Dawn of the Planet of Post-Millennials: A Guide to Reaching Generation Z

Marketing experts are now taking a serious look at Generation Z, those born after 1995. According to statistics, they will account for 40% of all U.S. consumers by 2020, and they are the potential users of your app or new gadget. 

This is a huge market: entrepreneurs and politicians alike are desperate to reach Generation Z. There’s only one problem: they don’t read newspapers, avoid Facebook and ignore online ads. How to get their attention? 

A word of advice for reaching Gen Z is to keep track of the trends that shape this generation. Six years ago, Facebook was the platform that post-millennials most frequently used, but now they have mass-migrated to Instagram and Snapchat. 

A great example of brand that is keeping up with these trends is Tesla. The company’s recent Instagram campaign included videos of people (another popular trend) receiving their new Teslas.

It’s use of Instagram is not coincidence, because Tesla’s goal is to replace brands like Porsche or BMW as the new “it” car, and they’re doing it by going directly to their target audience while they’re young. Where do these young targets spend their time? Instagram.  

Most Gen-Zers are still under the age of 18. As they come of age, the characteristics that shape this generation will change, which is why it is important to have a watchful eye on them, just like Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Millennials are generally described as the tech-savvy generation, but compared to Generation Z they’re like caveman using stone tools with their flip phones and Gameboys. Gen Z is the generation that is truly shaped by technology. They grew up with smartphones and touchscreens in a world immersed in the Internet, which has its pros and cons when it comes to reaching them. 

The pro is that you can never go wrong with social media platforms. The average Gen Z spends a huge amount of time on their phones browsing through Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Promoting your content through these platforms is guaranteed to get their attention. The con is that because they grew up with digital platforms, they’ve been bombarded with ads constantly from a small age, which has made their attention span really low. They skip ads as if they were cancer. One has to get their attention in less than 5 seconds, so forget about long-texts and your organization’s life story. Use key words and make them pop.

Another aspect to be considered when reaching Gen Z is that this generation was raised in a post-9/11 world. They grew up with global terrorism, political instability, and the 2008 Recession, which shaped their psyche to be more skeptical about the world around them and yearn for societal change.  For this reason, messages of social responsibility can be helpful in reaching Gen Z. 

Does your organization have a zero tolerance policy on the gender wage gap? State it in your social media posts. Does your company help save polar bears? Mention it in your campaign. Authenticity is also important if one wants to reach this demographic. Hired actors on ads are not going to necessarily convince them about the authenticity of your brand. Popular figures on social media, online reviews, or even word-of-mouth will be more effective for reaching Gen Z, because those sources are regarded as more credible and trustworthy.

By Ali Ceylan, V Startup Agency