The Millennial generation (born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s) are almost grown up, and advertisers have begun to focus on the newest upcoming generation: Generation Z, or, the Pluralist Generation. The estimated birth years for this generation fall roughly between the early 2000s up until the present and are the most in-tune when it comes to media multitasking. Although much of this generation is still fairly young, there’s a lot we can predict based on the environment that they’re growing up in. Here, we’ll take a peek at what changes this generation may bring, and how we can prepare for them.
Who are they?
There are roughly 72 million Plurals in America , all of them being born into a digital world. This differs from the Millennials, where they have learned to embrace the rise of the digital age. Plurals are less likely to believe in the “American Dream,” and try to make their own success. Pluralists challenge the norm, and go forth in life with a sense of purpose. They are much more open-minded and enjoy expressing their individuality.
Plurals are the most culturally diverse out of all of the living generations. They have the most diverse friend groups, are more positive about ethnic diversity, and are experiencing more blurred gender roles in their households.
However, Gen-Z teenagers have often been stereotyped (much like the Millennial generation) as being lazy, unaware, and unprepared for the real world. Their saturation in media like video games, social media, television, and internet have dubbed them as being the laziest, and are more likely to prioritize time on their phone or computer over focusing on what’s going on in the rest of the world.
How they view the world.
Racial, social, and gender equality, same sex marriage, and even recreational drug use are just a few of the social causes that will become part of the status quo for Generation Z. In addition, Gen-Z will be more likely to question social structures like marriage, college, and religion. In fact, researchers have seen a 27% decrease in the importance of religion to kids between the ages of 12 and 15.
When a Gen-Zer wants, a Gen-Zer gets… immediately. This generation can’t stand the thought of waiting, and craves instant gratification when it comes to consuming media and buying products. Many Plurals live in constant fear of missing out on the latest news, trends, and updates. They constantly want to stay in the loop, which may explain why they are so fond of mobile and social media.
How they use social media.
Move over, Facebook. Snapchat and Instagram are noted as being some of the most widely used social media outlets among Gen-Z kids. They use various social media outlets like Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr for their varying shares and often use them as an outlet for socialization. For them, Facebook is a social media for the “older” generations to post images of their children and grandchildren. Plurals like quick medias like Snapchat and Vine, where messages and videos last under 10 seconds. This generation rarely stays unplugged from media outlets, spending a lot of their time posting experiences across social media. In fact, all are reported to being online for more than one hour a day, with almost half spending over ten hours online daily.
How this changes marketing and advertising.
Although Generations Y and Z may have their similarities, advertising to Gen-Z is much different. Plurals are born digital natives, so your brand experience should arch over digital, internet and mobile mediums. Advertisements should be visual, engaging and innovative so that they don’t blend with the clutter of ads that Plurals are exposed to daily. In fact, Generation Z is much more tolerant of digital ads than Generation Y. This generation will also be very familiar with online shopping, so any brick-and-mortar business should consider being a click-and-mortar if they want to reach this generation.
Some brands have started recruiting social media influencers, a different type of native advertising. Social “Influencers” are popular icons on media outlets like Instagram and SnapChat that use these platforms to promote a brand in their own unique way. Influencer marketing often has a huge response from Generation Z kids because it’s reaching them on outlets that they spend a lot of their time on, the messages are brief, and it allows them the option to respond to the messages.
Remember, Generation Z is still growing up, and there is still so much more to learn about them. Understanding the environment they will be growing up in will keep you more prepared for the most digitally-obsessed consumers in the market.