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Authenticity, creativity, interactivity: How to target your content to Gen Z

Authenticity, creativity, interactivity: How to target your content to Gen Z

Wednesday, November 08, 2023
Valerie Berthout

By 2026, it’s estimated that Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) will surpass millennials as the world’s largest consumer base. With younger people increasingly calling the shots in the consumer industry, it is not only smart but crucial to appeal to their interests and values in order to drive marketing growth.

If you’re looking to grab the attention of Gen Z—and you most definitely should be—here are a few things to consider when crafting your content marketing strategy.

Understand and support Gen Z’s values

Although Gen Z is highly involved in the digital world, their interests also lie in the physical world—specifically, they are more likely to speak up for their values to elicit change in the world around them.

While they may not expect every product or business to be part of a global movement, they do want to see businesses go beyond basic corporate social responsibility and truly make a change in their communities and within their own companies.

92% of Gen Z prefer to support an ethical and authentic brand
Source: DigitalCommons@LindenwoodUniversity 

With this in mind, brands need to aim for authentic and real over polished perfection. After all, this is a generation that’s far more willing to embrace imperfect selfies, and they want to see the raw elements of your business too. They want candid photo captions far more than posed pictures or filters.

Despite the fact that the latter part of the current generation has not yet entered adulthood, Gen Z wields significant influence in the market. However, having come of age during a time marked by geopolitical and financial uncertainty, they typically adopt a saving-oriented mindset instead of a spending one—so it’s going to take extra effort, authenticity, and creativity to win them over. This is an opportunity for brands to consider how they can show (not just talk about) the underlying value of their products or services.

Be present on the right social media platforms

Knowing where to target your content is vital. For Gen Z, it’s social media. Finding the right platform is step one, but it’s equally important to tailor your content for each space to ensure it resonates with your audience. Each social channel has a specific purpose, with varying preferences, expectations, and behaviors exhibited by its users.

93% of Gen Z spend an average of four hours daily on social media
28% bought a product through a social media app in the last six months

Source: Statista

So, what social media platforms do Gen Z use the most? In the US, the top three is YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok:

Social media reach among Gen Z; a chart based on research by Comscore.
Source: ComScore

Though not the most popular platform (yet), TikTok is experiencing the fastest growth in users. As its popularity continues to rise, it is one of the best platforms to engage Gen Z.

63% of Gen Z use TikTok every day; 45% three or more hours a day
Source: YPulse

Even so, mastering the dynamics of this relatively new social platform is proving to be a hurdle for even the most seasoned marketers. If you want to effectively capture the attention of Gen Z TikTok users, make sure you:

  • Grab their attention instantly: TikTok audiences swiftly scroll through content, so it’s vital to start speech within the first three seconds and maintain a friendly, personal tone throughout.
  • Use music to infuse energy: Stimulate their senses with attention-grabbing music right from the start.
  • Create a personal connection: Don’t publish anything that feels like a traditional advert. Instead, foster one-on-one conversations so each user feels like a valued guest. Generation Z prefers genuine interactions; they want a glimpse behind the scenes, to understand your company’s personality, and to feel like they are integral members of your community.

Be creative and diversify your content formats

Gen Z is constantly posting on their preferred digital platforms. With so many users out there creating engaging content, why not utilize their talents and feature user-generated content (UGC) in your own content marketing?

Interactive marketing, in fact, is an effective way to engage Gen Z online. Polls, challenges, and UGC campaigns resonate well with Gen Z’s desire for genuine experiences. By actively involving them, brands can tap into their collective creativity and authenticity, creating a sense of belonging.

This approach not only strengthens brand loyalty but also enhances brand visibility as Gen Z tends to share their experiences organically. Interactive marketing also allows real-time feedback, enabling businesses to adapt swiftly to changing preferences. It fosters a sense of community, where Gen Z feels heard and valued, ensuring long-term brand advocacy and sustained market relevance.

50% of Gen Z see online interactions as meaningful replacement to in-person experiences
Source: Deloitte, Media Industry Trends 2023

For younger generations, online experiences have become a meaningful part of their lives; chart based on research by Deloitte Insights.Source: Deloitte Insights

Redefine influencer marketing

Generation Z’s trust in influencers is a nuanced blend of skepticism and recognizing authenticity. Unlike older generations, Gen Z approaches influencers with a discerning eye, valuing genuine connections over mere endorsements. They seek relatability, transparency, and social responsibility. Authenticity is paramount; if influencers align with their values and passions, Gen Z is more likely to trust their recommendations. Trust further deepens when influencers openly share both positive and negative experiences, making them appear more human and relatable—one of the factors behind the rise of microinfluencers.

Social awareness, ethical practices, and genuine engagement are pivotal factors shaping this trust dynamic. Influencers who embody these traits foster a profound trust relationship, becoming influential voices that Gen Z genuinely respects and follows.

67% of consumers trust influencers over brands
Source: Statista

Need further help for your Gen Z content strategy?

Underlining it all, thorough research is essential to effectively target and appeal to Gen Z audiences. Understanding their demographics, behaviors, and interests is fundamental.

Whether you plan to create individual content pieces or develop a full-scale campaign for Gen Z, we’re here to assist. Our content strategists specialize in tailoring content to resonate with specific audiences, including the upcoming generation. Connect with DAC today to start building your content strategy of tomorrow.


Valerie Berthout
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