Engaging the Digitally Savvy New Kid on the Block

Posted by Mark Henning On February 22, 2017

Gen X (‘Baby Boomers’) & Gen Y (‘Millennials’) have been a key focus of marketers over the past few years. But we now have a new kid on the block in Gen Z.

Why is Gen Z important? First, they make up 20% of the Australian population and are active consumers. They’ve also grown up with digital technology and are even showing Gen Y’s how it is done showing they hold great influence.

Given Gen Z’s growing importance, I’ve outlined 5 key elements for marketers to keep in mind based on Kantar Millward Brown’s recent AdReaction:Engaging Gen X, Y, Z global study.

1. GenZ still consume traditional media

Yes, of course Gen Z are heavy consumers of digital platforms – no surprises there. Gen Z regularly use a broader number of platforms than preceding Gen’s, with the likes of Snapchat and Instagram featuring in their repertoire alongside the usual suspects of Facebook and YouTube. What will be more surprising to some is that large numbers of Gen Z still spend significant time with ‘traditional media’ – TV (46% of Gen Z’s), Radio (29%) and Outdoor (62%) all continuing to attract the Gen Z audience for more than 1 hour per day on average.

2. Gen Z want control

Gen Z are more negative towards ads which take away their digital control. Autoplay, non-skip and intrusive ad formats are all perceived more negatively by Gen Z than other Gen’s. On the flip side, formats which give them control ie. click to play, skippable video, are more positively received by Gen Z than their counterparts. But giving them control doesn’t mean they will watch it through. Gen Z are the most likely to skip ads and will do so faster than their predecessors. So if you don’t grab their interest and attention immediately, they’re gone… yep, that sounds like my kids.

3. Video is king…. but keep it short

More Gen Z’ers prefer their content to be video than other Gens, which is great because a picture tells a thousand words. However, marketers will need to ensure they are communicating their message efficiently as all generations have a strong preference towards shorter (<20 seconds) content from brands. That doesn’t mean longer video’s can’t work – but you really need to ensure that your content is great.
4.Look and sound great

Humour and relevance are key for marketers to engage across all generations. But if you really want to appeal to Gen Z, add in a great sound track and pay attention to visual design.

5.Consider the environment

Despite my last point, keep in mind where your content will be placed. It is no good having great music to grab Gen Z’s attention when you realise that Gen Z have their mobile sound turned off or your ad is appearing in a format where the audio is muted. Also, given the option, Gen Z will likely skip your ad so capture attention in the first few seconds and include branding upfront to impact even those who choose to skip.

To dig deeper into the best ways to ensure that Gen’s X, Y and Z respond positively to your advertising messages, download the global report or checkout the summary here.

Mark Henning is Executive Director, Media & Digital at Kantar Millward Brown 

Mark Henning