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User Generated Content Gen Z Marketing

The power of gen Z: How to capture a community through digital media

By Beth Simpson, Paid Media Executive



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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September 19, 2023 | 5 min read

How is gen Z consuming media differently? Connective3’s Beth Simpson, a gen Zer herself, has the low down on the generation’s appetite for user-generated content, and what it means for brands.

Two young people's hands reaching out, in an imitation of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam

How can you really connect with gen Z? Start with understanding how they consume media, says Connective3. / No Revisions via Unsplash

Gen Z is the largest generation on earth. The most digitally native generation so far, it’s already a powerful influence on the global economy.

But when it comes to advertising, it requires a totally different strategy.

According to a Deloitte study, what gen Z considers a ‘meaningful’ experience is markedly different than other generations, with less emphasis on ‘in-person' experiences and more on online experiences.

Online behaviors are shifting too. According to that same study, about 50% of consumers now say that they watch user-generated content (UGC) to discover new products or services, as UGC offers trustworthy and community-led information.

Meanwhile, gen Z is increasingly consuming content cross-channel. Social media, music, streaming videos, and gaming are all becoming more interconnected as gen Z begins to develop identities through digital communities. As online media continues to evolve and become more competitive, brands can compete by pushing the boundaries, experimenting through storytelling, and using multiple modes of media concurrently in a cross-channel strategy.

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How brands are creating communities through immersive virtual experiences

A great example of brand storytelling through immersive experiences is Nike’s Dare To Do Bold campaign, which offered an exciting, visual user experience through animated media such as gifs showing people wearing the kit of football club Tottenham Hotspur, overlaid with logos, color filters, and special effects.

Appearing both aspirational and accessible, the advert adds value for fans on a community level, showing both men and women wearing the product, demonstrating the Spurs values through storytelling. By adding a ‘buy now’ button at the end, the advert offers the opportunity for fans to watch the latest Spurs match in their brand-new kit.

Gen Z buying behaviors are creating a shift in online content

The importance for advertisers now is ensuring their digital marketing can adapt enough to include immersive qualities. Whether through UGC, virtual reality or personalized content, now’s the time to focus on digital experiences.

Bear in mind that 85% of gen Z say that social media sways their buying decisions, with 45% naming TikTok and Instagram as top platforms for influencing purchases. Having a combined organic and paid social strategy will ensure you leverage gen Z throughout their consumer journey and create life-long customers through community-led virtual, immersive experiences.

Tracking the complex buying behaviors of gen Z

Gen Z’s buying behaviors have had a wide cultural impact. Turning to social media as a brand discovery tool and product research for shopping, gen Z is using TikTok before Google Maps or earch for answers.

The most significant impact for this shift is being able to use social media for quick, visual searches and hear reviews in real-time, through UGC content. Having a cross-channel strategy in place focusing on communicating to younger audiences during the discovery phase will enable you to gain the trust of gen Z.

As someone who is gen Z myself, I understand just how much the online sphere affects my own shopping behaviors. As the digital world continues to adapt, listen to your gen Z team members, capitalize on their understanding of content that they consume, and ensure that you have a strategy in place to track how their behaviors are relevant to your brand.

User Generated Content Gen Z Marketing

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