Marketing to Generation Z: These Insights Might Surprise You

Posted by Alice Greene on 7/6/16 11:00 AM, Last updated 04/29/2017
Alice Greene

And then they were gone. The ads that had weighed down my every web search were blocked. I knew the relief would likely be short-lived, but for the moment, at least, I felt an immediate lift in my privacy and everyday happiness. By installing an ad blocker, I added to the 72 million Americans who have them on their PCs, smartphones or tablets, and I have my Gen Z nephew to thank.

With breathtaking agility, young audiences in particular today are making it harder and harder for marketers to reach them, as described aptly in the recent Wall Street Journal article, "Catch Me If You Can." They are leaving traditional television in droves (viewership among people ages 18 to 34 is down 30% since 2012) and dragging ad dollars with them over to the digital world. There they exploit endless tricks to tend to their penchant for privacy. Post-Millennial Generation Z Social MediaAs the emergent class of consumers, brandishing notable spending power and outsize influence over parental decisions, Generation Z (also known as the iGeneration) is already driving marketers crazy. But creativity so often arises from constraints, and effective ways of communicating with them are coming forth every day.

Our trend brief helps explain Generation Z behavior, like where their desire to “stay in control” comes from, and includes good examples of companies leveraging sites where young users feel safe.

In addition to Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, marketers are also turning to native ads, branded content, sponsored lenses, and app games. Less expensively, search engine optimization is important for marketing to Generation Z targets (half of children research products and services before they purchase).  

And then there’s direct mail. For real?!? Yes! In Mintel’s recent Marketing to the iGeneration report, the researchers write that 83% of tween/teen iGens say they love getting stuff in the mail. The report calls sending mail to iGens an untapped opportunity, with the greatest potential among girls in high-income households. Brands may explore a new twist on a direct mail staple: catalogs. Transforming catalogs into lifestyle magazines with companion content online may drive brand engagement and loyalty, Mintel suggests.

According to this YouGov Omnibus Parents Survey (sent to parents of children ages 6-17), kids are using online (39%) and in-store coupons (39%), with both numbers far higher for teens (about 50% for each). And 34% prefer to shop where they have a reward or loyalty card (also higher for teens at 40%).

So, before you get prickly about my new blocker: first, blame a doting aunt’s curiosity and her nephew’s cunning, and then decide to embrace the new – or, in the case of direct mail, the old – instead!


image: Tatyana Gladskikh

Topics: Trends

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