TikTok has been steadily growing in the past few years and became one of the most downloaded apps of 2019 and the decade. The platform has over 1 billion active users worldwide, most of which are younger generations that enjoy its short-form video content.
For businesses, TikTok offers a wealth of opportunity to market to new audiences and stay on top of trends, no matter the industry. Based on the platform’s research, no one is more engaged on TikTok than Gen Z, and in some markets, Gen Z is driving the off-app purchase on the app.
Understanding Gen Z
Composing over 50% of the population (along with Millennials and other younger generations), Gen Z is estimated to have about $143 billion in spending power, making it a very attractive group for brands.
Generation Z consists of those born between 1997 and 2012. These people are typically digital natives who have grown up on the internet and have been active social media users for most of their lives.
In my experience, they always have access to a device and are constantly connected, making them more technology-dependent and focused on instant gratification than previous generations. Internet access is a basic need, and content should be instantaneously accessible in video or audio.
Understanding that Gen Z consumers have different behaviors, attitudes and values with video can impact marketing strategy and its success. Gen Z values video more than any other media, roughly two-to-one over gaming, music or social.
Of video, Gen Z prefers user-generated content for its relatability over promotional videos. According to a Pew survey from 2021, Gen Z prefers Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok for video viewing. The focus is on short, bite-sized videos with snappy and succinct messages, which connects with a generation that’s used to sifting through tons of content.
Gen Z Marketing Trends
Marketing to Gen Z is about more than selling the lowest price. This generation is value-conscious, but like other consumers, they’re looking for brands that align with their beliefs and values. They also value authenticity in marketing, rather than traditional, overly produced advertising.
Here are some trends for marketing to Gen Z on TikTok:
1. Establish Clear Brand Values And Mission
Gen Z is all about “voting with the dollar” and supporting brands with social responsibility. Here are some causes Gen Z cares about:
• Diversity: 60% of Gen Zers want improved racial and ethnic diversity.
• LGBTQ+: 60% of Gen Zers care about LGBTQ+ rights.
• Social responsibility: 70% of Gen Zers want to purchase from brands they view as ethical.
Clearly, showing your brand’s positive values and clear mission to make a difference in the world holds a lot of value for reaching Gen Z.
2. Show Transparency
Transparency is valuable for not only Gen Z, but modern consumers. If you mess up, take accountability to show that you’re not hiding anything. Brand trust matters and may influence a Gen Zer’s purchasing decision. Your actions need to match your words.
Remember, this generation is used to researching brands and products online (and usually does), so if you’re hiding something, they’ll find out.
3. Be Entertaining
Gen Z grew up with the internet and social media, so they know how to filter through content quickly and find what works for them. The average person has an attention span of about eight seconds, and effective TikTok videos range from merely 15 seconds to 60 seconds. That’s all the time you have to hook them, so be entertaining!
4. Create A Brand Community
According to research from Cigna, Gen Z is the loneliest generation in the U.S. They’re looking for ways to connect, and unlike older generations, they can find valuable connections in the virtual space.
Brand communities are not only beneficial for bringing like-minded people together, but they can do a lot for a brand. A brand community gives your followers a space to feel seen and heard in a unique way, potentially leading them to invite more people to share in the brand experience and impact.
Tips For Creating Marketing Campaigns Gen Z Will Love
1. Show Them Behind-The-Scenes Content
As mentioned, transparency matters to Gen Z. Show them authenticity with behind-the-scenes content about where products come from, how they’re made and how employees view the company.
Highlight employee success stories or do mini “day in the life” documentaries that show the day-to-day of an employee. This celebrates the mundane, which is popular on TikTok, and gives them a glimpse into company culture.
2. Offer Value
The internet has a lot of noise, and Gen Z is adept at sifting through it. You have to provide value to Gen Z to reach them — a simple promotional video doesn’t cut it. Show a product demo video with real-life benefits, host an “ask-me-anything” live video to address questions and concerns, and use customer testimonials or reviews. A discount code or promotional offer is always a powerful tool to show your audience that you’re trying to give them value and benefits.
3. Have Two-Way Conversations
Social media offers endless opportunities for feedback, customer insights and customer engagement. Video marketing can open you up to two-way conversations with Gen Zers to learn what they like and what they want from you.
Read comments and respond as much as possible to show that you care about them as customers. You can also prompt feedback and engagement by asking questions, conducting short surveys or conducting polls. If you want more in-depth insights, host a contest or giveaway for survey completion that includes a discount code, a free sample or early access to a service.
Leverage TikTok To Reach Gen Z
Gen Z can be a tough audience to reach, especially for marketers in different generations. Remember that the key to Gen Z is understanding how the internet shaped their experiences, both as consumers and users, and focus on transparency, value and engagement to resonate with them.