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Marketers: Is this a Gen Z?

Millennials tend to get all of the media’s attention, but in between that generation’s attempts to spend all their money on avocados and kill mayonnaise, Generation Z has been quietly coming into its own. Mediassociates invests heavily in researching media trends among Gen Z (born 1995 to 2015), and we’ve restructured our media offerings in the past several years around digital, mobile, social, and geo-data to speak specifically to these audiences.

Why is understanding Gen Z important? This generation now accounts for 24% of the world’s population, and in the United States, Gen Z controls about $148 billion in annual spending power. It’s not just the future. Gen Z has arrived and is vital for today’s marketing results.

This younger generation is particularly crucial in the higher-education field. What we find interesting is that so many colleges and universities—whose futures depend on attracting Gen Z—are out of sync with youth’s modern media habits. The American Marketing Association recently addressed these trends at its Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education; here are some takeaways:

1. Affordability is a bigger concern for Gen Z than prior cohorts. Colleges and universities should be adding creative that speaks to affordability and value of their degree.

2. Social media is the best way to reach this audience, but you have to think beyond Facebook. Are your campaigns running on Instagram Stories? What is your Snapchat strategy? How about TikTok?

3. Online video needs to be a part of your TV strategy. Want to reach Gen Z as well as their parents? To do so, you’ll need a strategy that includes a mix of television, streaming, and online video.

4. Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse cohort in the U.S., at 55% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% African American, 4% Asian, 4% multi-racial. Do you have a media strategy that reflects this diversity?

5. In 2018 95% of U.S. teens report they use a smartphone, up from 73% in 2015. Mobile is now ubiquitous among Gen Z and your ad units must reflect that. Does your video look good on an iPhone? Are you incorporating GIFs? Memes?

Generational shifts combined with a constantly changing media landscape require marketers to stay on their toes. The new, new thing is just around the corner. Are you ready for it?

Don’t know your snaps from TikTok? Don’t know if this is a pigeon? We can help with that.