You see a ton of stuff in the media about millennials.
Although they're usually frame as a youthful demographic, the truth is that millennials are starting to hit their 30s.
They're not teens or college kids anymore.
Today's young people, particularly teens, fit into a new generation category that's been dubbed “Generation Z.”
They're getting old enough to make purchasing decisions, and for some companies, being able to reach this young audience could be vital.
Researchers are just beginning to identify and analyze the attitudes, behaviors, and zeitgeist of this brand new generation.
What's already becoming clear, however, is that marketing to Gen Z isn't necessarily identical with marketing to millennials.
They don't respond to the same tactics and messages.
As a whole, they're not into traditional advertising — but, they love feeling engaged.
A recent post from Hootsuite explains these characteristics in detail.
They’re resistant to advertising
Less than 25 percent of Gen Zers have a positive perception of online ads, according to a report by Millward Brown.
And while they are more positive than other generations towards mobile rewards video and skippable pre-rolls (which, according to the Millward Brown study, achieve net positive scores of 41 and 15 percent respectively),
Gen Zers are especially negative toward invasive ad formats like non-skippable pre-rolls and pop-ups (-36 percent and -42 percent respectively).
So who do these teens trust?
Gen Zers look to YouTube stars, Instagram personalities, and other social media influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions.
They’re not looking to anyone with a large following either—they respect qualities like authenticity and philanthropy in the influencers and celebrities they follow.
Key takeaway: Connect with influencers or trusted figures in the community in order to reach Generation Z.
When choosing someone to represent your brand, keep in mind that this group doesn’t appreciate ads that depict perfection. They want more representations of reality, and they want to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
They want to be engaged
More than any generation before them, Gen Z is open to sharing their opinions.
In IBM’s report on Generation Z’s consumer behavior, 42 percent said they would participate in a product review. Gen Zers want to be a part of collaborative communities where ideas and opinions are easily exchanged. That means they’re open to engaging in conversations with businesses.
This is great news for brands looking to gather insights from their Gen Z customers with tactics such as social listening, surveys, and social media polls. But keep in mind that things like social media fails might be easier to come by with a demographic that’s willing to share their thoughts on just about anything and everything.
Key takeaway: With 85 percent of Generation Z learning about products through social, you can bet this generation is critical of the product information, customer support, and overall content brands are sharing on social media.
If you’re lucky, a bad experience with your brand might end up like 10 Risky Brand Comebacks on Social Media That Worked—but don’t count on it.
You can learn more about marketing to Gen Z over at Hootsuite.