If Generation Z Isn’t Part of Your Mobile Strategy, You’re Already Behind the Eight Ball

June 23, 2017 | Article written by Carly Morris

Here’s a question for any advertiser that’s struggling to reach new users: are you targeting Generation Z?

If not, then it’s time for you to start.

First and foremost, Gen Z is the demographic of people born in or after the year 1996. This generation currently makes up the largest percentage of the US population and already contributes $44 billion to the American economy.

The new cohort is just beginning to enter adulthood, make their way into the world, and gain real purchasing power, so the time is ripe for developing lasting brand affinities and digital habits.

Of course it’s important to engage users from every demographic group, but while everyone else is still focused on how to engage their Millennial audience, they’re missing out on the massive opportunity that is Generation Z.

But are they really so different from other generations?

Yes. And knowing the key differences is critical to developing a successful strategy for years to come.

So, let’s break down what makes Gen Z unique.


Defining Traits:

Digital Dependents
Gen Z-ers were born into a high-tech world, and more than 90% of them already have a digital footprint. Growing up with technology as the norm, it’s not surprising that they often find it difficult to go without.

Not only is this generation fluent in digital communication, but 40% say they’re actually addicted to their computers and smartphones – that’s a full 25% more than Millennials.

Great Expectations
Digital is a native language for Generation Z and they know its intricacies better than anyone; they know what to expect, what’s seems fishy, and what a quality experience looks like.

On the one hand, this grants marketers access to an extremely active mobile audience, more than ¾ of which spends between 1-10 hours engaging with their devices each day.

On the other hand, it makes them all the more demanding about their mobile experience. Slow, laggy, or low quality performance immediately strikes them as abnormal, and they won’t hesitate to abandon the process and continue searching elsewhere.

Their perception for quality content also makes Gen Z-ers less likely to interact with advertisements. Recent polls found that only 59% have followed a digital ad before making a purchase, as compared to 71% of Millennials.

Money Mellow
While Generation Z can be a more challenging audience to impress, the payoff for successful engagement is well worth the effort. That’s because Gen Z is less cost-concerned than the generations before them, and 60% more likely to be impulse shoppers.

Keep in mind that Millennials and Baby Boomers had to get frugal in the wake of major recessions, while Gen Z-ers have only seen the wave of economic recovery.

In fact, less than half of Gen Z internet users go online to search for coupons (compared to nearly 70% of Millennials), and 60% are happy to pay more for added conveniences like expedited delivery.


Here’s Where You Can Reach Them:

With all of the factors that set them apart as a unique new audience, it should come as no surprise that their digital pastimes are different as well.

For Generation Z, social is everything.

According to Fluent, 78% spend most of their mobile time engaging with social media apps, followed by messaging at 47%, music at 43%, gaming at 27%, and travel with 26%.

In terms of regular engagement however, YouTube comes out on top for 84% of Gen Z, with 95% of respondents claiming that they can’t live without it. This generation is up to 70% more likely to watch at least one YouTube video per day, while 42% report watching 6-15 videos daily, and another 22% watch more than 20.

For advertisers, the best part of this intense social loyalty is that over 2/3 of the demographic is also interested in purchasing through social media directly.

On top of purchases, 44% use social channels for product inspiration, and another 37% have actually increased their recent engagement for the purpose of product research.

And, true to their innovative form, the means by which Gen Z-ers choose to shop is also unique.

Today almost ¾ of Generation Z shoppers are interested in subscription-style offerings, 71% are interested in auto-replenishing programs, and 38% are excited to try voice-activated ordering.


Here’s How to Do It:

Ok, that was a lot of numbers. Let’s recap on what it all means for you:
Generation Z: Is extremely tech savvy. They’re spending lots of time online – to the point where many consider themselves addicted. They’re a highly engaged audience, but incredibly discerning when it comes to a quality experience.

You should: Aim to reach them where they’re already spending most of their time. Look at new opportunities in social, messaging, music, gaming, and travel for starters, and open yourself up to testing innovative new ad types that actively enhance their overall experience.

Generation Z: Cannot live without YouTube. They rely on video for everything from news, to entertainment, to recommendations and how-to info.

You should: Hone in on their love for video, both on and off YouTube. There are always exciting new ways to integrate stronger video content into your marketing strategy.

Generation Z: Is more social than ever. They spend most of their online time engaging with social apps, and they even want to shop directly from their feeds.

You should: Recognize that this is a golden opportunity. You know what they want and where to reach them, so get focused on bringing your conversion process intra-network, and offer ample opportunity to explore and shop from there directly.

Generation Z: Is pushing the limits of innovation. They’re always looking at what’s next on the horizon and how they can try it out themselves. They feel they can take bigger risks on new approaches because they’re less financially cautions than generations before.

You should: Offer them the quality they need and the intrigue they crave. Remember that it’s okay if it needs to come at a slightly higher price point. Also keep an eye on big new shifts in eCommerce. Can you integrate trends like subscription models, auto-replenishing, or voice ordering? Why not give it a shot?

Because Gen Z is still young, this all represents a relatively new opportunity for advertisers. Remember that it’s important to run some extensive testing before you can expect to get it right.

The best thing you can do is collect some background on who you’re trying to reach and how you can reach them.

The worst thing you can do is use their label to evaluate every member in the same light. Generation Z, Post-Millennials, iGen, Centennials, Founders, Plurals, or whatever you call the cohort following Millennials – at the end of the day they can’t all be painted with the same brush.

Just like other demographics, every user is unique and some things will always engage one segment better than another. In the end it’s all about making the effort to create a pleasant and relevant mobile experience every time.