Marketing to Gen Z

For some brands, marketing to Gen Z is simple and can be done without much thought. However, most brands see this is a daunting task, met with struggles and miscommunication. The truth is, figuring out how to make your marketing click with a younger crowd is easier than you think.

Digital natives

Take a dive into the characteristics of this generational group known as “digital natives.” Members of Gen Z are progressive, more racially and ethnically diverse than the generations before them and on track to be the best-educated generation. They also avoid labeling themselves, are radically inclusive and take time to evaluate all of their options before committing to a purchase. 

Understanding what makes this younger generation tick is necessary if marketers want to take advantage of Gen Z’s massive spending power. Plus, having a pulse on what young consumers want not only opens brands up to new business but also ensures they aren’t missing out on relevant social media trends. 

The outspoken and chronically online nature of Gen Z makes learning their buying behavior much less of a guessing game than previous generations. However, treating Gen Z like a singular block is a surefire way to come off as out of touch. It’s key that brands learn to bridge the gap between Gen Z and other generations like Millennials because once you look at the similarities of the two generations, connecting with and marketing to Gen Z will become easier.

Emphasize eye-catching, visual content

When it comes to social media, 81 percent of Gen Z say Instagram and YouTube are their preferred social platforms, and when asked which platform they want to see brands use more of, 56 percent said Instagram while 38 percent pointed to YouTube. 

Given their appetite for short-form video content, marketers should consider incorporating visual platforms into their strategies and developing bite-sized content like Instagram Stories. Short-form videos that use overlays, visual effects and music have proven to be marketing gold for influencers and brands alike. 

Just look at TikTok! With over 680 million users worldwide and 25 percent of users in the United States between the age of 10-19, TikTok is a vital component of any brand’s strategy for marketing to Gen Z.

Experiment with interactive content

When it comes to capturing the attention of Gen Z on social media, research suggests using a combination of creativity and interactivity. In other words, younger consumers want to do something when they land on your page—tap, swipe, click—anything!

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by taking advantage of interactive features available on popular platforms. For example, consider using a poll that does the double duty of learning about your customer and winning Gen Z’s attention. Interactive content also helps encourage customers to make purchasing decisions. The combination of interactivity and personalization is key when speaking to younger shoppers who want to support rands that value them as individuals.

Tap into their FOMO with time-sensitive posts

No one likes feeling like they missed out on something, and this is something to consider when marketing to Gen Z. Instagram Stories, for example, allow brands to drive time-sensitive engagement and become a constant fixture in their followers’ feeds via notifications. In addition to Stories, Instagram recently released a new feature called Drops, which helps brands create buzz for upcoming launches that are available for a short time. Satiate Gen Z’s FOMO, or the fear of missing out, by utilizing these features when appropriate.

Leverage tags for engagement

Tagging also plays an important role in marketing to Gen Z. No, ‘tagging’ doesn’t refer to graffiti anymore. When it comes to tagging on social media, this often means using hashtags to connect with a cause or brand.

There are a few ways to take advantage of this. You can encourage followers to share user-generated content coupled with a branded hashtag just for your company. You could enable customers to tag themselves at your physical location through various social platforms. You could also ask customers to tag their friends and family on a social platform to invite new potential followers to your social feed. 

Brands with a physical location can capitalize on Gen Z’s desire to be seen “in the wild.” This speaks to the importance of not only having a hashtag for followers to promote but something on-site worthy of snapshotting. This could be a mural in a downtown area, a “selfie wall” in a store, or even just a sign at check out letting people know if they post a picture with your product and use that hashtag, they could be entered into a drawing for a gift card. 

Showcase your brand’s sense of humor

This might be a no-brainer, but the majority of Gen Z want to support brands that are “fun” and “cool.” This could explain why humorous meme-focused social content is so popular among the younger crowd. The hard part here is keeping up with the speed of the internet. Brands trying to post a month-old memes risk coming off as out of touch. Similarly, not all industries have the benefit of being able to play the role of a comedian.

What matters most for brands is to have a distinct voice, showcasing the human side of their social presence through authentic interactions that don’t sound like something you copied and pasted out of a script. When interacting with customers, brands should strive to be organic and unpredictable.


This is just the beginning of marketing to Gen Z. As you dig into these tips, you may notice they are more complex than you originally thought. Also, many of the lessons learned can be applied to customers of any age. Don’t get overwhelmed though; our dedicated marketing team at Rooted Web is here to help you navigate this unique generation. Let’s chat, and keep an eye out for Part 2!

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Samantha Prost

Samantha Prost is a digital content writer with five years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.

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