Gen Z & Millennials: Advertising to Generation Z 101

Topics: Millennials + Gen Z, Digital Media, Media + Advertising, Campus Media

Posted by: Marketing

In the modern advertising world, knowing how to speak to Gen Z audiences is crucial to success for the vast majority of marketers. But who are they and what does it take to get through to them? Discover the most effective ways of advertising to Generation Z.

Millenials and Gen Z Advertising


What is Generation Z?

Generation Z refers to the group of people born between approximately 1995 and 2012. The oldest among them are in their mid-twenties (many out of college, getting married, and starting families.) The youngest are 10. They’re a diverse group of digital natives who value flexibility, relevance, and authenticity and who care deeply about community and social issues.



Youth culture is constantly evolving and Gen Z, in particular, is disrupting industries.” 



To succeed when advertising to Generation Z (or any audience, for that matter), you must develop a deep understanding of several things:

  • Who they are.
  • What matters to them.
  • What their challenges and goals are.
  • How they learn.
  • Where and how they spend their time.


MSSmedia Buyer Persona Worksheet-1




Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when advertising to Generation Z.

Be Authentic & Embrace Diversity

Members of Gen Z have been educated to recognize (and often ignore) “standard” advertising tricks. More than any other generation in history, they’re inundated with marketing. In response, they place a high value on authenticity. 

To capture and hold the attention of the most racially and ethnically diverse generation of Americans yet, you need to use images and messaging that resonate.  Celebrate diversity, address real issues, and communicate genuinely.


Ehnically diverse Gen Z

Use Peer-To-Peer (Influencer) Marketing

Many young people prefer insights from their peers, people whose lives are like theirs, rather than from celebrities or people who seem “too cool” to be true. 

Far more effective in the modern marketplace than celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing is a collaboration between a business or brand and popular social media content creator. In these collaborations, the influencer promotes a company’s product, service or event to their digital audience, using their online platform.


CaseStudies_Venus4 (6)




Support A Good Cause

Gen Z are more socially minded than previous generations. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Gen Zers are focused on seven key social issues - healthcare, mental health, higher education, economic security, civic engagement, race equity, and the environment. Aligning your messaging with causes your target market cares about will certainly have a positive impact on audience engagement.


Go Digital & Engage in Social Media

It is no secret that young people spend a lot of time on their smartphones, much of it on social media platforms. In fact, members of Gen Z spend almost 4.5 hours a day on social! 


Infographic Thumbnail Social Media Usage GenZ Mill Snippet




This presents hundreds of thousands of opportunities for brands to get their message across to this demographic.


+ Increase audience reach and engagement with targeted social media ads.

Just remember, there are generational differences in the preponderance of users on individual social media platforms.

  • 90% of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users are under the age of 35. 
  • The median age of adult Twitter users in the United States is 40 years old.
  • Snapchat reaches 75% of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • 41% of TikTok’s more than 90 million monthly active users are between the ages of 16 and 24. 


+ Learn more about Gen Z and millennials’ social media usage.


Don't Forget Google

Although Generation Z audiences spend a lot of time on social media, when they’re ready to purchase, they go to Google. On average, there are 3.5 billion search queries per day on Google. And by the time the search query leads to you, the buyers have intent. So when advertising to Generation Z, don't forget to include a Google strategy. 


Include Properly Placed Traditional Media

It may surprise you to learn that, as immersed in the digital landscape as they are, the vast majority of Gen Z prefers in-person communication  over virtual. This opens the door wide for traditional media, which cannot be scrolled past, fast-forwarded through or skipped. 


Traditional Media

To maximize return on investment, place your ads in physical locations where young people spend a lot of time. With almost half of people ages 18 to 21 years old enrolled at either a two- or four-year college, this makes campus advertising a no-brainer. Signage in campus hangouts, university stores, and campus transit will garner plenty of valuable exposure.


Infographic Thumbnail - Value of Campus Advertising




Diversify Campus Advertising

The campus media landscape is increasingly robust. Businesses and brands can now advertise on campus using transit ads, outdoor kiosks, bus shelters, billboards, digital screens, posters and more. These new signage opportunities offer an excellent chance to get in front of college-bound Gen Z like never before. 


Infographic Thumbnail - Campus Media Strategies




Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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