Technology is now vital for communication, entertainment and education. Our world has become so reliant on the internet and digital technology that most of Generation Z (those born in the years 1996 to 2009) doesn't even know what the world was like before the internet. In fact, 44% of Gen Z check their social media channels at least hourly, with 7% checking in every fifteen minutes.

With Gen Z growing up in the digital age and digital sensations dominating their screens, it is harder than ever to grab their attention. In fact, Gen Zers have an 8-second attention span; this is shorter than millennial attention spans, which are 12 seconds long on average. Many believe Gen Z's short attention span is because they were born into a world of immediate answers and infinite choices.

Spotify's recent report "Culture Next" explains in-depth how Gen Z is unlike any other Generation due to "their skills as digital natives." Technology is so overbearing in the world today that 64% of Gen Z believe that online aesthetics have altered what their generation expects to see in the real world. Not only do they expect change in society, but 66% also expect brands to be a part of the big change; to promote progressive values to onlookers and play a meaningful role in communities. When Gen Z and Millennials were asked to choose which ideals brands should include in their messaging, their top picks were honesty, equality and freedom.

With this eye-opening information about how Gen Z feels about the digital age, and what changes they wish to see in society, how can you make a change? How can you captivate Gen Z's attention? Never fear, TBits is here! We've highlighted 5 ways you can capture Gen Z's 8-second attention span through digital ads.

Lure the Audience

From music festivals to sports games, one thing in certain for Gen Z: engaging them right away. Avoid wordy advertisements. For example, if an ad for an upcoming event appeared on a Gen Zer's social media feed with loads of writing and just a picture to supplement it, they would just quickly scan it and then move on right away. There are tons of ads always on the internet, so you must make yours unique. Lure fans in with an engaging advertisement, something that that can physically draw in the reader, call them to action and make them remember what they saw. For instance, you could incorporate TikTok (one of Gen Z's most favourite apps) into your advertising strategy, which would guarantee their full attention in seconds. Make your audience feel like they can relate to the ad instead of feeling disconnected from it. TikTok's success is indicating a continued movement away from the glossy, carefully posed "Instagram Aesthetic" and more towards Gen Z's preference for authenticity shown in fun and creative content.

Make it Easily Shareable

It is crucial to make sure your online ads are shareable. People constantly being on their phones means that they are always in contact with close friends. Allowing your fans to share ads digitally is the easiest way to spread your ad. It will also be less work for you because once you capture one fan and pique their interest, they will then share it with their friends who have similar interests. Creating a domino effect and allowing your ad to spread like wildfire, generating organic leads.

A great example of this is the Always #likeagirl campaign that turned the "like a girl" insult into a hashtag of strength. Women everywhere responded to this ad, going viral with multiple re-posts.

Incorporate Popular Trends

Be sure to pay attention to the trends that come and go while advertising or selling something specific. You may find the perfect trend to use in your advertising, but before you know it, a new trend hits the internet, and the trend your jumping on is already old news.

Gen Zers love it when people understand them. This means that if you put out an ad that a younger audience won't find relatable or easy to understand, they will ignore it and move on. However, when Gen Z sees something that is relatable and entertaining, that is when they stop and take in what they are seeing. For example, Chipotle is an example of a brand that uses TikTok to engage with the younger demographic and promote their food. With over 55k fans, Chipotle's TikTok videos creatively use music, memes and references to highlight their food menu items. In celebration of Chipotle's #oneyearofTikToknanniversary, Chipotle released a video showing tortilla chips propped around a bowl of guacamole with the popular Adele song 'Someone Like You' playing in the clip. The specific sound bite they used has fans singing back to Adele, so Chipotle created the video to represent the chips singing to the guacamole. This is an example of a comedic and engaging way to engage Gen Z fans with your brand.

Advertise Through Popular Networks

Capturing the attention of Gen Z will require the use of the latest and hottest apps. TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitch are this generation's favourite networks, with TikTok and Instagram being the most popular.

TikTok - This app boasts 800 million monthly active users, with people spending 46 minutes on the app a day. 69% of TikTok's users are 16 to 24 years old, so if you're looking to capture a younger audience, this is it. Your promotion or ad will get the most publicity through this app. For example, many sports teams are starting their own TikTok accounts. As a result, sports teams are gaining more publicity and better engagement with their female fans. In fact, TikTok's audience is 60% female; therefore, TikTok is a vital platform to be on to reach females specifically.

Instagram - The second most popular app with Gen Z. Used by many Gen Z on the daily, this app is ideal for advertising to a younger demographic. With Instagram's new updates, you can now sell products through the app. Many brands are taking advantage of this feature, including several sports teams. For instance, the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers team uses shoppable posts on Instagram. This has also directed fans on Instagram to their online shopping page. The shoppable posts feature on Instagram exposes your brand merchandise to a large audience since there are so many daily users on Instagram.

Snapchat - Although it is not as popular as TikTok and Instagram, it is still an excellent app for advertising. Many Gen Zers are on it daily, using it multiple times a day to keep up their 'snap scores', making Snapchat an ideal platform for reaching Gen Z with ads. As of March of 2019, Snapchat reached 90% of all 13 to 24-year-olds and 75% of all 13 to 34-year-olds in the US.. Snapchat's filters are a great way to promote your brand. For example, during Super Bowl 50, Gatorade had a custom Snapchat filter for football fans to use. The #GatoradeDunk lens stimulated users being "dunked" with their drink. Serena Williams (one of Gatorade's sponsored athletes) to star in an ad to promote the filter. The Snapchat campaign was very successful, with more than 170 million views in total.

Twitch - A live streaming video platform that has recently branched out to music, games, sports talk shows, and so much more! With over 50 million daily active users on Twitch for an average of 95 minutes per day, you are bound to reach a large amount of Generation Z. Especially since Twitch is starting to expand into the music and sports industries. One way to advertise on Twitch is through influencer marketing. Many brands are now sponsoring popular Twitch streamers to reach the millions of Gen Zers on the platform. Twitch influencers dominate Twitch and have many loyal fans. There are several ways you can advertise through a Twitch Stream to reach these fans, this includes: on-stream logos, ads on a streamer's info section graphics, chatbots during a stream, and title text. Snickers' "You're Not You When You're Hungry" Twitch campaign is an example of a successful campaign that ran on the platform. In this campaign, Snickers had Twitch streamers play games more uncharacteristically poorly the hungrier they were. This was a comedic and entertaining way to advertise to Gen Z.

With all these networks in mind, its good to balance what you want to promote and what type of people you want to attract. Statistics about the networks give a lot away in terms of what kind of people use the apps and help you figure which are the best for reaching your fans.

Partner with Micro-Influencers

Who are Micro-Influencers? They are people who have earned a social media following of 10k to 50k. Influencers are significant to Gen Z culture, in fact, 70% of Gen Z teenage YouTube subscribers, relate to YouTube creators rather than traditional celebrities. Therefore, YouTube alone will give you the attention you need from those of Gen Z. In addition, research reveals that over 44% of respondents have tried a recommendation from a digital creator, in comparison to 36% of those who have tried products promoted by celebrities. Micro-Influencers are an effective way to connect your brand with an audience that was previously off-limits. For example, Coco-Cola partnered with micro-influencer Miette Dierckx. With more than 35k followers on Instagram, travel and food influencer, Miette regularly posts photos of herself with a coke in hand. Coco-Cola benefits from this long term relationship with Miette and will gain expansion with her followers over time. Influencer marketing has become one of the most popular ways to promote brands to Gen Z. The majority of Instagram and YouTube celebrities are always signing partnerships with brands nowadays.

The Take Away

What does all this information mean to your brand? Test out engaging on new platforms and focus on positivity and change for the better. This is what Gen Z wants to see in brands.

You only have 8 seconds to capture the attention of the large and crucial audience that is Generation Z. It can be challenging to know what will engage your fans. However, if you use all five of our tips in your advertising, the younger generation will be captivated by what you present. By getting to know your fans, you will be able to create ads that will exceed their expectations and capture their attention.

Brands who understand where this generation is coming from and where they're headed will be better equipped to connect in a real way with this audience and grow their business at the same time.

Not sure where to start with advertising to your Generation Z fans? Contact us for a free consultation.

This post was written by a guest blogger: Uma Kaler - High School Student

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