How to Engage Millennials and Gen Z When Advertising

Topics: Public Relations, Millennials + Gen Z, Digital Media, Media + Advertising

Posted by: Barbara Gretsch, CEO

As we all know by now, millennials and Gen Z are crucial demographics to understand as marketers. Some people don’t get them and others excuse them, but to successfully engage with them, the best thing to do is to understand who they are and what they want.

Young blonde woman with headphone in front of a colorful background

“Millennials” usually refers to the generation born between 1980 and 1994, while Gen Z refers to the generation born between 1995 and 2010. Based on this information alone, some of the first words that come to mind when we think of these two generations are “digitally savvy”.

Millennials and members of Gen Z are digital natives. They’re typically very active on all social media platforms and are on top of digital trends.


+ Learn more with our millennial online usage data infographic.


To effectively attract the attention of these generations, marketers need to understand the digital marketing ecosphere and identify the type of content that’s driving millennials and Gen Z to action.


What advertising tactics will engage these digital natives?

Here are some of the advertising strategies that we’ve found to be most helpful in engaging millennial and Generation Z audiences.


If you’re wondering which is the best platform to use when advertising to these younger generations, the answer should be fairly obvious. There are many, and they are digital. 

Millennials and Gen Z are consistently on the lookout for anything electronic tools to make their lives easier. Therefore, promoting your brand or business via Google’s advertising network and/or various social media platforms is a must. 

In recent years, advertising agencies have mastered their knowledge of the digital marketing space, and if you hope to compete in the modern marketplace, so should you.


+ Learn why Instagram is important when marketing to younger generations.



Coupons aren’t just the province of older generations. Members of younger generations love them too. Over half of all millennials look for a coupon before making a purchase. In fact, 88% say that finding a promotion or discount for a brand would encourage them to make a first time purchase. 

It’s clearly evident that regardless of age, sales and promotions attract buyers. Whether you offer electronic coupons or regular promotions, providing good discounts will improve your visibility amongst this audience while driving revenue.


Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for connection, moments that they can discover and share. Because of this, they typically prefer to spend money on experiences rather than products. In fact, 79% of millennials believe that participating in events helps them connect better with their friends, communities and the world at large.


Millennials and members of Generation Z are interested in authenticity, not salesmanship. They prefer insights from their peers, people whose lives are like theirs, rather than from celebrities or people who seem “too cool” to be true. 

This characteristic opens up the opportunity for influencer marketing. 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.

With 74% of millennials actively using Facebook, and a similar percentage of Gen Z regularly perusing Instagram (plus large percentages using other popular social media platforms routinely), influencer marketing is quickly becoming the marketing channel of choice for brands looking to target these audiences successfully.


+ See a successful influencer marketing campaign showcase.



Supporting a good cause is the perfect way to incentivize Millennials and Gen Z to act. Showing that you care about making the world a better place is something these audiences can get behind. From environmental protection to civil rights, align your messaging with a good cause, and you are sure to see a positive impact on audience engagement.


Combine multiple advertising tactics for maximum effect.

Here’s an example of one effective way to engage millennials and Gen Z using several of the advertising tactics we covered above:

  • Begin building a community of followers using the social media platform(s) where they are most active.
  • Invite your target audience to an event, either in-person or virtual.
  • Partner with one or more social media influencers who speak to your desired niche market. 
  • Increase attendance by offering some type of giveaway. This could be anything from free food to an e-book download. 
  • Encourage your online community to share the event (before, during and after) with their own online connections. As a marketer, there is almost nothing better than fans doing your work for you.
  • Watch your fan base grow and your sales numbers rise as your brand evangelists spread the word.

Learn more about how we engage with Millennial and Gen Z audiences where they live, work, study, and play.




Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia 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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