For the generation hailed as being constantly connected, it can be a struggle to effectively reach out to members of Gen Z (or Zoomers). With a spending power of over $140 billion, consumers born after 1996 are a force to be reckoned with and their influence on the economy will continue to grow.
Gen Z spends on average between four and six hours a day consuming mobile online content and up to 10 hours a day consuming a variety of other online content. An estimated 8-second attention span means a Zoomer sees 4,500 new pieces of content every day. How can companies possibly compete with all that noise?
Well, the good news is that since their coming of age, plenty of research has been done to better understand Gen Z and their needs. Below we compiled the top five strategies to engage Gen Z and make your company their new favorite.
- Break It Down: Heterogeneity & Personalization
Gen Z’s age ranges currently from 10 to 25 years old. With such a varied age range, you can’t necessarily apply all the same principles to all participants within one generation. Diversification and individuality are strong values of the generation and they wish to see those values reflected by their favorite brands.
To reflect that, try looking at further sub-groups within this generation. The demographic breakdown will only get you so far and we recommend adding behaviour based categories to your segmentation. Break down the different types of behaviors within your target audience to identify the distinct motivations. Once identified, those motivations can be leveraged to entice people to participate in your surveys and customer activities.
Use profile variables to dig deeper into your customers and identify key characteristics. Use those to build personalized and specific survey invitations. Combine the motivations and behaviors identified with the results of those surveys. That way, you can build a better view of what keeps your Gen Z audience engaged.
- Mobile First, Not Mobile Only
Having grown up surrounded by technology, Gen Z is regarded as digital natives. Make the most of this group’s familiarity with personal devices and prioritize the use of mobiles and tablets. “Mobile first” is a mentality adopted by web developers and designers around the world emphasizing the need to create content and applications that are primarily intuitive on mobile devices. Younger audiences have very little patience for websites, apps, or functions that do not easily translate onto their mobile phones. However, with all this being said, do not make mobile-first design your sole focus. Just be aware that where young people will interact with your company and products is rarely going to be restricted to one channel or type of device.
Aim to incorporate other channels into your research for Zoomers to provide meaningful feedback and engagement. Create mobile-friendly surveys and use single or multiple-answer questions for easier interaction with smaller keyboards. Multiple choice questions are by far the easiest to answer on mobile phones and the action of simply “clicking” the screen makes it familiar and easy to engage. Always offer the option to skip sections. Again, Gen Z has low patience and attention span, especially on their phones. Your survey, unfortunately, will not be their main priority use of their phone, even while answering it.
If you do wish to have Gen Z be more engaged with you and your research, try having a young millennial or someone from Generation Z moderate the interviews. This has been found to generate more genuine results as participants can relate more. Video in-depth interviews (IDIs) will especially benefit from this. The priority is to make younger audiences feel at ease and show them that your company understands them and their day-by-day use of technology.
- Keep It Short, Interesting & Fun
With average attention spans of 8 seconds, younger generations tend to multitask more across multiple screens and focus less for prolonged periods of time. They’re less likely to have the time or headspace to participate in longer surveys or discussion groups. Therefore you should avoid tasks that take too long to complete to avoid losing your participants’ attention and mix tasks up. Find creative ways to engage them through attractive visuals and interactive elements. Speak their language. Give a multitude of options on how to participate in your research.
Get creative; don’t just offer long answer questions or endless multiple-choice surveys. Write your questions in such a way that participants feel directly spoken to and keep the language colloquial. Corporate talk is great when authority needs to be shown but not if you are expecting high engagement. Look outside the standard we-ask-you-answer format as well. Leverage deep-dive qualitative capabilities. Many younger people already document their opinions and daily routines in blogs, vlogs, and social media posts. Give them a platform to do so! Keep topics of discussion relevant and consistently sense check with your members.
One big aspect of youth engagement is gamification. Having leaderboards for most engaged members, most surveys answered, and assigning points to those activities can create an in-app/community gratification that keeps them engaged. This also comes to the presentation of survey results. Interactive word maps and infographics are way more engaging to interact with than lengthy reports.
- Go Where They Are: The Art of the Right Time and Place
Because the younger generation is so diverse, it means your target audience or demographic will be spending their time in different places. Not just geographically but online and on-device. Meet them where they are by conducted analysis on your member's user behavior. Do they spend more time on video or image platforms? Maybe forums are their preferred domain online. Do they spend hours streaming new series and movies? These preferences will change throughout the day so be sure to not generalize or clump too many people into one behavior.
Observe your audience and build your surveys in their already existing path. If your primary age group spends a lot of time on social media, then host the survey there or promote it there. If they spend most of their time browsing email newsletters you send, then throw a survey or poll there. Luckily, with Alida, this is super easy to implement with Touchpoint, which allows for multi-channel reach. Quick pop-ups in the channels with the most traffic allow for seamless integration of surveys into your audience's day.
Get out of your comfort zone and start leveraging social media in all its forms. Gen Z’s are 59% more likely than other generations to connect with brands on social media. However, do not fall into stereotypes. Authenticity is important to this group and they have a keen sense for identifying “fakes”. A brand that pretends to be approachable but consistently blocks or deletes comments will be ostracized.
- Feed Their Purpose
Gen Z has shown themselves to be very purpose-driven and want to spend their time and money on things that are aligned with their own values. For them, purchase decisions are not only affected by price and quality, or even availability. Gen Z has become suspicious of fast, non-renewable, and unethical work practices. If the deal is too good to be true, they will question it. For them understanding why and how a company does what they do is equally important in influencing their purchase behavior.
This extends to their willingness to engage with your company beyond purchase, i.e. participating in your surveys. Members of this age group want to understand what causes or effort the research supports and how their participation is going to help. What will happen with their answers, who will see them, how likely are there to be direct consequences to their opinions? A strong feedback loop and transparent information on the research project are vital for higher engagement.
Additionally, building an incentive program can support the proof that their participation matters.
Having a company offer something tangible in return for participants' time is a clear message that a company cares. However, make sure those incentives align with your value and the purpose of the survey. If you are evaluating the perceived sustainability of your products, and then send plastic cups filled with paper confetti, it will send the wrong message. It would also be worth asking your community what kind of incentives they would enjoy.
Younger audiences are characterized as having a short attention span, are often seen to be multi-tasking across multiple device screens, and are keen to have an impact on the world – but are not homogenous. To win them over keep these tips in mind:
- Get creative
- Speak their language
- Keep it short
If you would like assistance in implementing these tactics reach out to our team today and get up to date advice on how best to reach your target customers. You can also check out our webinar on Engagement Best Practices and learn more on how to keep your community members engaged.