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May 26, 2023

The key to Gen Z: successfully targeting a new generation

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

Twenty-somethings are a key demographic for growing an emerging brand, so its worth learning the all ins and out of targeting Gen Z. Today’s twenty year olds are built a bit differently than generations of the past. Advertisers already noticed, as the millennial generation entered adulthood, that newer generations have different problems and different childhoods than those before them, resulting in a need for different marketing strategies and, at times, reimagined products. This is just as true, if not more so, for Generation Z. 

A generation raised on overstimulation and an over-saturation of advertisements has learned to ignore them. They can and will ignore most obvious advertising. Additionally, this generation, like the last, faced significant financial difficulties and has less spending money to go around than previous cohorts. 

This is all to say that impactful, targeted advertising is needed for the new generation. Here are some tips on making your marketing strategies effective and meaningful for Generation Z.


Tips for successful Gen Z targeting:

These are some key things to consider when targeting today’s twenty-somethings.

Be creative 

Standing out from your competition by creating interesting and engaging stories is a great way to create shareable and entertaining ads that are sure to capture a younger audience. Importantly, make sure the stories you tell are relevant to the generation you’re speaking to. 

This ad from Samsung is captivating; the timeless love story between a spider and a phone is one for the ages. Samsung’s ad works because of its unique storytelling, catchy music, and wonderfully warm humor. 


Use humor 

Everyone loves to laugh. If you can tap into the unique, internet influenced sense of humor prevalent in Gen Z audiences then you are sure to create a viral success. Trust the instincts of your younger team members  with this. – You may not understand the comedy in viral social media posts, but your employees probably do (and many of these jokes are incredibly time sensitive – act now or miss out). 

This ad from Bud Light plays off classic office humor and uses some well places *bleeps* to get its audience laughing. The office swear jar in this ad provides the perfect backdrop for a fresh take on crude humor that appeals to a wide audience. 


Blend in 

While you want to stand out from the competition, you want to blend in with the media you’re advertising on. Zoomers can tune out an ad in seconds; if you want them to watch your story from start to finish, it can’t feel like an ad. If you’re advertising on CTV, your ad should feel like it belongs on that platform – it should entertain and amuse the same way you’re audience’s TV shows do. 


Simpler times. Video by @christianc561 #kungfutea #bubbleatea #boba #bobachallange

♬ original sound – Kung Fu Tea

This 15 second ad for Kung Fu Tea perfectly blends into its surrounding, piggy-backing off of a popular trend in order to get viewers and boost engagement. Ads like this work because they engage their audience by seamlessly fitting in with the rest of their platform (in this case, TikTok) 


Be conscious 

Gen Z is an incredibly socially conscious generation and expects more from the companies they buy from. If you walk the walk with social and environmental responsibility, you are far more likely to capture the younger generation. Purpose-based marketing is an effective way to connect to this younger demographic.


IKEA is one of the biggest furniture retailers in the world, and since it’s so affordable it’s already popular with new adults. And they know their audience. This ad brilliantly highlights some of its more sustainable products. 

Inform your strategy

Like all ad targeting, effective strategy comes from informed decisions. The best way to ensure your Gen Z targeting strategy is working is to use reliable, current, relevant data in order to adapt and adjust your strategy over time. When building your journey map, it’s essential that your information is current because trends and memes may be critical to success one moment, and totally irrelevant the next. You need data that is as fresh as the generation you’re speaking to. 

Using a journey mapping and implementation tool that provides real-time data and reporting gives you the tools you need to impactfuly talk to a Gen Z audience. Journey advertising allows you to prevent ad fatigue while also ensuring you speak to this target demographic in a way they will hear. Engage Gen Z with well planned journeys, capture their attention with strong creatives, and create follow through by relying on real-time data.


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