How to Catch Gen Z’s Attention with Your Online Ads


Snag Gen Z Attention Blog

Capturing the attention of a generation known for its eight-second attention span isn’t easy. Generation Z, or Gen Z, includes anyone born between 1997 to 2015. Just like their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z’ers have grown up in a truly digital age, surrounded by convenience, connection, and technology. They have short attention spans, value fast delivery services, and are keenly aware of social issues.

However, one thing’s for sure: This massive demographic has major buying power. Gen Z makes up 40 percent of shoppers worldwide (with 65 million people in the U.S.!), and effective Gen Z advertising can help brands tap into this vast market. 

How can brands create enticing online ads that will grab the attention of Gen Z? 

Create Unique Omnichannel Shopping Experiences

Gen Z’ers are more likely to experiment and take on new challenges. They’ll also prefer to research, read, watch videos, and connect with others online. Despite these preferences, they actually prefer visiting brick-and-mortar stores to do their shopping. That’s why offering a quick, easy, unique, and memorable online buying experience can help businesses draw in loyal Gen Z consumers to their physical locations. 

If your shopping experience doesn’t include brick-and-mortar, consider giving Gen Z consumers the in-person buying experience they love, but virtually. Augmented reality technology can let shoppers try on clothes, makeup, or hair products virtually through your brand’s app or website feature. This contactless buying experience can leave a lasting impression on young consumers, making them more likely to return in the future. They are also available through social media platforms most popular among Gen Z. In fact, a whopping 60 percent of TikTok users are Gen Z’ers, and more than 42 million Gen Z'ers use Snapchat, so make sure your omnichannel experience for Gen Z includes social commerce.

Respect Gen Z Privacy: Don’t Bombard Them with Invasive Marketing

Unlike baby boomers, Gen X, and even some Millennials, Gen Z is keenly aware of online advertising. And even though they spend an average of at least eight hours per day engaging with online content, they don’t like being bombarded with invasive ads. 

While Gen Z understands the convenience of technology, they value digital privacy and are less likely to hand over personal data to companies that may later sell it. To avoid watching unwanted ads, 65 percent of Gen Z have some type of ad-blocking software installed, while 66 percent skip online ads whenever they can. So be selective about when and how you reach out to members of Generation Z. Gen Z’ers prioritize privacy, and too many ads can turn them off, making them less likely to buy what you’re selling. 

And it’s not just Gen Z’ers—ads and consumer tracking are changing across all demographics. Next year, internet browsers will begin blocking third-party cookies, which could impact how brands gather consumer data. 

Learn about consumer-driven commerce with our guide and make sure your brand  meets consumer demand. >>

Know What Gen Z Shoppers Care About

Gen Z’ers want to make a difference—they believe their generation can positively impact the world through discussion and social change. Gen Z’ers believe they’re more open-minded than Millennials and baby boomers, and that they’re more likely than these previous generations to want to hear different opinions. 

Gen Z’ers also dislike inauthenticity—82 percent prefer to buy from brands that advertise using models who look like them, while nearly 75 percent are more likely to support a company that donates to the same social causes they believe in. Fifty-five percent of Gen Z’ers will shop at businesses that are socially responsible. 

But don’t even think about faking it—Gen Z’ers can spot inauthenticity a mile away. They know when brands aren’t being genuine, and betraying their trust can lead them to take their money elsewhere. Look at clothing retailer Aerie, which features a variety of different body types in its ads and refuses to airbrush its models. Last year, the company pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, the Victoria’s Secret brand, often criticized for promoting unrealistic body standards, saw a 28 percent drop in revenue.

Understand the Gen Z Purchase Funnel

How do you grab Gen Z attention online? Social proof! Many brands are successfully engaging Gen Z’ers during the discovery phase, or first step, of their buying journeys.

Likes and comments help elevate your brand, because this demographic prefers to listen to their friends’ advice surrounding products, services, and brands. A quick, convenient buying experience that offers promo codes, free shipping or delivery, awards, and badges can also help convince Gen Z’ers to purchase from you.

And don’t forget the power of social media influencers. Gen Z’ers are more likely to buy products based on recommendations from the influencers they follow. In fact, 44 percent have done so, versus 26 percent of the overall population.

Ready to Reach Gen Z with Impactful, Memorable Online Advertising?

Gen Z’ers are digitally savvy, wary of invasive advertising, and want to give back to important causes. They can spot inauthenticity in seconds, and are eager to support brands with values and goals that align with their own. 

Brands that recognize the importance of understanding their consumers can optimize their shopping experience. Although cookies are one way businesses can gather this vital information, there are other methods that are just as effective. In fact, gathering your own first-party data can be one of the most powerful ways to get an end-to-end, holistic view of the consumer shopping journey, and provide your shoppers with the flexibility to get what they want the way they want it.

Ready to get your Gen Z advertising campaign started? Learn how MikMak can help you reach more Gen Z buyers. Read our eBook Consumer Driven Commerce: What Brands Need to Know About the Deprecation of Cookies.


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