Reaching the Next Generation of Buyers: Generation Z

Maddie Hannon
July 23, 2019
Generation Z is quickly becoming a prominent and powerful customer base. In the U.S. alone, this young generation has a spending power of $44 billion. As if that’s not enough, that number is expected to increase threefold by 2020. Based solely on spending power, it’s obvious that Gen Z has a lot to offer the […]
How to reach the next generation of buyers: generation z

Generation Z is quickly becoming a prominent and powerful customer base. In the U.S. alone, this young generation has a spending power of $44 billion. As if that’s not enough, that number is expected to increase threefold by 2020. Based solely on spending power, it’s obvious that Gen Z has a lot to offer the market – but how do businesses go about effectively reaching them?


Gen Z, also referred to as Digital Natives, includes those born between 1995 and 2015. This group, which makes up roughly 25% of the global population, is the first generation to grow up with a smartphone in their pocket, a tablet for car rides, and an Alexa to play their favorite Spotify playlist. With so much technology, it’s no surprise that Gen Zers are innately digital and uber connected, spending on average six to nine hours consuming media and juggling up to 5 screens at a time.

It’s also unsurprising that Gen Z has an attention span of about 8 seconds – a 4-second decrease from millennials’ 12-second attention span. Considering the growing consumption of multiple digital platforms and a decreasing attention span, it’s no wonder advertisers are struggling to capture Gen Z’s attention.


With this fragmented media consumption and a short attention span, how can advertisers effectively reach Gen Z? Meet them on their preferred space.

Gen Z is most receptive to messaging on their frequently used and preferred platforms. Video methods such as YouTube and Twitch, a live video streaming website used largely by the gaming community, are extremely popular among this generation. In fact, Gen Z spends over 3 hours a day consuming online videos.

Additionally, 57% of Gen Z says that appealing visuals are extremely important when engaging with brands online, making video a perfect fit when interacting with this generation.


Gen Z doesn’t respond the same way to traditional selling as their predecessors – flash sales and one-time offers don’t appeal to them. Instead, this generation is looking for the next Instagrammable experience. Nowadays, everything revolves around social media sharing, so it’s essential to cater to visual experiences that can be promoted on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. Gen Z wants to document and update their peers about what they’re doing and where they’re going at all times. Because of this, it’s important to find a way to align a brand within their curated digital world – hopefully by becoming the next trending hashtag on the Explore page.


Gen Z understands that we live in an ad-heavy world, so those ads might as well be interesting and relevant. Curated ads may feel creepy or invasive to older generations, but Gen Z is ready and willing to exchange their data with brands for personalized experiences. According to a survey done by Campaign Monitor, companies that value Gen Z’s input – asking them what types of ads they’d prefer to see – do better than others. And 84% of Gen Z respondents say that being treated like a person, not a number in the digital world, is important for winning their business. This group is an extremely interactive and vocal generation, so understanding their preferences and personalizing their experience is crucial to building relationships with them.


With an attention span of only eight seconds, lengthy content will likely be overlooked by your Gen Z audience that is quickly scrolling through content. To capture their attention, stand out and get to the point quickly. Social media stories have become a popular way to advertise to consumers of this generation. As each passing generation continues to move at a faster pace, so should the way marketers showcase brand messaging. Take advantage of stories on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook with high impact visuals and clear, concise calls to action to effectively capture (and hold) Gen Z’s attention.


Gen Z prefers interacting with a brand on social media more than on any other platform. In fact, about 37% of older Gen Zs (aged 18 to 24) purchased a product or service after watching an ad on social media. Many social media platforms such as Instagram have made it easy to make purchases and sign up for services by adding features like in-feed checkout and swipe. If marketers want a Gen Z audience to take action after seeing a sponsored message, make sure they can do so without leaving the platform.


Despite spending more time online than any other generation, Gen Z’s fragmented media habits and short attention span make it difficult to connect with them. As they become a growing segment in the marketplace, it’s important to understand and adapt to the ways Gen Z interacts with brands and the digital world as a whole.

To make an impact with Gen Z audiences, be sure to:

  • Meet them where they are
  • Become part of their Instagrammable moment
  • Personalize their experience
  • Stand out and get to the point
  • Create a frictionless path to conversion

For brands that want to create a meaningful relationship with Gen Z consumers, it’s important to not only understand the changing larger market and trends, but also to also connect with Gen Zers as individuals, rather than as a large mass.

Image Source: Unsplash

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