in conversation and have their say. Rather than relying on big names and creativity alone, Gen Z responds to businesses that connect with them and try to earn their confidence.
Focus on connecting and communicating in a personal, relatable way. Create space to encourage meaningful connections and conversations and these users will become brand ambassadors of their own accord.
Having been brought up digitally literate, ‘what goes on the internet, stays on the internet’ is a phrase commonly known and understood throughout this generation. One reason that Snapchat and WhatsApp are so popular amongst this age bracket as opposed to Facebook is their differences in privacy promises.
Generation Z is alert, they’re more aware of scams and the potential danger of the internet. When gathering information from consumers, be transparent and emphasise your commitment to keeping their data safe and secure.
Overall, less is more. To win Generation Z’s loyalty and trust, don’t attempt to sell your brand to them, instead find how you can deliver authentic value to them while being transparent about your core values.
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