How publishers can connect with Gen Z

Apr 26, 2022 | Articles

Sara Merino

Sara Merino


gen z

It’s safe to say that the publishing industry has changed a lot in the last few years. The power of Gen Z has definitely impacted the way publishers promote their content.

Gen Z includes everyone born between 1997 and 2012, so the oldest members are already in the world of work. Being the younger generation with buying power, its members make up more than 20% of the population in the US. They also have a spending power of an estimated $144 billion!

Looking at these stats, it’s no wonder that publishers need to plan ahead and focus their efforts on adapting their content to Gen Z’s needs and habits.

Understanding Gen Z’s habits

Gen Z definitely has its quirks. They have a really particular way of consuming content that it’s directly related to the rise of new social media platforms and the search for authenticity.

TikTok, the queen of apps

The first thing that probably comes to mind is TikTok, Gen Z’s most popular app. The social media platform rose in popularity during the pandemic in 2020, when people were staying at home due to the lockdown. The need for sharing their lives and the search for entertainment in those gloomy times propelled the app to stardom and, as you can see nowadays, it has come to stay.

The short-video format that this social media app provides was so successful that other companies tried to mimic it. You can see this, for instance, in the incorporation of reels and shorts in Instagram and Youtube respectively, or the launching of Triller, an app similar to TikTok.

Keep in mind that Gen Z has a short attention span, so using short videos is the best way to grab your audience’s interests, becoming a powerful marketing tool for both publishers.

As smartphones are Gen Z’s favorite device, vertical videos are the most logical and comfortable way to consume content, as it’s not necessary to rotate your device to watch them. With this format, it’s easier to record videos on mobile too. It can be quite restrictive so it requires high creativity, which is one of the main reasons why they’re so popular with the younger generation.

Searching for authenticity

Gen Z are constantly looking for genuine interactions with each other, including brands.

Their way of communicating is mainly via the Internet and social media specifically. And this situation has been even more amplified with the arrival of the pandemic in 2020.

This explains the rise of formats like explainer or commentary videos via social apps like Youtube and TikTok. The tone of these videos is quite casual and informal, as if you were talking to a friend, providing high engagement rates as well.

For this reason, influencers have increased their importance in the marketing landscape and sponsorships are highly effective. Influencers are more approachable than conventional celebrities, that’s why the level of engagement they have with their audience is higher.

This way of consuming personalized content and recommended products via influencers manifest the aversion that Gen Z has to traditional ads. This is why native formats have become more effective compared to common display ads. In fact, 35% of Gen Z members favor native ads and sponsorships while 34% of them make purchases via these formats.

Caring about the world

Another attribute that differentiates Gen Z from other age groups is their commitment with social, political and environmental causes.

That’s why publishers need to have a purpose apart from making money. Gen Z will always choose companies whose values match their own. That’s why contributing to society in some way to improve the world we live in is crucial if you want to be in Gen Z’s radar.

Some of the values Gen Z look for are: sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, eco-friendliness, transparency, accountability and work-life balance (don’t forget that 2021 was the year of the Great Resignation), among others.

But not only that, communicating your values and being transparent about it is equally as important so you can connect with your audience and create an authentic and engaging relationship with them.

If you want to know more about the environmental impact of digital marketing, click here!

Technological innovation

Gen Z are digital natives. They grew up with the internet and are fast to adapt to the constant development of technology. For this reason, keeping up with technology trends is crucial if you want to maintain your relationship with your Gen Z audience.

AR, VR, the metaverse… we keep pushing the limits of technology. We may not know what’s next, but what’s for sure is that publishers need to be quick to adapt to these changes in order to stay relevant.

Gen Z is definitely a group you need to focus your efforts on. Understanding their habits, interests and values will allow you to connect with your audience, improve your relationship with them and increase your engagement as well.

What apps are the best to target Gen Z?

Social media is essential if you want to secure your relationship with your Gen Z audiences. The most popular app you can use is, of course, TikTok, but also Youtube, Instagram and Twitch.

What values does Gen Z defend?

One of Gen Z’s main characteristics is their concern about the world and their willingness to make it a better place. That’s why their values include sustainability, inclusivity, diversity and eco-friendliness.

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