Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Generation Z, which consists of people who are now between the ages of 16 and 19, presents arguably the biggest challenge of any age group to marketers, according to an AdReaction study released recently by Kantar Millward Brown.

This is because the members of Generation Z are more difficult to engage despite being more digitally savvy than any previous generation. Not only are they more likely to skip ads, they typically do it much faster than any other generation.

The study, titled AdReaction: Engaging Gen X, Y, and Z is the first global study conducted on Generation Z and is based on surveys of over 23,000 consumers in 39 countries.

Don’t even think about placing non-skippable ads in digital content if you want to appeal to this market, as this is likely to backfire on your brand. Generation Z, says the report, does not like invasive online or mobile formats or not being able to skip ads.

According to Monique Claassen, head of media & digital practice at Kantar Millward SA, Generation Z in this country has an even more intense dislike of mobile ads than their global equivalents. “Though there has not been a huge uptake of ad blocking in SA, that’s no excuse for not targeting consumers with relevant content,” she says. “Increasingly, consumers will start considering ad blockers and if they do implement them, it will be across every device they own. Marketers have a window of opportunity to create relevant and meaningful digital and online connections with consumers that do not push marketers’ own agendas.”

The study claims that the members of Generation Z do not reject all advertising; traditional media channels still have the power to impress them. However, they tend to be more discriminating than older generations. And while they prefer not to have online or mobile advertising, they don’t mind quality ads in traditional media. Short content is preferred over long content. They like to be able to interact with ads and especially to be rewarded for engaging with brands. Celebrity endorsements also work well with this generation.

Marketers who are looking to appeal to Generation Z should respect the online space of these young people and avoid using non-skippable ads and pop-ups. Music and humour both appeal, as does the ability to vote for something or choose an option. Branded content, such as branded events and social media feeds, tend to score well among this generation.

However, though there are many consistencies between Generation Z globally, it is not a homogenous group and local insights and nuances should be factored into any marketing campaign targeting this group.

The big take-out: According to a Kantar Millward Brown study Generation Z is arguably the most difficult generation to engage from a marketing perspective.

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