Pinning down the exact age ranges that define a generation can be tricky and there’s certainly some disagreement and overlap. The distinction between millennials (generation Y) and generation Z is sometimes debated but almost all agree that there is a distinction and marketers trying to target younger demographics need to be aware of that distinction and use different approaches to reach generation Z.
While it’s not an exact science, we can try to come up with a rough approximation of what constitutes generation Z to better understand the demographic. Millennials are born in the 80’s or the very early 90s and are reaching their teen years around the turn of the millennium. They didn’t grow up with cell phones or even the internet but they quickly caught on to them.
Generation Z on the other hand never lived a day without cellphones and they’ve inhabited the world wide web practically since birth. Though they’re the youngest generation and many are still without jobs, they already have about $44 billion in purchasing power and that number is about to explode as they enter the work force. Most relevant of all to mobile marketers: they spend nearly three quarters of their free time online. You won’t need to persuade to get online, but you will have to work hard to get their attention while they’re there. Here are a few tips.
Snapchat is the social network/messaging platform of choice for generation Z. Facebook is a tried and true social network that’s always a safe bet but if your target demographic is generation Z then you absolutely must be using Snapchat. Nearly 80% of generation Z report using Snapchat at least once a day and about half say they use it on average 11 times per day.
Instagram is very similar to snapchat; in fact it launched soon after Snapchat in an attempt to replicate what made Snapchat popular. And it worked, Instagram currently has 40 million more users than Snapchat. And since older generations don’t really understand the appeal of Snapchat and Instagram, their user bases are younger.
Mobile devices are an important part of millennials’ lives. They’re the air generation Z breathes. The digital lives of those in generation Z exist almost exclusively on smartphones. Many of them will only use a computer for school work but when it comes to everything else whether it’s consuming video content, social media, shopping, or just browsing the web, they’re doing it on a mobile phone. Mobile channels are paramount and SMS marketing needs to be a foundational part of your marketing campaigns.
Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse population in human history. If your brand only reflects one race you not only miss out on the many other ethnicities that make up generation Z in America but you risk losing the majority race as well who might see your advertising campaign as narrow-minded at best and racist at worst.
You need to know what generation Z thinks is cool (they would probably say “lit”) and you need to know who they think is cool since they’re the influencers that can help your brand get recognized among generation Z.
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