How can you make sure your content resonates with ‘new kids on the block’ Gen Z? Spoon London content producer Stu Elleray offers his four top tips for ensuring your content wins over this all-important audience group.
For brands desperately battling to win ground on social media, making sure content is both relevant and relatable to young people is more important than ever. But before we delve into why that might be and how we might overcome the challenge, let’s first look at the newly-emerging Generation Z.
Gen Z comprises anyone aged between 12 and 22 – younger than your typical millennial but equally well-versed in the language of Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. In fact, research suggests that 45% of Gen Z are ‘almost constantly’ watching content online and spend nearly three hours a day on social media.
Gen Z are also spending more time on their mobile devices than any other generation. On average they’ll be on their mobiles for 11 hours every week and will be using their phones to stream 23 hours of video content.
It goes without saying that Gen Z are an important audience for brands globally. By 2020, they’ll account for 40% of all customers, with their buying power set to skyrocket from $44 billion to $600 billion by 2020.
So the big question is: how can you make your content Gen Z-friendly?
With insight from Media Chain’s Hannah Anderson, who shared her thoughts at Advertising Week Europe, let’s explore how to successful tailor your content to this new audience.
Lesson one: Great positioning elevates strong content
It’s one thing having great content, but if it isn’t positioned in the right way, you’ll come up short. One example of a viral video that demonstrated this was Iceland’s banned TV advert.
The ad centres on an orangutan escaping a partially destroyed forest and ending up in a small girl’s bedroom. It highlights the fact that palm oil use is causing deforestation, which in turn impacts orangutans. And, as a result, Iceland is removing all palm oil from its own-label products.
The advert captured our attention with its serious and thought-provoking focus but relatively light treatment. It also appealed to Gen Z because they’ll feel the full effects of radical changes to our environment and are arguably more concerned with issues like climate change, pollution and animal rights.
Another big reason for its success was the fact that it was banned by TV companies; by sharing it, people were rebelling against the Advertising Standards Agency and standing up publicly for an important environmental issue.
Lesson two: Create content that meets audience need
In a fast-paced digital world, getting your content published first can determine whether you end up impressing your target audience or missing the mark. And it’s no surprise to learn that Gen Z loves content related to trending topics (so being late to the party really isn’t an option).
When KFC ran out of chicken in their UK restaurants last year, competitor Burger King jumped on the news story with their very own chicken offer. This demonstrated a savvy content approach, which capitalised on the trend.
Here’s a special offer on chicken because we didn’t bucket up this week. pic.twitter.com/CTLQx1dRCc
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) February 23, 2018
Another key characteristic of Gen Z is that they really, really dislike ads – they’re more likely to scroll past ads and block them than any other age group. As a result, many brands are now using meme content to target young people.
Baskin-Robbins’ ‘Got me like’ campaign, which they launched last year, played on the popular meme saying ‘Got me like’. The bright colours, music, dance and animation conveyed an upbeat message, and came across as anything but promotional.
Lesson three: Give them a reason to care
If you can evoke some kind of emotion with your content (positive or negative), you’re well on your way to success.
A great recent example was the BBC and Media Chain campaign to promote Blue Planet II. To tailor the topic to Gen Z, Media Chain picked the most meme-able scenes and turned these into videos with funny and relatable captions. These videos were then posted across social, where they generated a staggering 7.8 million views.
Blue Planet II are spot on 😂
Posted by Student Problems on Sunday, 12 November 2017
Lesson four: An engagement? That’s a real person!
We often report on social media performance using metrics like comments and shares – and forget that every engagement is driven by a real person. Use the stats to work out what your audience does and doesn’t like. And with Gen Z consumers, remember that if you attract them early on, you might just have won yourself a fan for life.
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