September 29, 2021

4 Insights for Marketing to Gen Z

By Audacy Insights Team

To succeed, brands and content creators need to meet Gen Z where they are

Gen Z is rapidly becoming the most important demographic in marketing. They’re young, digitally savvy, brand-conscious, and, contrary to popular belief, they have money to spend.

We recently hosted a Gen Z panel discussion with our friends from Tinder to share the most important insights for brands marketing to Gen Z. If your brand can master these key priorities, they can capture the interest and engagement of the youngest marketing demo today.

1. Remember That Authenticity is Key

Authenticity is paramount for Gen Z. Each subsequent generation grows more aware of media and advertising than the last, and Gen Z is more attuned to media messaging than any group in history. They have high standards—they want content like podcasts to deliver purposeful and impactful interactions, and they respond especially well to socially engaged projects. But that messaging has to feel true to the voices delivering it and the brand behind it.

The number one word that comes to mind when I think about Gen Z, interacting with them and marketing to them on a daily basis, is ‘Transparency’. They are the most media-literate generation of all time… They want to be a part of the show. They want to be a part of the media that they consume.

Kevan Kenney
On-Air Personality, Audacy

2. Be Inclusive

Gen Z values inclusivity, in every sense of the word. It’s deeply important to Gen Z that the content they consume creates a warm, welcoming environment that doesn’t exclude anyone based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. They tend to reject labels and embrace fluidity. 78% of BIPOC Gen Z consumers say that “brands have a responsibility to represent all races and ethnicities in their marketing and communications.” And you can’t fake it with banner ads or a press release; your brand has to walk the talk, because if they don’t, Gen Z will be able to tell.

[Gen Z] is deeply inclusive. They’re deeply empathetic. It’s a very ‘do you’ culture… They’re also embracers of spontaneity. Really interested in opening themselves up to a range of experiences, all in the name of self-discovery… Ultimately, we need to be a brand champion of that journey of self-discovery.

Perry Howell
North American Media Lead, Tinder

3. Go Where They Are

There’s no doubt that social media looms large with Gen Z. But this group’s consumption is a lot more nuanced than that. They love video. They love audio. They care more about great content than they do about channel. These teens and young adults follow their favorite stars, trends, or music across platforms… often to Radio and Podcasts.

Audio is one of the best ways available to reach Gen Z – 96% of Gen Z listens to audio every day. A key insights for brands is to remember that Gen Z cares about what’s at the core – Customizing channels and messaging opportunities to reach them through influencers or shows they care about builds trust.

Rather than saying, let’s dip our toe into podcasts, it’s which podcasts really make sense, or which influencers or voices do they really want to hear from, rather than looking at the whole channel.

Perry Howell
North American Media Lead, Tinder

4. Understand What Matters to Gen Z

As I’m sure it’s clear by now, Gen Z are not just little Millennials. They consumer media and content differently than older generations. Brands are looking to understand what Gen Z cares about when it comes to content and messaging:

  • They love to be first, and value micro-influencers and local connections.
  • They prefer shorter, unscripted off-the-cuff content.
  • They carve out a larger role for female hosts.
  • Influencers move the needle. Pair up with like-minded hosts to create connections.

All these factors make Gen Z a unique demographic, but it’s important to remember that every demographic has its own unique qualities. If your brand wants to connect with any audience, they need to research and deliver on that audience’s interests. In the words of Audacy on-air personality Kevan Kenney, “The product that’s going to respect the audience the most is going to win and lead, be it a podcast, a TikTok, or a Radio show.” Finding a media partner that respects Gen Z’s wants and needs is the best way to connect with the generation that will define the future of advertising.

For a deeper dive into all of these trends, the latest research and more, catch the replay of Audacy’s Marketing to Gen Z webinar.

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

Let´s Talk

Whistle Wise quantitative online survey, Sept 2020

Audacy’s How to Engage Gen Z with Audio study, 2021

Edison Share of Ear CUME Listening; Q2 2021

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