Believe it or not, Gen Z is entering its prime working years and the oldest ones are already 23 years old.
According to research from MNI Targeted Media, by the year 2020 Generation Z will represent close to 40% of all of the consumers. This generation who were raised in the social media era surrounded by selfies, hashtags, and YouTube videos, now garners purchasing power and it’s more crucial than ever for marketers to understand their behavior.
So, if you are trying to reach Gen Z, but your marketing initiatives don’t meet your expectations – here are six things you might be doing wrong.
1. Failing to Understand Where Gen Z is Coming From
Do you remember the episode from Friends where Ross was trying to name all 50 US States in 6 minutes (“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”)? He spent the whole day writing down the list and still failed to mention one state. It takes Google about 0.69 seconds to find hundreds of thousands of results for whatever you’re looking for.
Imagine you were born into a world where the answer to (almost) every question you ever had was at your fingertips. That’s all you know and a world where you had to spend hours at the library doing research is nothing but a bedtime story your grandpa used to tell you. This is how it feels for those born in Gen Z.
In fact, according to the research by The Center for Generational Kinetic, 68% of Gen Z reads at least three online reviews before making a first-time purchase and 16% of Gen Z read nine or more!
”In the eyes of Gen Z, you live and die by your online reviews.”
2. Treat Your Gen Z Audience Like Millenials
Millennials and Gen Z are often grouped together, despite their different behavior and view of social media. Even though Millenials are the early adopters of social platforms, Gen Zer’s have never known a world without social media – and they are the first fully digital generation. They had access to the internet and social platforms since day one and 38% of American teens check their social media profiles more than once an hour. (source: Common Sense Media)
When it comes to your marketing message, with Millenials you had 12 seconds to get their attention. With Gen Z, you have 8. #TikToc
3. Not Shaping Your Marketing Strategy Specifically To Gen Z
While Millennial teens used social media for its original purpose, to be social and engage with friends and family, Gen Z uses social media as a time-filler and entertainment platform.
What does this mean for you? You have to focus on what they will view as entertainment, even if you don’t ‘get it’ yourself. Create short, engaging videos that really get their attention and if in doubt, run real tests with a younger audience. Everything is an assumption until we have the data to back it up.
4. Putting Too Much Emphasis on the “Best Time to Post”
Even though there is nothing inherently wrong with following a “best time to post” approach, and it definitely works wonders on more time-of-day specific platforms like LinkedIn, try to experiment.
When it comes to using smartphones, 65% of Gen Zers say they use them after midnight a few times a week or more often and of these members of Gen Z, 29% are on their smartphones after midnight every night.
What does it tell us? They are online – ALL.THE.TIME. The “right” time is up to them.
5. Marketing in the Wrong Places
While we all know being present on social platforms for companies is not optional anymore, the question is – which social platforms should you use to reach Gen Z?
The number one social platform among Gen Z is YouTube, closely followed by Instagram.
According to Pew Research, Facebook lost almost 20% of users ages 18-24 in the last years. This tech-savvy, video-centric generation spends much more time watching Youtube videos than any other generation. Additionally, more than 95% of Gen Zer’s watch Youtube on a weekly basis. YouTube became their television, radio, and influencer portal – and great marketers are surely taking advantage of it.
So, if you have been trying to ignore the rising popularity of video content in recent years, you can’t hide from it anymore. In fact, Gen Z trusts YouTube ads more than any other type of ad including radio, print, and TV.
Obviously, YouTube is not the only social platform they use. Gen Zer’s prefer to follow brands on Instagram and interact with friends on Snapchat.
If you really want to keep up with them, try the newer video-first social platform TikTok. A good way to start testing this is for your next influencer campaign or as a medium for creating new original content.
6. Focusing Too Much on Self-Promotion
If you now scroll down your company Instagram or Facebook feed, how many posts are promoting your product, services, or contain a link to your website? What about your paid posts? Corporate Social Responsibility? Is your company active in these areas at all?
When it comes to Generation Z, you need to show them you care about your customers, employees, the environment, and our future. Try to understand their values, what drives them, their desires, and struggles. Show them that you care and they will show the same thing back to you because they care and want to make the world a better place. So do it with them.