August 30, 2016
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Enter ‘Generation Z’ – those born since 1994 who are not quite ready to be your digital buyers or target audience quite yet, but have established web habits you can learn from in order to one day capture their attention. With over 17.3% of the UK aged under 14 and many more aged under 19, there’s a huge potential market that shouldn’t be ignored.
How do they use the internet?
Generation Z as an audience is far more adept at technology than any previous generation. While millennials have adopted growing technology, Generation Z has grown up with it. According to stats from Marketo, they are great at research – with 52% using YouTube and social media for research assignments at school – which means they will be comfortable with a research process when buying products online.
The younger generation is driven and aspirational – which may be of particular interest to educational institutions and recruiters who have good online presences. The age group is 80% more likely to think they are more driven than their peers and 72% want to start their own business.
Millennials have sometimes been called the vanity generation, but Generation Z is more philanthropic, with 60% of them wanting their job to affect the world and 76% are concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet. This sustainably-minded audience also appreciates clarity, openness and honesty from a business – illustrated by the popularity of apps like Amazon Prime Now and Uber, which give users control and present full clarity on delivery times and schedules.
Clearly, marketers need to emotionally engage with this environmentally conscious audience and change their habits from ‘personalisation’ enjoyed by Millennials to a more open, honest and visible approach.
One of the most important things for SEOs and marketers to note is that Generation Z is more visually-inclined. Younger audiences are used to autocorrect and emoticons, so they’re more likely to engage with visual media. This is evidenced by them spending more time on visually-led social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. See our Snapchat marketing article for more advice on properly leveraging that platform. It’s also worth noting that privacy is preferred by the younger generation, so they are most likely to avoid the scrutiny of an increasingly tech-active older generation. They prefer apps that help retain secrecy, such as Snapchat and Whisper.
While many members of Generation Z are not yet old enough to make their own money, they are still online spenders and influencers who will be asking their parents to purchase products based on research they have done. As such, you’ll need to ensure your product is visible online.
The extensive research that Generation Z is capable of means your brand or product can’t have online weaknesses. A bad news story may dissuade a buyer – and a bad review may spell disaster. You need to consider your brand’s image from the eyes of a visually-led, scrutinising young buyer who is more than capable of using tech to find everything they need to know about your product.
You should leverage technology – as the younger generation typically uses five screens to browse the internet (such as mobile, tablet, PC, media player and smart TV.) They are a future-focused, conscious group that should be spoken to on their level, and through their chosen channels. Consider live streams and video content that is shorter in nature. You can also leverage social causes and charity endeavours to appeal to the younger generation.
Granting users control of a purchase/service or full visibility of your brand can help add a layer of perceived honesty to your business, increasing Gen Z’s trust. Whether it’s presenting an app that gives a live view of delivery time, or a more visible look at your brand’s activities, Gen Z thrives on this honesty to the user approach.
Ultimately, you need to either inspire, educate or feed their curiosity. If you don’t, you’re missing out on the decision makers of the future.
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