If you haven’t already read our previous article about Gen Z vs Millennials click here.
Gen Zs have a whopping attention span of 8 seconds, a whole 50% less than their previous generation – Millennials. Don’t mistake this for impatience though. Gen Zs have developed a sophisticated filter for sorting, processing and valuing large amounts of information in a really short amount of time.
Compared to blindly searching for information, functions like “top rated” or media such as “top 10 lists” are what Gen Zs gravitate to. They have grown up in a world where information available is infinite.
Interestingly enough, this 8-second filter is exactly what the name suggests – a filter. It is not an indication that your creative should only last 8 seconds. In fact, if your creative is interesting enough or resonates with the Gen Z – they will spend hours on it. Think of the evolution of “Let’s Play” as a content format or even the way they binge Netflix series. The challenge here is this: how can you make sure you pass their filter in that 8 seconds.
This is more of a technical thing than anything else. The reality is that a large amount of media consumption happens on mobile. Compared to the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, brands have started to design for 9:16 vertical or even 4:5 seen on Instagram thanks to the fact that96% of us interact with our phone vertically. In 2019 – Fall Out Boy released a music video completely exported in the 9:16 vertical format.
Gen Zs crave authentic experiences. The penetration of programmatic digital media pushes them to shut it off almost immediately. In that 8 seconds you have to pass through the filter (5 seconds if they’re on YouTube due to the skip button), you need to address them.
We’re not saying that you need a personalised video to call out their name, but what you say in that 8 seconds needs to resonate with them. It could resonate at a pain point level like how Adidas has addressed the idea of haters or at a visual level like this Aerie ad that showcased diversity and its values in 7 seconds.
It also helps to learn the slang that Gen Zs are using and while it is constantly evolving, here’s a video that might just get you started.
Gen Zs hate to be interrupted. They are focused on what they are doing and will shut out anything else that comes along the way. This is why even a strong YouTube ad can be skipped if it appears in the middle of a Let’s Play.
Thankfully with most programmatic digital ads – even the self serve ones, you are able to set and block times of days, or even situations that your target audiences would not want to see your ad. The challenge here for the marketer is in understanding the daily life of a Gen Zs in order to pick the right time to target them.
For example, is the 10-15 minutes Gen Zs spend in bed every day the perfect time to target them with a notification or an ad? Only one way to find out.
If the early 2000s saw a rise in visual advertisements, this decade will see the rise of immersive and interactive media. Forget platform considerations. If an ad is great – Gen Zs will find a way to get to it. Pyrex has done a simple yet effective execution of this, encouraging audiences to screenshot a gif in the perfect position in order to win prizes.
Another notable example is the Black Mirror: Bandersnatch episode which had people talking on multiple platforms for weeks. Netflix also published some pretty interesting data on the outcomes and choices of its viewers.
Create something immersive from the get-go and you will be able to capture a Gen Z’s attention.
Perhaps the lowest hanging fruit to execute, hence left for last – incorporate popular trends into your visual is a way to show Gen Zs you understand them and function as an agile brand. A low hanging fruit to execute, but very hard to do well, a strong incorporation of popular trends into your media should showcase your brand values and essence.
For example, Pizza Hut, a brand known for its consistency went against the grain and decided to tell their users how their flavour has remained equally great after 10 years. Sometimes we need a little consistency in this chaotic world.
Capturing Gen Zs in that 8 seconds can be a huge challenge to marketers. It involves a deep understanding of your audiences habits, preferences and daily lifestyle followed by creating a message or visual that is novel and showcases your brand. Sounds like an impossible task? Maybe, maybe not.
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