Critical Priorities for Gen Z Communications
After years of obsessing about millennials, marketers are playing catch-up with the next demographic: Generation Z, the tidal wave of 72 million Americans born since 1997. This army of young adults, tweens and toddlers is the first generation completely born and raised in an Internet world, bombarded with an average of 200,000 marketing messages before age 15. So if you think your millennial playbook will work on them, think again. Here are five critical priorities you must embrace (and quickly) to remain relevant in an increasingly Gen Z world.
- Accelerate your page speeds. It’s said that Gen Z consumers don’t have an attention span – just an eight-second filter or less to decide if you’re wasting their time. Sifting through content faster than previous generations, they expect a frictionless online experience and have no patience for slow-loading pages. That’s a daunting prospect for marketers already struggling with bounce rates as high as 32% for a two-second delay, according to Google. Expect page speed to remain a key metric going forward, challenging you to slash load times and be vigilant about image compression and optimized landing pages.
- Upgrade the mobile experience. Studies say the average Gen Z member gets his or her first mobile phone at age 10, with many spending at least three hours daily on mobile devices. Even more smartphone-dependent than millennials, Gen Z consumers see no difference between your app and your brand. So it’s wise to replace that bare bones app you introduced while they were in diapers! Otherwise you’ll be eclipsed by mobile-friendly competitors who project a superior brand on the strength of intuitive function, customization, videos, helpful reviews and ratings, social interaction and more.
- Communicate visually. While Americans of all ages now prefer watching information to reading it, the average Gen Z viewer goes to a new level by taking in 68 videos per day. And it’s not just entertainment such as memes, games, music or sports; these self-directed learners turn to video for news, education, skill development, shopping, socializing, recommendations and how-to’s. They also love visually based content such as infographics and virtual reality. If you aren’t fully committed to a steady stream of custom content tailored to visual platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram, you won’t be engaging many new customers.
- Influence, don’t just advertise. Quick to detect and reject commercial sales pitches, seasoned Gen Z content consumers are often influenced more strongly by peers who post their own brand preferences and experiences online. About 36% of Gen Z participants in a recent survey expressed greater confidence in their favorite influencers than the brands themselves, with more than half believing that creators of digital content act from pure motives such as being useful or creative. Achieving this kind of credibility can be difficult with testimonial or brand advertising – but relatively easy when you share your product with popular content creators, or create a platform that enables customers to share authentic insights and feedback as potential influencers.
- Advocate your values as part of your brand. A socially conscious group, Gen Z expects more from brands, both in terms of transparency and giving back to society. Sixty percent of Gen Z employees want their jobs to have an impact on the world, and 80% will more often buy a product that has a social or environmental impact. In fact, they expect it. Look for ways to clarify your values and weave them into everything you do. As former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz famously said, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
Marketing to Generation Z will be a defining challenge far into the foreseeable future, and Creative Co-op can help you win their loyalty and engagement. To begin developing your strategies for next-generation success, contact us at (603) 658-1600 and let’s talk solutions that fit your needs.