Generation Z: Digital Natives are Changing the Marketing Industry

July 5th, 2017   |  

Meet Generation Z. Also dubbed “digital natives,” Gen-Z’ers are people born after the mid 90’s. They represent a staggering one fourth of the American population and are the most internet-savvy generation yet.

But they’re not millennials and be careful not to lump the two groups together. Unlike Millennials, Gen-Z’ers were born into high tech and use a total of five screens on average. That’s nearly twice as many as the Millennial’s three screens. Although the oldest Gen-Z’ers aren’t even in their 20s, they have a remarkable buying power of $44 billion. If your company targets this young demographic, you need to be up-to-date on the latest trends, lest you fall behind.

Here are the top four ways Gen Z is changing the marketing game and what you can do to keep up:

Be Mobile Friendly

Remember the days of floppy disks, flip phones, and dial-up internet? Well, Gen-Z’ers sure don’t. With the entire world wide web accessible from just about any device, most Gen-Z’ers own their first smartphone by the age of 12. For many teens, getting their first phone is an important life milestone and ranks just behind graduation and owning a car. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re the most mobile generation yet.

But this mobile-savviness means that if your company isn’t adapted to mobile, you’re not being heard by a fourth of the population. If your website looks outdated or doesn’t properly adjust to smaller screen sizes,  there’s a high chance these users will close out of the window and move on before clicking around on your site to learn more. Use this nifty tool to see if your website responds to mobile screens and don’t forget to check out the latest web design trends to make sure your site is up to date.

If you sell products or services, be sure to make them accessible online. As many large retailers like Macy’s are closing down physical store locations, online shops and sites like Amazon continue to strengthen the ecommerce industry. Generation Z plays into this trend, with two thirds preferring to make purchases online.

Use Images

When trying to speak to Generation Z, you definitely need to incorporate visual elements into your message. Your site may have persuasive and convincing content, but without some sort of image or video, Gen Z will lose interest before the end of the introduction.

In fact, the average Gen-Z’er spends three hours a day watching internet videos. That’s a tremendous amount of visual intake. Visual consumption rises even higher if you consider all the posting, liking, and sharing that goes on in social media. These teens don’t want to read about what’s happening in the world, they want to see it. Companies have a promising opportunity if they reach this demographic with a personalized visual user experience.

Be Social

The top three most popular apps for Generation Z are Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Because these teens spend so much time on social media, they prefer to watch YouTube and other online videos rather than cable TV shows. But don’t be fooled into thinking that buying a pop-up ad or 30 second YouTube commercial will guarantee you success. Gen-Z’ers have an average attention span of only 8 seconds when it comes to digital content. Rather than watching your ad while waiting for their video to load, they’ll hop on one of their other devices and browse until your commercial is done.

Use your social channels as a tool to facilitate two-way communication and engage Gen-Z. Teens love to stay connected with their friends, so why not their favorite brands, too? Answer questions, respond to concerns, and thank fans for their support. Use your channels as a tool to reach current and potential customers across all sorts of geographic distances. You’ll leave people with a smile on their face and gain a like or two along the way.

Be Authentic

Advertisers beware! You may have chosen a popular social channel and created an image-rich advertisement with eye-catching visuals… but that still might not do the trick. More than any other generation, Gen-Z wants advertisements that deliver a true and authentic message. They want to see people their age engaging in activities they like.

While celebrities may have won over people in the past, nowadays friends are the key to people’s hearts. In fact, 63% of surveyed Gen-Z’ers want to see marketing from real people. Why? It all boils down to authenticity.

Authenticity is especially important given that brand loyalty is not as strong as it used to be. Modern-day brand loyalty is complex, and companies are doing all they can to learn more and retain customers. If you’re not being real with your audience, then they’ll switch to someone else with the swipe of a finger.

Having trouble reaching Generation Z? We’re pros at creating fresh websites with modern social channels that speak to your target audience. Give us a call at 248.687.7888 or email us at to learn how we can help.

Posted in News.
Related Articles