Everyone is talking about Gen Z (rightfully so, as we’re the best generation). Jokes aside, direct-to-consumer brands need to have a clear understanding of this up-and-coming generation in order to successfully market their products and services. The way Gen Z consumes content and interacts with brands is vastly different than the way their parents did, or even the way their closest generation—millennials—do.
If you’re looking to better grasp Gen Z and gain some tips on how to create a content strategy that will have a strong impact with this generation, continue reading below.
What is Generation Z?
So, what is Generation Z? Psychologically speaking, I’d need more time to answer that question. Let’s stick to the basics, instead. This generation was born in the mid to late 1990s to the early 2010s, mostly to parents from Generation X. They come right after millennials, and as such, these two generations are often pitted against each other. Gen Z’s nicknames include “digitals” and “zoomers.”
Characteristically speaking, Gen Z is known for standing up for their rights and their future—in other words, they’re not quiet about the things they care about. As the generation that has to live with the impact of older generations’ environmental, political, and cultural mistakes, they’re here to enact change for a better future. Connecting with this generation is only possible for brands that are genuine and transparent, with a mission behind their business.
Where does Gen Z consume content?
In order to meet Gen Zers where they are, brands need to know how this group consumes content. It varies greatly from other generations, meaning businesses need to expand their marketing horizons and lean into newer forms of marketing—like influencer campaigns and user-generated content. If there’s one thing Gen Z is generally good at, it’s creating content for social media. Call them creative or just phone-obsessed: The choice is yours, but choosing the former will help you unlock the key to Gen Z’s heart (and wallets).
The primary way this generation consumes content—as I hinted at—is on their phones. Whether it involves social media or searching the web, mobile-friendly websites are king. Paired with key social media strategies, you can get your products in front of this generation. It’s not just about social media, though. Brands can reach Gen Z in other online spaces, such as gaming platforms, podcasts, and streaming services.
According to GWI, the top places that Gen Z discover brands are:
- Endorsements from celebrities or other well-known people
- Posts or reviews from expert bloggers
- Ads on music-streaming services or podcasts
If they need to find more information on a brand, the overwhelming majority of Gen Zers will visit social media networks first—making it all the more important for brands to not only have a social presence, but also to be active and informative on their social networks. Simple Google searches aren’t cutting it anymore. These consumers would rather find information through social channels where they have access to brands and can see what other customers are saying.
What affects their purchasing decisions
To better market to Gen Z, your business will need to know the “why” behind their purchasing decisions. Since they often look to social media to help influence their purchases, it’s no surprise that having positive comments and a lot of interaction on social can sway this group. Plus, making it convenient to purchase without ever leaving the social media platform is high on Gen Z’s list.
GWI’s report on Gen Z trends highlights the following reasons as drivers for online purchases:
- Lots of “likes” or positive comments on social media
- Exclusive content or services
- Click and collect delivery (order online, pick up in store)
- Option to use the “buy” button on a social network
5 ways to target Gen Z with your brand’s content
Now that you know more about the so-called digitals and their priorities when it comes to consuming content, finding brands, and deciding to make a purchase, let’s dive into how you can target this generation with your content.
1. Create interactive content
Generation Z wants to be engaged when they interact with your brand, so make your brand touch points interactive and interesting whenever possible. According to DemandGen, interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content. So whether you incorporate a product quiz or provide interactive infographics, your Gen Z customers will be more likely to stick around longer and make a purchase with this type of brand experience.
2. Keep it short & concise
Many people are concerned with the length of attention spans seemingly dwindling more and more each year, and with each generation. Well, brands can use this as a nudge to keep their copy, videos, and other content short and concise. In other words, get to the point right away if you’d like to keep your Gen Z consumers engaged.
3. Use influencers & user-generated content
As mentioned above, Gen Z is more likely to purchase products that have been backed by either a celebrity or other famous person. Tap into those influencers and their power by partnering with them to deliver content that Gen Z can trust and—this is important too—enjoy.
Brands can also make use of user-generated content. When you repost a video, for example, made by one of your customers, you’re showing that real people have purchased from and love your brand. Gen Z has said that they’re motivated to advocate for a brand online, thanks to GWI’s research on trends, based on:
- Love for the brand
- Relevance to their friend’s interests
- A feeling of being involved
- Access to exclusive content or services
- Something enhancing their online status
Tap into this and encourage your customers to create by delivering an unparalleled unboxing experience, beautiful branding, and additional motivation for shoppers to post their purchases, like social media contests.
4. Make it feel less like an ad
No one really wants to be sold to, especially not Gen Z. They’d rather feel like they’re an important part of your brand’s journey. Make them feel special by crafting content that doesn’t come off like an ad. Tell the story of your brand, share a behind-the-scenes look at your manufacturing process, or answer a live Q+A on social media. Each of these approaches will garner interest from prospective customers, and invite them to start shopping your brand in an organic way.
5. Be loud about what you care about
The environment? Social justice causes? Gen Z wants to hear about it. What is your brand doing to secure a better future for them and the planet? Be upfront about the causes your brand supports and how you are putting them at the forefront of your business. And please, for the love of God, stop using packing peanuts that don’t dissolve in water!
Reaching Gen Z
Now, with more information about Generation Z and their tendencies when it comes to finding and supporting brands and making purchases, your business can create strategies to reach this generation effectively. By going deeper and exploring how and where Gen Z consumes content, and what motivates them, you can approach this group with knowledge and the right tools to be successful.
 D2C (Recharge ecommerce glossary)
 The latest trends for Gen Z (GWI)
 2019 State Of Interactive Content Marketing (DemandGen)
 Confessions of a consumer: Optimizing the customer experience (Recharge)
 5 recyclable packaging materials for your business (Recharge )