How influencer marketing can be used to reach out to one of the fastest growing consumer groups, Generation Z and Alpha.
For a good few years now, Millennial has been the word on the lips of many marketers but brands may soon have to shift their focus to a younger, more diverse audience that is growing at a rapid pace, Generation Z and Alpha.
Born with smartphones, tablets, and technology at their fingertips, these young consumers are the ones to watch.
A closer look at Generation Z and Alpha
Generation Z, a group of consumers that were born from 1996 onwards and Generation Alpha, born from 2010 onwards, make up the audience that is currently grabbing the attention of marketers everywhere.
Technology has always been front and center for these two generations. With 73% of Generation Z having access to subscription video on demand services and over 90% of them owning a smartphone, this younger generation is unlike any other.
In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon to see a toddler operating a smartphone. In fact, 55% of pre-schoolers use tablets on a regular basis and 16% own their own tablet. Children generally only start using smartphones in their teens but today, 41% of pre to early teens already use one.
According to a recent study, children between the ages of 5 and 15 now spend at least 15 hours online every week, which is 1 hour and 18 minutes more than they used to but how are they spending their time online exactly?
Surprisingly, social media is not at the top of that list. 73% of children between 5 and 15 use YouTube more than any other online platform. Some even indicated that they would rather watch videos and shows on YouTube than watch TV.
By 2020, this generation will make up 40% of all consumers, which means that brands really need to start paying attention to what makes them tick.
Reaching out to Generation Z and Alpha
While this generation might be made up of youngsters, they already represent a buying power of $44 billion and influence an additional $600 billion of family-related spending, numbers marketers simply can’t ignore.
When it comes to reaching out to these consumers, one thing that marketers definitely shouldn’t do is lump them in with Millennials. The way that this young generation uses technology and perceives marketing is quite different to older generations, something that marketers will need to start exploring and understanding if they want their brands to have any impact in the future.
So what do marketers need to know about Generation Z and Alpha?
- Forget traditional advertising. This generation does not respond to advertising in the same way that older generations do. The use of ad blockers is almost a given, which means that marketers need to think of more creative, impactful ways to not only reach this audience but grab their attention too.
- They’re all for community. Their peers are important to them and they care about what others have to say. All of their most important conversations happen online and they’re much more likely to respond to brands that are more humanized.
- Optimized browsing is their thing. These young online users are used to having to sift through mountains of online content all the time, so while it might seem that this generation has a really short attention span, they’ve really just learned how to assess and recognize the content they really want to consume in a short amount of time.
How influencer marketing can be used to reach a younger generation
Over 40% of Generation Zs say that they’re easily influenced by others and have a tendency to follow celebrities and other local influencers on social media. 57% also said that they’ve watched at least one Vlog in the last month, once again reiterating the importance of video channels such as YouTube.
A survey by GlobalWebIndex also showed how this generation generally finds out about new brands, products, and services.
Overall it’s clear that an influencer marketing strategy is going to be critical for all marketers who are looking to reach this young group of consumers now and in the future.
If Generations Z and Alpha are going to be or already are a key target audience for your brand, below are a few influencer marketing tips that will help you develop a more effective strategy:
- Think storytelling. Younger internet users want to immerse themselves in a story or experience, which is why it’s important to take a storytelling approach to marketing. You can do this by focusing on platforms such as Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram, all of which offer immediate gratification and creative ways to tell a story. Online influencers, especially those who are popular amongst younger users, are already very prominent on these platforms, making it that much easier to reach this audience through influencer marketing.
- Celebs aren’t always the answer. Far too many brands have taken the celebrity influencer route and while using celebrities to promote your brand can still work, the younger generations would prefer to hear from lesser-known influencers, many of whom they’re already following. These local, low-key influencers are considered more trustworthy and genuine, which in turn will make your brand seem more trustworthy if you’re partnering with them in the right way. Over 60% of Gen Z has said that they would prefer to see social media influencers in ads instead of celebs because these are the people they can relate to; they’re far more realistic. You only have to do some research around specific themes such as fitness or beauty to come across online influencers who are stars in their own right.
- Give your influencers enough freedom. When paying an influencer to assist with content marketing, most brands want to stay in complete control of every aspect of the campaign but this can sometimes lead to unfavorable results. If you want to portray your brand as trustworthy, you need to give your influencers enough freedom to be creative and add their own unique touch to the content that you’re producing. When brands try to exert too much control over the content process, it comes across in the final product. You may even find that many influencers will turn down brands who want to dictate every line or graphic so it’s important to allow for as much creative freedom as possible while still sticking to your brand values and voice.
- Be in it for the long haul. If you really want your influencer marketing campaigns to have an impact, partner with one or two influencers on a long-term basis. This way, more consumers will start keeping your brand top of mind every time they watch a video from their favorite vlogger or comment on an influencer’s Instagram story.
As you develop your content and influencer marketing strategy, keep in mind that these young consumers take note of brands they can relate to, brands that care about a cause and brands that take the time to offer them valuable and entertaining content on a regular basis.