Being able to evolve and adapt to changing conditions is an integral part of operating any business. Specifically, in the world of advertising and marketing, we’ve seen some pretty drastic changes over the past two decades. Credit that to the Internet boom.
Millennials were the last era of youngsters to grow up without the technology that exists in today’s world. They were also the first era to be propelled into the Internet age where technological advancements were happening at lightning speed. To keep up, companies had to shift from their more conventional ways of advertising (ie. print ads, billboards, snail mail, etc.) to a more digital approach. If you embraced the change, you thrived. If you resisted the change, well you were probably left in the dust.
Today, it seems that we are entering a new era of advertising. Enter Generation-Z. They are the newcomers to the marketplace and with that, they bring an entirely new level of challenges for marketers. Here are some of their tendencies and behaviors to be aware of as we move forward to 2017 and the future.
Shorter than ever attention spans
Go to any public place - shopping malls, parks, restaurants - you will notice that everyone is glued to smart-phones almost 24/7. Some people might look at this negatively, but it’s just a function of how the world is now. Technology is embedded in everything. Our brains are adapting to take in more information at a much more rapid pace.
Some companies have successfully catered to this already. For example, Snapchat users are only able to send short video clips of 10 seconds or less. It’s not coincidence that Snapchat has become one of the most used social media apps out there today by Gen-Z. Companies will have to use a similar strategy in their marketing plans moving forward. It’s either you grab their attention quickly, or you’ve lost them as a potential customer. And they aren’t just the first to go after the short attention spans. According to Forbes, some of the most popular apps for Gen-Z users include Tinder, Whisper, and Yik-Yak. Instagram Stories all take advantage of short, quick bursts of content that keep the user continuously engaged with variety.
Influencers becoming more prevalent
Gen-Z is more influenced by star power than any other generation. There’s a reason why so many kids want new Jordan’s. When teens see Selena Gomez taking a sip of her Diet Coke, you can bet they’ll buy one with their next meal. Influencers with thousands, sometimes millions of followers, are flooding social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. It’s extremely advantageous to utilize them in your advertising strategy. Keep in mind that you should make sure that the influencer falls in line with your brand. You want to attract the right type of audience and consumer; so be smart with which influencers you decide to use.
Some of those social influencers have popped into mainstream media including CNN acquiring mobile video app Beme, co-founded by Casey Neistat, one of the most widely-followed videomakers on YouTube. IISuperwomanII popped up on Jimmy Fallon and her YouTube segments amassed over a combined 12M views. Variety’s independent survey found that U.S. teenagers are more enamored with YouTube stars than they are the biggest celebrities in film, TV and music. More Gen-Z users favored comedians Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla as the top pick over Jennifer Lawrence and Seth Rogan.
The image below of the “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign with Selena Gomez was the most liked image in Instagram history. The image boasted 4.4 million likes and more than 170,000 comments. The value for Coke? Well according to D'Marie Group, that post was estimated at $550,000. Frank Spadafora, CEO of D'Marie Group, described the methodology behind Gomez's $550,000 figure: "The rate-per-post is her 'ad equivalent' value per post across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and it likely will increase. Gomez's audience is also ever-expanding by an average of 200k fans daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Desktops are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Starting in 2014, mobile devices finally took over desktops and laptops as the leader in internet usage. People do everything on their phones now - shop online, research, order food - they even watch TV and movies on their phones. This is even more prevalent with Millennials and Gen-Z. If companies haven’t already, they need to take on a “mobile first” mentality. Optimizing your websites for mobile use for all phones is paramount, or your customers will move on to your competitors. Also if it makes sense for your company, develop apps for your products or services. Being as mobile friendly as possible is essential for reaching Gen-Z.
More informed buyers
There is literally nothing that Gen-Z can’t find on the internet. When deciding to purchase a product or service, they will research everything there is to know about it. In fact, 44% of consumers always research products online before purchasing in-store. Additionally, word of mouth is powerful tool in today’s economy. Gen-Z are more inclined to take the advice from friends and other people on social media. A single negative review of your product or service could tarnish your brand. This goes for customer service on social channels as well. 83% of social media customer service users have walked away from a purchase after a bad experience. With all of this information so easily accessible, it’s important to monitor and interact with all of your brand’s social platforms. It’s imperative to be constantly raising the bar and providing a superior online consumer experiences.
It’s a lot to take in, but companies need to realize the trends that are happening right before them. There is a new generation of consumers ready to take over the marketplace. They are savvy shoppers, informed decision makers, and operate with a “get to the point” mentality. If you’re not ready for them, they’ll pass you by like a Snapchat story.