Generation Z is the blanket term used to describe young adults born between 1995 – 2010, with the emphasis on the 16 – 24 age group. Also known as Gen Z, or even iGen, this generation is the first to have grown up in a digital world. And that gives them abilities to navigate and communicate online in a way that older generations struggle to emulate.

Generation Z are always connected, spending around seven hours online every day, with at least three of those hours spent on social media channels. But they aren’t using these platforms in the same way as older age groups. As far as Gen Z is concerned, social media is all about entertainment, and keeping boredom at bay.

Generation Z loves video content

Not surprisingly, video is the primary source of entertainment for this age group. It’s even expected to account for more than 80% of global internet traffic within the next two years. YouTube is currently the platform of choice, but TikTok is rapidly gaining ground. And if you haven’t come across TikTok yet, you should make a point of reading up about it, as it’s absolutely huge within the Generation Z age group.

Crocs, the shoe brand, recognised the potential of TikTok soon after its beta ad platform went live in 2019. Within a week of creating a dedicated Crocs account on TikTok, the company had managed to attract over 80,000 more followers than it already had on Twitter. And following this surge in popularity, the next Crocs collection aimed at Gen Z completely sold out within just one and a half hours.

Aligning with Generation Z core values

But there’s more to connecting with a Gen Z audience than simply tracking down the social media platforms that they use. This is a generation that knows what it wants, and that knows how to express its opinions. So if brands are hoping to strike up a relationship, they first need to understand what matters to the people that make up Generation Z.

Gen Z may be comfortable chatting to complete strangers online, but that doesn’t mean they’re careless about their privacy. They don’t mind parting with their contact information, but they’re not particularly comfortable with the idea of sharing other personal information. And unlike older generations, these young people know how to check that their personal information is being stored and used appropriately.

The youthful members of Gen Z don’t like being talked down to, but they’re also wary of brands that come across as over-friendly. So companies need to make sure that they can align with this generation’s core values and principles, in a sympathetic manner.

Demonstrating that your business makes a positive contribution to society will help to win over members of Generation Z. And well over half of people in this age group claim that they’d happily pay a little extra for goods or services that can show they are both ethical and sustainable.

Keep it honest and authentic

Older age groups expect web content to be clear, concise, lacking in typos and spelling mistakes and, above all, well-written. But Gen Z isn’t interested in careful editing. Its members want authenticity, so it’s much more important to emphasise ways in which your brand’s core values align with those of your audience.

Privacy is so important to young people that they’re shifting away from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, towards what’s being termed ‘dark social’ networks. As shady as they sound, they’re simply private messaging channels and apps, such as WhatsApp. This represents an opportunity for brands to develop new ways of spreading their message, although this aspect of digital marketing is still in its infancy. And it’s also very difficult to analyse the data from these social networks at the present time. But that’s sure to change as platforms realise the opportunities presented to marketers.

Gen Z will buy ‘virtual’ products

Lots of members of Gen Z enjoy playing the online game Fortnite. Nike was quick to see an opportunity, and last year the brand launched a collection of Nike ‘skins’ that any of the 250 million players could purchase in the game. Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton joined forces with League of Legends, from Riot Games, producing a range of ‘virtual clothing’ to be sold within the game. This was tied in with a physical collection too, for maximum returns.

But you don’t have to launch straight into preparing a digital marketing strategy that will appeal to Generation Z. These young people live their lives online, and they’re looking to align with brands that share their core values. So you need to spend time finding out what those values are, and determining the ways in which you can interact and engage with them. Only then will you be able to maximise the power of your digital marketing.

Here at Brookstone, we know what it takes to put together effective digital marketing campaigns that will appeal to your target audience. So get in touch with us to find out how we can help you grow your business.