Want to learn how to market to the movers and shakers, the trend setter – the elusive 20 something year old? Who better to tell you than Ethan Dennett – the 20 year old member of the Stikky Media team. Read on for GenZ marketing tips and considerations for reaching this unique audience – in Ethan’s own words.
The modern advertisement industry started in conjunction with the development of modern psychology. The idea that the average person could be suggestible enough to buy a coca-cola was groundbreaking to advertisers.
How to reach young trend setters on social media – without annoying them
Today, one of the hardest markets to advertise to is the trend setters. Young people in their 20s who are members of Generation Z have already experienced intense marketing, and are very able to identify marketing techniques. We have been advertised to our whole lives; lots of young people can view certain ads as offensive. I’ve heard friends say: “How dare Company A think they can psychologically manipulate me! I won’t be using their products anymore.” It’s not only becoming harder to break through the mess of ads these kids see daily, but it’s becoming easier to piss them off with too personal ads. It’s not a good business decision to spend money on losing customers.
Still, you have to consider that people don’t want to be advertised to. During the holiday season, Google ramped up its ads for the Google Home Mini. I hate these ads with a burning passion. It feels like the voice was digitally altered to pierce my thinking. Naturally, every time I hear it I immediately turn the volume off on my computer. Google wasted a lot of money on me this season.
Be honest and upfront – or risk getting mocked
So, where does this leave us in our quest to reach the young market? It leaves us walking on eggshells. That is my first piece of advice – young people are much more perceptive than their parents, and they will see through basic attempts to “fit in.” There’s actually a subreddit (r/fellowkids) making fun of companies that fail to be “fellow kids” in a guise of advertisement. If you want to reach these young people, your ads need to be honest and upfront; you need to walk on eggshells.
Choose the right social media platform – it may not be what you think
My next marketing tip is to consider what platform to use. You probably only thought about either Facebook or Instagram – and if you did, you’ve failed at being a fellow kid! Young people today really don’t care about Facebook or Instagram like they did 5 years ago. The age of showing off and putting up personal posts for friends to see is over. Young people mostly hate how their friends act on social media, and thus turn to another site: Reddit.
Think communities, not image filters
Reddit should not be considered traditional social media, because it’s not. Reddit is about communities and individual interests, it’s not about how cool you look with that blue filter. It’s a very personal site, that is also very anonymous.
It’s a very fine line between what is a normal ad and what is personally invasive. For example, I follow a page called r/digitalnomad, and I just saw an ad about being a digital nomad. I can live with that, after all it’s not hard for the company to choose to advertise to users of the page. What I don’t like to see is my search results showing up. I looked on Facebook for headphones over the holidays, and now my Reddit feed is filled with headphone ads — not cool.
What really matters when marketing to GenZ?
There’s a difference between effective and non-effective advertising. The difference is solely in how the consumers perceive your ad. You don’t want to sound creepy and you don’t want to show up on r/fellowkids. Basically, you want to let the consumer feel in control. I am in control of whether I follow r/digitalnomad and get likewise ads, but do I want to be repeatedly advertised to after looking for Christmas gifts once? No, ads like that make me feel out of control and misunderstood.
Understand which approaches work – and which are too transparent
My recommendations are to throw away some of the traditional psychological approaches in your ads — the odds are that young people won’t fall for it. If you want to reach young people it’s very easy. Advertise on Reddit and be honest. We love that site, and we understand that advertisement is needed to keep the site running. Young people will be receptive if they feel good about your method.
For example, I’m a huge cyclist, and bike to work everyday. Not once have I seen a bike advertisement on Reddit, so how could I best be advertised to? I would not respond well if I left a comment on a post about pedals and started to see ads about pedals. However, because I follow a couple bike pages, I know I’m going to get ads. If you were to reference say r/bikecommuting in the ad, I would feel much better about the pedals, and why you think I might want them.
What I’m trying to say, is that the consumer today wants to know why they are being advertised to — they want clarity. If you can find your target demographic and honestly present your product to them, and the product is good, we’ll buy it.
Ethan Dennett is an account manager at Stikky Media. He enjoys helping our clients exceed expectations on their digital marketing campaigns. If you need help reaching GenZ or any other audience through digital marketing, contact us.