While marketers have been focused on what it takes to attract and engage Millennials, another generation is quickly creeping up and preparing their take over: Generation Z. Right now, Generation Z represents more than 25% of the US population. This demographic’s buying power is only increasing and by 2020 they will account for around 40% of all US consumer markets and their control of consumer spending accounts for $644 billion.
The question is, how exactly can you target the upcoming Gen Z audience with your marketing efforts?
What Makes Targeting Generation Z Different
A major difference between Gen Z and Millennials is their exposure to the internet while growing up. The oldest members of Generation Z were born around 1997, so unlike most Millennials, things like social media and smartphones were commonplace. Most of Generation Z probably can’t even remember what it was like to not have social media or immediate access to the Internet through their smartphones. As such, they are going to have a much different reaction to your marketing efforts than people of older generations. The following are a few ways in which you will need to capture their attention and hold it:
1. Speed it up
While Millennials can remember the days of dial-up, Generation Z never had to shoulder the 56/kbps download speed burden. Generation Z spends a significant amount of time surfing the Internet and have no trouble finding what they are looking for quickly. This means that if your website doesn’t load quickly or properly, whether it be on computer, tablet, or smartphone, they’re not going to stick around. Your web pages need to be optimized to load within seconds or they’re just going to move on to the next thing.
2. Create more consumable content
Because they’re Digital Natives, Generation Z consumes a lot of content. Whereas older audiences might have given your brand the time of day by reading through a lengthy blog post, Generation Z doesn’t consume media that way. If you want their attention, your content needs to be visual. Just consider the use of social channels amongst Generation Z. Whereas Facebook is very popular with older generations, it’s not so much with Generation Z. They prefer Instagram and Snapchat, both of which are built around visual content that’s easily consumable. In fact, Snapchat is the go-to social platform of choice for teens in the U.S. Recent studies show that 45% of teens prefer Snapchat, while only 8% prefer Facebook.
3. Get to the point
Since Gen Z is able to process information quickly, you also need to get to the point quickly. Even if you’re creating lots of visual content, if you don’t make your point immediately you’re going to lose your audience. In fact, studies have shown that although the average attention span of a Millennial is around 12 seconds, it’s only 8 seconds for Generation Z.
4. Differentiate yourself
Since the Internet has given Generation Z an encyclopedia at their fingertips, finding anything they’re looking is not much of a challenge to them. As a result, you will need to figure out a way to separate you from the noise you’re competing with. Generation Z won’t just settle on your product or service – they will do their research to find out what other similar products and services are offered by other brands before making a decision. If there’s nothing that stands out about you, you’ll be forgotten the moment they leave your website.
5. Stand for something
Generation Z is also incredibly socially conscious. If at first glance your company seems like another faceless corporation, you’re going to lose their attention. Neutrality on political and social stances is not a draw for Generation Z. They care about who they’re going to support with their money. When glancing over your social media presence, they will take note of any social stances you’ve made. Larger companies are already aware of this — just take Nike’s recent support for Colin Kaepernick as an example.
The TL;DR on Generation Z
Generation Z is much different than previous generations. Being Digital Natives, they consume media a lot differently than what we’ve seen with previous generations. It’s important to capture their attention as quickly as possible and make sure your message is concise and has meaning. Gen Z also prefers content to be visual and to have a social message. If you can do all this, you’ll stand out from the noise and capitalize on this new and upcoming Gen Z market.