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Gen Z Takes on DTC: How to Market to Gen Z’ers

With social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram becoming essential to the world of eCommerce, it’s no secret that the newest generation of consumers (known as Gen Z) is a big focus for digital marketers.

In this blog series, BVA is shedding light on what Gen Z wants from DTC brands, how brands can attract and convert this age range, and how companies can build business models built to last through the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape. Be sure to check out our first article to learn more about What Gen Z’ers Look for In Brand.

In this second article, our digital marketing experts are giving their top advice for creating a marketing strategy that targets Gen Z. We’re discussing everything ranging from which platforms to what types of content DTC brands should be leveraging. Let’s get into it!

Why This Is Important

When it comes to eCommerce marketing, our media team recommends a full funnel approach to ensure that you are generating awareness to new customers, increasing consideration among prospects, and driving conversions among the “hand raisers” who are searching for products today.

As we established in our first article, Gen Z consumers represent $143 Billion dollars of spending power in today’s market. This audience segment is not only becoming increasingly more powerful as they grow up, but they’re also posing new challenges to brands as the first digitally native generation. In order to capture the attention of Gen Z, brands have to think like they do and be present where they are online (which, in many cases, is everywhere).

Gen Z’ers, similar to Millennials, are heavy users of social media and digital platforms, thus giving brands many touch points to interact with their target audience. 95% of Gen Z shop online and 55% have bought something they found via a social media platform. How a merchant leverages these channels is where the intentional strategy (and fun!) needs to come into play.

Our Top 5 Tips On How To Market To Gen Z’ers

1) CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM

According to StudentBeans, 78% of Gen Z’ers are active on TikTok, so it’s safe to say this may be an important channel for some merchants. With over 2 billion app downloads, 100MM monthly active users in the US, and an average daily engagement of 52 minutes, TikTok is a scalable medium to drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversion.

Another key channel for younger consumers is Snapchat. Snapchat users create over 4 Billion Snaps per day with an average daily time spent in the app of 30 minutes. With over 75% of the 13-34 US population using Snap, its granular targeting and wide range of ad products can deliver marketing results at scale.

Next, there’s Pinterest. This channel is heavily used for inspiration and browsing. Marketers are able to reach 300 million people who use Pinterest every month. This channel allows brands to reach shoppers where they're actively looking for new products and ideas. Merchants can turn pins into ads to help boost awareness, drive sales, or increase conversions.

2) GET CREATIVE TO STAND OUT

Gen Z grew up with the internet so they’ve seen a lot of digital marketing; it’s important to get creative with how you target them.
“Gen Z knows the digital world better than any other generation and they’re the trendsetters nowadays, which is why it’s more important than ever to stay on top of all social media platforms (particularly TikTok) and find new ways to push the envelope.”

“It’s not enough to do what other brands are doing or have done in the past, it’s time to get creative enough to interrupt their scrolling, engage them, and leave them wanting to be a part of your brand,” says BVA’s Social Media Manager, Monica Villegas.

Here are some engaging Tik Tok campaign types that brands can use to target Gen Z’ers:

  • Hashtag Challenge - Collaborate and seamlessly integrate with the TikTok community by encouraging user generated content with a branded Hashtag
  • Brand Takeover - Be the first TikTok on a user’s feed right as they open the app with a clickable link to a landing page or Hashtag Challenge
  • Influencer Partnerships - Work with TikTok creators who have massive reach and that fit your brand
  • Transitions - Transition videos are very popular on TikTok and a great way to display multiple masks at once
  • Paid Traffic - In-Feed ads with clear CTA buttons that direct off TikTok
Social media channels are becoming an essential part of the buyer’s journey for most younger consumers. Because of this, merchants should ensure that any channel they use also functions as an extension of their online store.

An online user should always have easy access to your store when they’re browsing your digital platforms, making everything a shoppable experience. Examples of this include integrating product catalogs or adding shoppable functionality within Instagram and Pinterest to make organic posts shoppable.

3) WORK WITH MICRO-INFLUENCERS

It may seem like a lot of brands are hopping on the Influencer train these days, but many don’t know where to start, or how to see an ROI on their investment in influencer marketing.

According to BVA’s Influencer platform partner, Impact Radius, 49% of people say that they trust recommendations by influencers to make their purchase decisions. There’s no arguing that for many types of verticals and product offerings, influencer marketing can be a great way to reach a younger target audience.

Merchants should focus on building genuine relationships with micro-influencers. These are influencers with 1,000 to 250,000 followers/audience members and are considered experts in their respective niche. Find micro-influencers that Gen Z identifies with and connect with them so they can assist you in properly reaching your target audience. Generally, these types of relationships are more likely to deliver more qualified leads than a mega influencer with millions of followers.

4) BE A PART OF TRENDS

Digital platforms like TikTok are all about staying on top of trends, and in order to market to users correctly, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends and participate in them.

Here are some ways to stay on top of trends and how stay relevant on social media:

  • Social listening - Engage in conversations with customers commenting on your posts or talking about topics relevant to your products
  • Post at the most ideal time - Automation tools allow for optimization of posting times across platforms to generate maximum reach and engagement

5) BUILD A COMMUNITY

Gen Z is looking for authenticity so it’s important to create a space where they feel comfortable and connected with the brand. Focus on building a community and genuine connections as opposed to simply selling.

Here is what you should focus on to build a community online with your customers:

  • Grow an engaged audience - Reach and engage with interested customers who want to follow your brand.
  • Establish brand voice and credibility - Focus on creating organic content that is relevant to your offering and that your audience will want to consume. Become a thought leader in your vertical.
  • Integrate your Customer Support with social media - Your eCommerce customer support solution should allow you to interact with your customers wherever they may be seeking support (in many cases, this is through comments on organic social posts).

Find Digital Marketing Strategists

Wondering how your brand can implement changes for a Gen Z audience and the evolving digital space? Schedule time to chat with BVA's eCommerce experts and strategists about your digital marketing strategy!