Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

There's a new wave of influential consumers on the horizon, and now is the time to pay attention. This past month, our media team attended the Her Campus GenZology Summit where we learned how marketers can connect with Generation Z, an emerging demographic of rapidly evolving consumers. Whether your brand is primarily targeting Gen Z or trying to gain a foothold among younger consumers, these takeaways can help kickstart your Gen Z marketing strategy. 

Who is Gen Z?

  • Born in 1998 or later
  • Digital natives and early adopters of technology
  • Socially conscious and culturally diverse
  • Establishing their independence: 80% of Gen Z makes their own purchasing decisions

GEN Z’S CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Brand Discovery and Consideration Starts Close to Home

New to adulthood and financial decision-making, members of Gen Z are thoughtfully developing their brand preferences. When considering whether to buy a new product or service, Gen Z is eager to learn about the brand and will consistently seek information throughout their consumer journey. Not all information sources are equally impactful, though – Gen Z primarily looks to their social circle to guide purchase decisions. 

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 2.56.27 PMDrive Conversions with Community

Gen Z strongly values social relationships, so it’s no surprise that these connections are also key purchase drivers. Gen Zers are most likely to be won over by recommendations from friends and family, as well as positive real-life experiences with brands.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 2.57.02 PM

For marketers, a Gen Z-targeted media strategy should prioritize channels that have a trusted presence within their market. 

What are some effective tactics?

  1. Social: Paid & organic social posts
  2. Content promotion: Sponsored content on sites with a large Gen Z readership
  3. High-impact creative: Eye-catching visuals that make your brand the topic of conversation is the cherry on top for earning Gen Z loyalty

FreeformFreeform’s 6-week OOH campaign made a lasting impact by inspiring a wave of organic social engagement.

Let’s Get Virtual: Consumer Trends in the Age of COVID-19

COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, and social distancing poses a challenge to both community-seeking Gen Zers and the brands trying to reach them. However, digital platforms present innovative opportunities for Gen Z to stay connected during these difficult times. eCommerce and virtual experiences have also allowed consumer activity to stay strong. 

Here are ways that brands can grow relationships with an engaged Gen Z audience: 

  1. Give Back: Be a force of good by contributing to the community and communicating with empathy and reassurance.
  2. Virtual Experiences: Host interactive virtual events that bring consumers together.
  3. Promote Self-Care: Food, clothing, and skincare products are popular purchases that help Gen Z feel uplifted while staying home.
  4. Steals and Deals: Encourage future IRL purchases with incentives like samples, coupons and loyalty programs – Gen Z is looking forward to shopping in person again! 

SOCIALLY DRIVEN

Utilizing Social in a Socially Distant Environment 

While the future may remain uncertain, social media platforms have remained a constant in helping Gen Z feel connected. Pre-COVID-19, Her Campus reported that 51% of Gen Z college students spent 2 hours a day on social media, and 28% spent upwards of 3-4 hours a day. 

Since then, there has been a surge in social media usage among Gen Z, as today’s state of social distancing has made maintaining relationships more important than ever. With this in mind, brands should leverage their social platforms to connect with the Gen Z audience in a meaningful and impactful way. 

Specific Social Habits

When it comes to social, Gen Zers have very specific habits unique to each platform, and brands should adjust their social media strategy accordingly.

Instagram – Preferred Source for Brand Interaction

Instagram allows for a wide variety of content to be produced and consumed, making it Gen Z’s preferred choice when it comes to brand interaction.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 2.59.40 PM

Additionally, likes are no longer the main KPI on Instagram. Number of shares are equally as important and can lead to increased followers, helping to boost your brand’s overall success. 

How can your brand increase its following?

  1. Post High Quality Content: Brands should post relatable, relevant and authentic content to drive increased engagement among the Gen Z audience.
  2. Interact With Your Audience: Replying to your audience when they comment or mention your brand goes a long way in making the Gen Z audience feel seen.
  3. Learn Their Language: Gen Z has their own way of communicating, so it is important to keep up with the new slang to better relate to this audience.

Twitter – Personalize Your Brand

Once fading in its appeal due to the rise of Facebook and Instagram, Twitter has once again become a highly relevant source of content for the Gen Z audience. From meme culture to article promotion and interactive polls, Gen Z is eager to consume relatable content on Twitter and feel as though your brand cares.

How should your brand adapt its Twitter platform to draw Gen Z in?

  1. Understand You Are More Than A Company: Company accounts that take on a more personal approach resonate much more with the Gen Z audience. Gen Z wants to feel as though your Twitter handle is managed by an individual and not a buttoned-up corporation. 
  2. Reply and Retweet: Like Instagram, taking the time to respond to user mentions and replies can help your brand connect with its audience and grow its following.

Facebook – Groups, Events, and Content, OH MY! 

Facebook is still considered an important social platform for Gen Z, and is primarily used for three key purposes:

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 3.00.42 PM

How can your brand cater its marketing strategy based on each of these three purposes?

  1. Groups: Ensure your brand is consistently posting relevant updates and articles specific to your brand’s group pages to keep Gen Z engaged. 
  2. Events: Utilize Facebook to raise awareness around key brand events for greater interest and attendance.
  3. General Content: 76% of Gen Z utilizes facebook solely to consume content, so it is important to make sure your brand consistently posts high quality content such as videos and branded articles for increased awareness. 

SnapChat – Mainly for Peer Interaction

SnapChat is a hot spot for Gen Z. However,  they use the app mainly for peer-to-peer interaction and are less likely to engage with brands. Brands should focus their marketing strategy on social platforms that show stronger engagement among Gen Z, such as Twitter and Instagram. 

TikTok – A New Opportunity for Consumer Interaction 

TikTok is the latest craze among the Gen Z audience, used solely to consume and create video-specific content. 

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 3.01.21 PM

With roughly 1.5 billion downloads (more than Instagram and Facebook), TikTok is a key source in reaching the Gen Z audience. The 60 second video limit forces TikTok content creators to be innovative and impactful in a short period of time. Brands must follow suit by promoting short, yet impactful creative to stand out in such a fast-paced environment.

TikTok offers a wide variety of advertising opportunities, allowing brands to pick and choose the most effective tactics for their specific marketing strategies. While like SnapChat, Gen Z is slightly less likely to engage with brands while scrolling through TikTik, your brand can still make an impression on this unique audience. 

Influencer Partnerships: Brands should tap into influencer partnerships as they provide a less invasive and more organic way of putting your brand in front of Gen Z. 

AUTHENTICITY MATTERS

Authenticity: The Key to Gen Z’s Heart (and Wallet) 

Gone are the days of the “perfect” brand. When it comes to Gen Z, they are much more interested in a brand that is “real” than a brand that portrays a “perfect” persona. They relate more to ads from micro-influencers than celebrities, and strive to find brands that have a sense of community. An easy way to begin creating this community is to invest time into strong community management. When Gen Z interacts with a brand on social media, they expect a response. Whether it’s commenting back or replying to/reposting an Instagram story, Gen Z wants to feel like they are a part of the brand’s community through social interactions, so community management is crucial.

Influencers: The Trusted Voice

Every day, a celebrity posts a #sponsored #ad for a product that influences people to scramble to find their wallets so that they can use the same product as their favorite celebrity. What’s more, the past few years have given birth to non-celebrities becoming influencers, and Gen Z is very receptive to these influencers. Some fast facts about Gen Z’s purchasing behavior based on a panel of Gen Z consumers:

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 3.02.12 PM

If your brand wants to reach Gen Z, utilizing Influencer Marketing is a good place to start. A few tips on how to develop an influencer strategy:

Step 1: Instill A Sense Of Community

  • Work with influencers who are open to attend local meet-ups or networking opportunities that are hosted by your brand, and that make the Gen Z consumer feel appreciated. They don’t want to feel like it is a simple transaction for your brand through the influencer.

Step 2: Form Strategic Partnerships With Your Influencers

  • Strive towards long-term partnerships. This not only establishes authenticity with the Gen Zers by letting them know that the influencer uses the product/service long-term, but also allows you to retarget top audience segments. You should also look to take a deep dive into the influencer’s audience when planning your campaign – just using their baseline stats only allows you to scratch the surface.

Step 3: Create Premium Experiences with Influencers

  • When possible, aim to continue the conversation with Gen Z and brand influencers through meaningful activations in relevant moments and environments that matter to Gen Z. Here, you should be adaptable; experiences don’t just have to be face-to-face. They can make just as much of an impact when they happen virtually, too.

To successfully market your brand to Gen Z consumers, it’s clear that genuine connections matter above all else. With a mix of authentic messaging, strategic media planning, and an understanding of the Gen Z community’s values, brands can win their loyalty (and dollars) when it matters most. 

 

Related Posts

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for May 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month.   May 2022 Overview Looking through the top searched phrases in May 2022, it is difficult not to fixate on the topics that may upset our safety.  From the JIF Peanut Butter recall to the outbreak of Monkeypox to the Cryptocurrency crashes, there were many top queries where information was needed to understand the issue and take proper courses of action.   On the flip side, there are many phrases that reinforce our desire to learn more about events.  The Met Gala was a top queried topic for two days in a row to start off the month. Two horse races and two car races also made the daily top 3 in May - another sign that these annual events are reestablishing their hold on our attention like they did before the pandemic. Lastly, we cannot ignore that the tragic mass shooting events in both Buffalo and Uvalde, TX drove people to Google to learn more. Both events claimed the top queried phrases on the days they occurred and we’ll analyze what Google Trends reported on May 14th and 24th.   Five Wonderful Holidays In Month Number 5 Holidays always propel search volume from users seeking more information about the day.  Here are the top 5 from May: May the 4th be with you - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Cinco de Mayo - 5/4/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mother's Day - 5/7/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Happy Mother's Day - 5/8/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Memorial Day - 5/29/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries  The unofficial Star Wars day starts the list on the 4th, even though Trends reported it on the 3rd.  Mother’s Day gets two appearances on our list. The one on the 7th was driven by clicks to a Google Doodle. Memorial Day finished off the month with a Doodle of its own. The team dug a little deeper into Cinco de Mayo since it also made the list.  Here’s the chart of search interest into this holiday over the last 5 years: With a dip in popularity in 2019, the topic has seen increasing search volume since then. AMP Agency wrote a blog post about Recalibrating Cinco de Mayo with information about the holiday and how we as marketers can promote celebrating the holiday responsibly.  This notion may be driving some increased search interest in the holiday as people seek more information about it.   Top Queried Video Entertainment It was a low month for the number of film titles or TV shows making the daily top 3 in May 2022.  Here are the three queries that made it. Dr Strange - 5/5/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Stranger Things season 4 - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Fantastic Beasts - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries The latest installment of the Marvel movie franchise was released near the beginning of the month. We don’t think Dr. Strange will be the subject of the biggest money making film of the summer.  That honor, we predict, will go to Thor. Check out this prediction and more in our Summer 2022 Trends report. The long awaited Stranger Things Season 4 debuted on May 27th and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore started streaming on the 30th.   Met Gala After a cancellation in 2020 and a delayed to September event last year, The Met Gala returned to its typical May timeframe and drove users to see the latest in haute couture. Met Gala 2022 - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Met Gala 2022 - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Comparing the daily query numbers to years past, the 5 million plus reported on May 2nd is the largest of the past 4 years.  This event’s popularity has hit a new high if we use search volume as our measure.   News Items Since there were a large number of queries for news items, we decided to include this list in our report for May 2022. Buffalo - 5/14/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Shooting - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Monkeypox - 5/18/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Texas school shooting - 5/24/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries News - 5/24/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Mona Lisa - 5/30/2022 - 200,000+ queries Johnny Depp Verdict - 5/31/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Looking at this list, the majority of the topics are horrific.  Note that the same day of the Robb Elementary School shooting, the second most queried phrase was “News”.  We are not sure if that is an accurate query report or a glitch in the Daily Trends reporting but we present the data as we recorded it. There was an attempt to vandalize The Mona Lisa painting on the 30th and the verdict of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial was handed down on the 31st.   Keywords Related to US Politics Along with News Items, topics aligned to the world of US Politics were also a popular category of queries: Roe v. Wade - 5/2/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries J. D. Vance - 5/3/2022 - 500,000+ queries Jen Psaki - 5/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Pennsylvania primary - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Madison Cawthorn - 5/17/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Beto O'Rourke - 5/24/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The keyword with the most search volume of this list is Roe v. Wade, which was queried because of a leaked draft opinion that suggests the court will overturn the 1973 decision. It is reported that a decision will be made in June 2022 so we will report on what Google Trends published in our next report.   Crypto Collapse We can mark May 2022 as a month where the value of cryptocurrency took a tumble. Luna crypto - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Coinbase - 5/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Bitcoin - 5/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Each of these phrases is related to a drop in the value of these coins/companies.  We will continue to monitor the trends related to this subject in the months ahead.   NBA Playoffs and Finals The NBA playoffs has been a hot topic throughout the month of May 2022.  Here we present only the phrases that received 1 million queries or more that are NBA related - there are 19 of them: Warriors vs Grizzlies - 5/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Miami Heat - 5/12/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/13/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/13/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Suns - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Dallas Mavericks - 5/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/19/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/22/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/25/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Warriors - 5/26/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Celtics - 5/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Trying to stay objective here, but as Celtics fans, we’re totally caught up in the search interest of this topic this year.   What We Call Soccer What the rest of the world calls football is popular here in the States, at least from a search perspective. Real Madrid vs Man City - 5/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool - 5/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Champions League - 5/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Argentina vs Italy - 5/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries Since the World Cup is scheduled for November of this year, we predict that month will be filled with football-related queries. You have been warned.   Horse Racing With in-person sports events back to full capacity, the query volumes for the famous horse races in May have recovered: Kentucky Derby 2022 - 5/6/2022 - 5,000,000+ queries Kentucky Derby 2022 horses - 5/6/2022 - 500,000+ queries Preakness 2022 - 5/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries We found it interesting that there was a specific keyword about the horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Then again, with online gambling becoming legal in more states, this instance may not be so surprising.   Car Racing Not just horses but also cars, racing was popular in May 2022. Miami Grand Prix - 5/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Indy 500 - 5/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The Formula One Miami Grand Prix had its debut and the Indy 500 had its 106th running this year.  Again, with people back in the stands, these events have regained their search popularity.   Odds & Ends Finally - we present this category of phrases that we felt were worth showcasing in our report but didn’t fit nicely into an established category: Jif peanut butter recall - 5/21/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Most times, we are excited to see food related queries make the daily top 3 in Google Trends. Um, not this month. Lunar eclipse - 5/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries The Lunar eclipse spurred people to seek more information about the astronomical event. ATOLL - 5/29/2022 - 500,000+ queries We weren’t sure what to make of this query when we saw it on Google Trends but with some investigation, we found that this word was the solution to Wordle 345.  We guess that people hadn’t seen that word before and didn’t know what it meant (a ring-shaped island). We think it is fitting to end this report of the 5th month of 2022 with a 5 letter word.  Wait a minute - how did we end April 2022? Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services. Until next month.

If you’re curious, the “How Might We…” (HMW) framework for creative problem solving originates back to the work of Sidney J. Parnes, Ph.D, in his Creative Behavior Guidebook published in 1967. Dr. Parnes referred to the framework as “Invitation Stems” or “How Mights”. Dr. Parnes' work also led to the additional questions of “How might I?”, “How might you?”, “How might our team?”, and “How might our customers?”. Today, HMW remains one of the most powerful tools for kicking off a process of “challenge mapping.” “How might we…” is the kind of question that lacks hard requirements at first and can feel unanswerable. However, if you get the right people engaged, the answers that surface will lead to progress.    How does AmpXD tackle HMW Questions? We start by making sure that the whole team understands the question and starts on common footing. Some follow up questions may be necessary. Have we answered an HMW question like this for other clients or internally at AMP?  Can we rely on past experience or will the answer require us to build from scratch?  What perspectives will be required to generate the right answer? Engineering? Design? Content? Business objectives? Next, we assemble the team. The best HMW teams represent all who stand to benefit from the answer as well as those who could help us get there. They are a cross section of the organization as well as users, customers, and subject matter experts. Whether you use an agency like AMP or decide to go it alone, there are a few key attributes that each team member must have. Each team member needs to be open, have broad and relevant expertise, and be fearless about sharing ideas and opinions in public.  The last consideration for a successful outcome is access. The team will need access to: One another Leadership  Information Insight into what is possible.    Now that the team is assembled, what can we expect? Answers! If you’ve done the work to fully understand the question, assemble the right team, and provide access to resources, you can expect progress. Once we have a set of answers to our HMW question, we can start to sift for the right one.  Each answer must be measured against cost and timeline estimates. If you’ve come to the right answer, everyone will know it. If you don’t find the right answer, often you’ll be left with a new, better HMW question to work with. 

  AMP Agency’s Top Trends of Summer 2022 Predictions Report   AMP Agency has published a report as a part of their Search Insights service. This report is available for download and provides audience insights to help inform your marketing and business decisions for the coming season.   AMP Agency’s VP of SEO John Krochune thinks that search interest is a strong indicator of future trends.  “My team and I dive deep into historical search query data, using a variety of tools, to uncover trends. I think this public set of audience data is being underutilized in marketing and we are publishing this report to provide a wealth of information that other sources may not provide.”   The Top Trends of Summer 2022 report has insights on 40 topics across 8 different categories including travel, fashion, and entertainment.  The data presented in the report is pulled straight from Google’s Keyword Planner (US only) and is paired with our analysis of why we think the topic will increase in popularity this summer.   Download our Summer Trends report and learn more about our hot predictions for this coming season.