Gen Z, the generation of individuals born between 1997 and 2012, is fast-becoming the demographic with the greatest purchasing power. As of 2022, there were 65 million Gen Zers in the United States with $360 billion in disposable income. This makes Gen Z the third biggest generational group in the country, accounting for more than 20% of the population. By 2025, Gen Z will surpass Gen X in total number of digital buyers. 

Considering the growing purchasing power and mobile-first habits of Gen Z, it’s important for all brands to understand how to engage and entice this generation with mobile advertising. Below, we cover how to market to Gen Z based on their mobile engagement behavior.

Gen Z’s mobile usage trends 

Nearly all Gen Z individuals around the world own a smartphone. According to GlobalWebIndex, 98% of Gen Zers own a mobile device. What’s more, Gen Zers spend, on average, 9 hours of screen time per day. This includes engaging with smartphones along with video game consoles, iPads and e-readers. For comparison, the average individual spends 6 hours and 58 minutes per day engaging with a screen.

But just because they spend inordinate amounts of time looking at a screen doesn’t mean Gen Z is necessarily more inclined to engage with mobile ads. Sixty-nine percent of this mobile-savvy generation reports physically avoiding ads by either scrolling past them or using ad-blocking technology. 

What’s more, Gen Z’s attention spans are very short — only 8 seconds to be exact. This makes video content particularly useful when trying to engage this generation. In fact, 91% of Gen Z prefer video to other marketing formats. Research has also found that Gen Z watches over an hour of video content per day.

Gen Z’s most used social media platforms

According to a survey by Morning Consult, in terms of social media platforms, YouTube is Gen Z’s most-used platform. Eighty-eight percent of the time Gen Z spends on YouTube is spent specifically on the YouTube app.

GenZ Usage

Source: Later

Rounding out the top three most-used social media platforms was Instagram at 76% and TikTok at 68%.

The majority of Gen Z (54%) spends more than 4 hours a day on social media platforms. This usage is more than double the rate of most U.S. adults.

How Gen Z relates to brands

A brand’s mission, purpose and values are much more important to Gen Z than older demographics. In fact, Gen Z is 3x more likely than older generations to believe a company should have a role in improving society. In terms of Gen Z’s political and social views, consider the following survey stats: 

  • Gen Z believes in LGBTQIA+ rights. Sixty percent of Gen Zers think same-sex couples should be able to adopt children. Furthermore, 77% of Gen Zers feel more positive towards brands that promote gender equality on social media.
  • Gen Z believes in diversity. Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse age group in the US and 60% of Gen Zers say increased racial and ethnic diversity is good for society.
  • Gen cares about corporate social responsibility. Seventy percent of Gen Zers try to purchase from companies they consider ethical.

How to market to Gen Z

To engage Gen Z, brands need to prioritize authenticity, creativity, and innovation in their marketing strategies. They also need to embrace the technologies and ad formats that Gen Z prefers.

Use video ads 

Given the short attention spans and high video consumption of Gen Z, creating campaigns and ads that leverage video is critical. This aligns with the high performance rates of video generally seen in mobile advertising. Studies show that mobile video ads have a 3x better click through rate (CTR) than traditional banner or interstitial ads. Furthermore, the average video retention rate is 54%. So, more than half of people who watch mobile videos continue watching them until the end. 

The takeaway? When advertising Gen Z, target them with eye-catching video ads.

Understand the power of influencers

Given their high rates of social media usage, Gen Z is constantly encountering influencer content. A great way to leverage this high exposure is by leveraging influencer marketing campaigns. According to surveys, 83% of marketers believe influencer marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Furthermore, 32% of marketers say influencer marketing is the most effective strategy at increasing brand engagement rates.

Aligning your paid acquisition and retention campaigns with influencer marketing is a great way to enhance your marketing efforts with Gen Z. Launch a mobile advertising campaign that targets the Gen Z segments of your target audience. Then, launch an influencer marketing campaign that features the same messaging to bolster the performance of both.

Be clear about your values

Gen Z supports brands that align with their values. That being said, if your brand supports a sociopolitical mission or cause, you should highlight it when marketing to Gen Z. This should also influence your other marketing initiatives. For example, if your brand supports certain social causes, make sure to work with influencers and partners that align with those values. As 55% of Gen Z chooses eco-friendly and socially responsible brands, make sure to highlight sustainable areas of your supply chain. If you are a  digital-first brand, highlight how your app forgoes physical waste to create value that doesn’t hurt the planet. 

Takeaways of Advertising Tips to Win the Gen Z Audience

Considering the growing purchasing power of Gen Z and their mobile-first habits, it’s important for all brands to understand how to engage this generation with mobile advertising.

  • Gen Z is mobile-first. Ninety-eight percent of Gen Z owns a mobile device and spends 9 hours of screen time per day.
  • Gen Z loves video. YouTube is Gen Z’s most-used platform. Eighty-eight percent of the time Gen Z spends on YouTube is spent specifically on the YouTube app.
  • Gen Z cares about a brand mission and values. Gen Z is 3x more likely than older generations to believe a company should have a role in improving society. 
  • To effectively market and engage Gen Z: use video ads, bolster your paid marketing campaigns with influencer marketing campaigns, and highlight the social causes your brand supports. 

Looking to market to Gen Z?

If you want to engage Gen Z across the mobile ecosystem, you have to be running high-performing mobile video advertising campaigns. We can help you do this at YouAppi. Reach out and schedule a meeting with our team.