Youth Insights, Expert Commentary, & Agency Culture
3 Common Challenges for Brands Marketing to Generation Z

3 Common Challenges for Brands Marketing to Generation Z

1. Approaching Gen Z Differently Than Their Millennial Parents


  • Probe deeper to understand your targeted youth audience behaviors, motivators, and stages in life. Use these insights to identify the content and styles of engagement that will resonate with them. Cultivate relationships by defining a voice that is “peer-to-peer” yet feels aspirational.
  • Make it a company objective to harness Gen Z's desire to create meaningful strategies, campaigns and products that are relevant to the cultural lifestyles they associate with.
  • Many times you will see there are youth subcultures within interest groups that can be leveraged to help focus your messaging, guide content development, and improve engagement with young people.
  • Keep in mind: Generation Z consumes the majority of their content on a mobile device, and are twice as likely to shop on mobile than Millennials. Deploy mobile first engagement strategies or you are placing marketing dollars at risk.


2. Uncertain of What Social Platforms to Dedicate Time and Resources 


  • YouTube remains the undisputed king for capturing the attention of Gen Z through entertaining, fun and engaging content on branded channels. YouTube is more complex than other platforms, so take the time to optimize your branded channel, leverage creator communities to develop and distribute content, and maintain consistency. Based on experience, we recommend not launching until you can commit to a weekly publishing schedule. A best practice is to have 60-90 days of content ready before pushing live and/or talent with proven abilities to produce the content you are seeking on the fly.
  • Instagram is still arguably the most popular with Gen Z. In addition to texting and messenger apps, it’s where they plan activities with friends and share the aspirational parts of their lives. Short form videos on Instagram are also a primary traffic driver to your YouTube channel.
  • Snapchat has become the essential channel for authentic storytelling and live experience driven activities. Consider partnerships with influential content creators through takeovers on your branded account vs. relying solely on brand/product placements on creator accounts. Employ a team to share stories which tie back to your brand and get creative with fun geofilters.
  • Allocate a smaller percentage of resources to test content and engagement on emerging channels/apps that are relevant to your audience. Examples: if you’re brand has something to sing about, by all means test Lifestyle brands that are unafraid to engage live with youth on the wildside, might benefit from YouNow.  


3. Misunderstanding How to Create a Social Media Marketing Ecosystem 


A core strategy to effectively reach Generation Z on social media channels is to cross-pollinate relevant content and increase engagement across channels. Every social channel has its unique culture and unwritten codes of conduct.

Therefore, content shared needs to be adjusted to fit the goal for each destination or risk being perceived by youth as a waste of their time. Below are a few examples of social channels and their roles:


  • Example Role: content hub


  • Example Roles: promotional, aspirational, and curated content


  • Example Roles: real-time, event-driven storytelling


  • Example Roles: informational, sales, event organizing, Facebook video teasers driving traffic to YouTube 


  • Example Roles: live tweeting, celeb follows, customer service

Content Partners

  • Example Roles: content distribution, influencer takeovers


Learn More About Youthvine For Gen Z Insights, Marketing Strategies, and Youth Engagement Programs

Immersive's national online community connecting brands with tween, teen, and young adult consumers to gather strategic insights, crowdsource innovative ideas, and the creation/distribution of promotional social content.

Written by Gregg Witt

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