Written by Hannah Sears

As every good marketer knows, demographics play a key role in determining marketing tactics and strategies. Understanding what a target audience cares about, what platforms they use, and what content they respond to can make or break your ability to connect with them and convert them into brand loyalists.

For the last several years, there has been a lot of (positive and negative) focus on Millennials. But now, Gen Z is on the rise and they need to be part of your influencer marketing strategy. Here’s an overview of Gen Z and why you need to include them in your planning for influencer marketing campaigns.

How Gen Z is shaping the future

Generation Z, or Gen Z, is made up of people born after 1996. The oldest members of this group will turn 23 this year, meaning a solid percentage of them are of voting age (at least in the U.S). Many of them are politically active and they can now make a direct impact on the political landscape of the future. 

Gen Z cares about sustainability — from the clothing they wear to the food they eat — and they want to make a difference. They’re interested in brands that are cruelty-free, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. This extends to the packaging that brands use for their products. 

This generation also prioritizes authenticity and representation in marketing more than the generations before them. 63% of Gen Z want to see real people in ads instead of celebrities. Compared to Millennials, they prefer face-to-face interactions over email or text messaging.

To reach this demographic effectively, marketers need to know what makes Gen Z tick — and what makes them different from other generations when it comes to marketing tactics. 

Why Gen Z matters (even for luxury brands)

While Gen Z is younger and many of them are new to the workforce, their buying power can’t be overlooked. By 2021, they’re predicted to make up 31% of the population, and they’ve already surpassed the Baby Boomer generation to become the largest generation in America. What does this mean? At a high level, it means Gen Z makes up a large percentage of the market of potential customers. Ignoring them means missing out on revenue, based on incorrect assumptions about how they spend their money. 

Compared to older population demographics, Gen Z is more driven by money and attracted to brands with a high perceived value and status. Luxury and prestige logos are back in style with this generation, who are more focused on fitting in and following trends than Millennial and Gen X. Even during the pandemic, when many of them have been economically impacted by COVID-19, Gen Z wants to see luxury advertising, with over 40% saying they want targeted advertising from luxury or non-essential brands. 

Ignoring or misunderstanding Gen Z can have a negative impact on your revenue. But reaching this generation is easy, once you understand where they spend time online and what content appeals to them. 

What platforms should you focus on?

Gen Z is digitally native — even more than Millennials — and they’re extremely comfortable online, especially on mobile.  They use social media differently than previous generations, preferring YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram over Facebook. In the last few years, TikTok has also become extremely popular with Gen Z. 

These platforms are all highly visual, so creating content that is image-based and eye-catching is key for attracting Gen Z. Bite-sized video is also a huge part of these platforms — Gen Z spends more time on YouTube than they do watching streaming videos on platforms like Netflix.  

A benefit for marketers is that these platforms are already popular for influencer marketing. Influencer marketing became popular with Millennials, but Gen Z is equally happy to discover new products from influencers. Gen Z cares about authenticity even more than previous generations, and they want to see real people represented in advertising and on social media. 

Partner with influencers who understand the Gen Z sense of humor and style and who are adept at creating highly visual photos and engaging videos on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. 

Gen Z is the new demographic to watch. They’re not only growing up, but they make up a large percentage of the population and are ready to put their purchasing power to work. Reaching Gen Z is all about focusing on what they care about and recognizing what holds their interest. They care about sustainability and being eco-friendly, and they have an established aversion to traditional advertising. They want to see real, authentic content from the people and the brands they follow. 

A truly digitally native generation, they spend a lot of time online, particularly on smartphones. Their preferred platforms are heavily based on visual content like photos and bite-sized video instead of length text posts. When putting together your next influencer marketing campaign, don’t forget about Gen Z in your influencer marketing strategy!

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