Generation Z Marketing

Three simple ways to get your brand in front of Generation Z

By Jess Thompson, communications manager

January 22, 2016 | 6 min read

Have you tried talking to a teenager lately? If you got them to tear their eyes away from a screen for more than five seconds, you did well.

This is Generation Z, the demographic that follows millenials, generally considered to be between the ages of 14-23. They're the first generation to have grown up immersed in social media, smartphone in one hand, tablet in the other. Relying on traditional – even tried-and-true – methods of advertising to reach your target audience could fall flat with Generation Z. You have to talk to them in a language they understand; you need to go digital.

Generation Z are savvy, digital natives, who are setting the trends and calling the shots in the way we’re consuming media and communicating. Most of them own at least one device and have internet access. Many have their own spending power as they take their first steps into the workforce, and they’re ready to take the baton from the exhausted millennial market.

What’s more is that according to Refuel Agency, Gen Z actually pay a significant amount of attention to digital advertising and are much more likely than their millennial counterparts to convert:

Generation Z is gearing up to become the most influential generation in history. You’ll often hear adults say they adopted apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat because their kids use them. Being able to understand this audience and market to them puts you at the forefront of trends and innovation. It also requires you to break free from marketing metrics of the past and antiquated ways of planning.

Technology powered by (the right) data is now the backbone of online advertising strategy. They work in harmony to identify your ideal Gen Z audience and deliver advertising that matters to them at times when it makes the most sense. By optimising exposure time, you can display your ad for just the right amount of time over several touchpoints to ensure your ad grabs attention, builds interest and desire. You can measure the impact of your campaign every step of the way and take action to get the best results.

Combining the below tips will help you create a marketing campaign that will not only get the attention of Generation Z but help to build your brand into a Gen Z favourite.

TV is no longer your primary medium

Television spots form the foundation of nearly every advertising plan for most audiences. Digital formats are then added in order to optimise reach or add a call-to-action element. The problem is, Gen Z aren’t watching a lot of TV – at least not traditional formats – so you need to flip it around. As Brian Robbins, CEO of AwesomenessTV, told an audience at MIPTV in Cannes this year: “Traditional TV viewing for teens and tweens is dead. Not dying, dead.”

According to Robbins, even networks that have always relied on teens and tweens as their core audience have seen a huge drop in viewers. Content consumption by this age group is now happening on YouTube, online and mobile. Start your plan with digital media, then add offline if needed.

Get their attention quickly

You have no more than five seconds to capture your audience’s attention, but need over 30 seconds to get the message across. Gen Z is used to being bombarded with endless content and are adept at cutting through the noise. Make your creatives appealing fast and lead with the good stuff; Gen Z – even more so than their predecessors – won’t stick around waiting for your ad to (maybe) get good.

You can create even more relevance and strengthen the connection between brand and consumer by adding dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) to deliver a creative that speaks to them personally. Ensure your campaigns are optimised to display your creatives for the optimum amount of time you need to get the message across by using exposure time as a key metric.

Tell a story

Use programmatic to target your advertising and create a narrative that ties together a string of creatives. Storytelling is a magic ingredient in advertising, and programmatic allows it to be done in an original and effective way. By showing one creative at a time and having the information to show the next part of the story at the right time and place, you can get your Gen Z audience hooked and engaged with your advertising. Sequencing a powerful combination of creatives will also help create affinity for your brand, and higher relatability. Plan creatives and the way you deliver and plan media with the purpose of communicating a story to your target audience.

In the near future mass media, one-size-fits-all advertising will no longer cut it. To gain ground with Generation Z, you need one-on-one levels of relevance at scale to find them and make an impact. If you fail to be relevant you’ll soon lose them from your radar as they install an ad blocker, or simply ignore the platforms you advertise on.

Programmatic media buying technology is the ideal way of buying the most relevant spots at the best possible time. Data is the crucial piece to the connectivity puzzle needed to identify your audience, find the best moments to reach them, and to evaluate if your storytelling is working.

Advertisers fighting for the attention of Generation Z will have their work cut out for them, and will need to move from the old model: demographic- and publisher-centric, to the newer, more efficient data- and technology-centric model.

Jess Thompson is communications manager at Bannerconnect

This webinar will be a major first step towards making brands more relevant to Gen Z. To register for it, click here

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