Gen Z knows when they’re being advertised to, and they actually like it—if it’s done right. Here are three key things to consider when using social media to reach coveted Gen Z consumers…
Although it’s no surprise that Gen Z is hooked on social media, it may be surprising to some that they’re not only using platforms for entertainment, but to find products recommended by their friends and influencers. In fact, 44% of Gen Z tell YPulse that they browse social media to find things they want to buy. But companies looking to connect with Gen Z on social have a lot to navigate, from competing platforms to ever-increasing tools and content types. On top of that, the pandemic has led many brands to slash marketing budgets, cut ties with influencers, and focus on organic marketing on social channels—as well as rely on user-generated content. Gen Z are discerning in both their choices in products and in the brands they support, and they know when they’re being advertised to. But the good news is they actually like it—if it’s done right. Here are three key things to consider when using social media to reach the coveted market of Gen Z consumers:
The majority agree “brands should make ads that fit in with what’s in my feed / on the site already.”
While social media ads are an effective way to reach Gen Z, they have to be done right to actually encourage that ultimate purchase decision. What better way to do this than to make your ad fit right in with the rest of the platform’s content? The Gen Z-beloved app TikTok and P&G partnered up during the Coronavirus pandemic and hired the platform’s biggest star, Hype House member Charli D’Amelio, to create and promote the “distance dance”…which has since garnered 17.3 billion views. Using influencers already familiar with social media platforms and their associated trends makes these ads blend in and feel more like organic content—and in the case of the Distance Dance, will encourage young consumers to engage by creating their own related content. E.l.f cosmetics and Tory Burch have been sponsoring challenges on TikTok as a way to continue gaining traction on the platform, while some brands, like Thinx, have launched TikTok accounts for the first time to connect with a Gen Z audience. Ads that have a positive message, make them laugh, and tell them about discounts and product capabilities are the top types of advertising young consumers say give them a more positive view of a brand. On top of that, YPulse’s research shows that 70% of Gen Z say they actually like or love ads based on trending memes or viral content—they want brands to echo the mood and norms of the content they’re already seeing in the space
Four in five believe “If you are posting a social media ad there should be a direct link to purchase.”
Young consumers who have grown up with tech expect companies to leverage innovative thinking to come up with new ways to make life more convenient—and purchasing processes quicker. While it’s true that they’re missing the in-store experience and have a slew of new emotional reasons to buy, retailers need to understand that the majority of young consumers say that until there is a vaccine or cure for COVID-19, and increasingly that shopping is migrating to social media Among Gen Z consumers, 58% are interested in social shopping—being able to purchase items directly from social media feeds like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. These last few months have not only accelerated ecommerce adoption, but sped up the development of social shopping tools as well. Now it seems not a week goes by without a new social shopping feature being added to Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite platforms. Facebook’s new shops will be featured on brands’ social profiles and shoppers will be able to place orders without leaving the apps, increasing the ability for young consumers to make quick impulse buys when they’ve been tempted by something on the platforms. TikTok just recently launched a “Shop Now” feature that could potentially push it further into the retail space in the future—and with the right hashtag and push by influencers, it could be beneficial for brands. It makes sense—after all, their feeds are being curated to their tastes thanks to super-smart algorithms that know exactly what to serve up. In our ad/marketing effectiveness survey, 70% of Gen Z told us that the last ad they saw that made them want to purchase something was on social media. That’s compared to 6% who said TV, 9% online/mobile, 5% on a streaming service. In other words, social media ads are more likely to inspire them to buy by a landslide, and we also know that Gen Z is even more likely than Millennials to browse social media to find products. But increasingly, they don’t want to have to navigate away to make those purchases—brands that want to reach Gen Z on social platforms should be sure that they have the most streamlined process for them to immediately purchase what they see if they like it. (A single click is preferred.)
Half say they’re most likely to pay attention to short video ads on social media.
Ok, so social media marketing content needs to feel organic, entertaining, and it needs to be shoppable. But there’s another vital element to reaching Gen Z specifically: when we ask what types of advertising they’re most likely to pay attention to on social media, short video content is the top type that they choose, with 47% reporting that they are most likely to pay attention to short video ads. Gen Z has grown up on YouTube, where they’ve been trained to love this type of content. This is a video-first generation. But more good news: this is actually also the top type of social media ad that Millennials say they pay attention to, so you’ll have a better shot of reaching both groups of young consumers with video content on social. It’s hardly a surprise then that short video-focused TikTok has boomed among both of these groups, and marketing on the platform has quickly become marketers’ go-to for reaching next-generation shoppers. But short video is also increasingly what they’re attracted to elsewhere as well, from Snapchat to Instagram. They’re looking for ads that engage them, entertain them, and don’t waste their time—and short videos cover all those bases.