The Ultimate Gen Z Video Marketing Guide

You may know them for their bold opinions, digital instincts, or passion for improving the world around us. No matter what characteristic you think of first, Gen Z is top of mind for many marketers — and for good reason.

According to Forbes, “By 2026, Generation Z could represent the largest U.S. consumer population at 82 million people.” With this in mind, it’s critical to begin understanding their habits, shopping behaviors, and other characteristics early on so we track and keep up with changes as the generation evolves. 

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z encompasses all 10 to 25 years old in 2022. Though not everyone in this generation is yet on the internet or social media, they are already having a tremendous impact on the world — one that’s expected to grow as the generation gets older. 

Below, we’ll explore more about Gen Z, where they spend their time online, and how your business can create video content that appeals to them. 


Get to Know Gen Z 

What Platforms Do Gen Z Audiences Use?

Before you can begin marketing, you need to know where Gen Z spends their time online. 

TikTok

We’ll start off with the most buzz-worthy (and maybe most obvious!) platform: TikTok

When it comes to Gen Z and video, we know they prefer to consume video over static posts, making TikTok the perfect platform for this generation. According to Statista, Gen Z adults — ages 18 to 25 — spend an average of 10.12 hours on TikTok weekly, making it one of the best platforms to reach your audience. 

With over a billion monthly users around the globe, TikTok is a powerful marketing tool in general — but it’s specifically a great way to target Gen Z users. Nearly half — 47.4% — of TikTok users are under the age of 29, reaching all current Gen Z users and some of the younger Millennials. And it’s still growing! The platform is on track to see 1.5 billion users by the end of 2022.

How Does Gen Z Use TikTok? 
  • For entertainment. Of course, one of the main reasons any user opens the TikTok app is to be entertained by funny, lighthearted, and other enjoyable content. 
  • To conduct research. Instead of heading to Google, about 40% of Gen Z social media users turn to TikTok or Instagram to get their search results. For example, instead of reading about a restaurant online, Gen Z would rather see video content about the location and a review from a previous customer. 
  • To create their own content. Gen Z users take matters into their own hands by participating in ever-changing TikTok trends and sharing their own personal stories. 

 

YouTube

The average Gen Z adult spends 5.25 hours per week on YouTube, making it another great platform to reach your audience. 

HubSpot found that 56% of Gen Z users find new products or services more often on YouTube than on other social platforms. Your business can take advantage of this opportunity to create video content that drives new customers to your website — and remind existing customers why they choose you over your competitors. 

How Does Gen Z Use YouTube?
  • Learn. Think with Google reported, “80% of Gen Z teens say YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable about something.” This might include financial literacy or expanding their knowledge on ideas they began learning in school. 
  • Gain skills. In addition, Think with Google reported that “68% [of Gen Z teens] say YouTube has helped them improve or gain skills that will help them prepare for the future.” 
  • Relax. But don’t think they’re just here for education and personal improvement! According to Google’s research, YouTube was the number one way for the Gen Z audience to “relax or cheer up.” 

 

 

Snapchat

43.7% of Snapchat users are Gen Z, making this platform a successful way to reach your audience. Due to mostly using Snapchat for communication, the weekly average is a bit lower than the other platforms at 3.36 hours a week — but you can still use this time to make a significant impact. 

Snapchat, of course, is a bit different from other social media platforms. It features quick, relatable moments of real life that disappear after they’ve been opened and Stories that only last 24 hours. Because of the ephemeral nature of the content, Snapchat inspires people to check the platform often to avoid missing out on great content. No FOMO here! 

You can implement a number of different strategies to get your audience engaged, including in-story ads, commercials, and interactive filters. 

How Does Gen Z Use Snapchat?
  • Connect. This social platform is often used to communicate due to the photo and video aspects. Snapchat reported that 2 in 3 Gen Z users “use visual communication to create a more personal connection.”
  • Promote authenticity. Gen Z is often focused on creating genuine connections through authenticity — and one way they do this is through Snapchat. In fact, it’s been reported that “Snapchat is the #1 platform where people enjoy sharing what life is actually like or random/funny moments.”
  • Shop. Likely because of VR experiences and the visual nature of the platform, users are more likely to share their purchases and share content when shopping. Plus, users have the ability to try on certain products with filters and lenses before they even check them out online or in-store. 

 

 

Instagram

As video content becomes more popular on Instagram, it’s important for your brand to use that opportunity to connect with your audience. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” feature, but rather a key function in your marketing strategy. 

The average Gen Z adult uses Instagram for about 5 hours a week, according to Statista. Plus, the platform is expecting stable growth. Insider Intelligence estimates that “[In 2022], 30.8% of users will be Gen Zers, increasing to 35.1% in 2026.” 

How Does Gen Z Use Instagram?
  • Entertainment. Just like many other social media platforms, Instagram is often simply used for entertainment. Whether people are sharing photos from their life or scrolling through friends’ Stories, many enjoy using the platform for entertainment. 
  • Content creation and monetization. Along with TikTok and Youtube, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for content creators to make money through brand deals, including user-generated content.
  • Research. Just like TikTok, Gen Z users often use Instagram to search for trends, products, and services. Instead of typing “restaurants in Manhattan” into Google and reading written results, users are typing this into Instagram and then scrolling through the photos and videos. 

 

 

Streaming Services

Morning Consult found that 96% of Gen Z Americans subscribe to at least one streaming service, making streaming an effective way to reach your audience. With that in mind, placing advertisements on streaming services can help you reach your audience in a way that puts your brand front and center — right in your customers’ living rooms. 

So how can you make that happen? You can place your advertisements on streaming services through Connected TV (CTV) and other internet-connected over-the-top (OTT) devices, like Amazon’s Fire Stick or Apple TV, and their integrated applications. 

 

What Content Resonates With Gen Z?

Creative User-Generated Content (UGC)

Gen Z users deeply value the opinions of their peers. In fact, Insider Intelligence found that “More than half (57%) of Gen Z … respondents said they were spending more time with user-generated video than with video streaming services.”

This is, at least in part, due to the social proof that UGC creates. Popularized by a psychologist in the 1980s, “social proof” occurs when consumers see or hear about someone enjoying a product or a professional recommending a service, and that testimonial encourages them to want it for themselves.

With 80.2% of TikTok creators under the age of 24, UGC is a successful way to connect your Gen Z audience with people who are similar to them. You can use UGC for a variety of video types, including product promotion, advertisements, and lifestyle content (just to name a few). 

In this Pokémon Go example video advertisement, they showcase a person who uses the app engaging with characters through a VR experience. By using UGC video and showing off the VR features of the game, this ad creates an exciting experience for the viewer and entices them to use the app. 

Social proof is critical to creating consumer trust in your brand, especially with Gen Z. If your potential customers know other people have used and enjoyed your product, they’re more likely to try it, too. You may know them for their bold opinions, digital instincts, or passion for improving the world around us. No matter what characteristic you think of first, Gen Z is top of mind for many marketers — and for good reason. 

Related: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

Authentic Values-Based Content

Gen Z is passionate about their ability to change the world, including the impact they can have on the consumer marketplace. 

Snapchat found that an overwhelming majority of Zoomers care about taking actions that help improve the lives of others and the world as a whole, including shopping from ethical businesses that they can trust. 

In alignment with those who value collective progress, 70% of Gen Z respondents to a McKinsey survey make an effort to shop from companies they consider ethical. Because of this, it’s critical to discuss your values and how you take action on these values through internal and external initiatives. 

For example, in this FreshPet commercial, the brand discusses improving the lives of rescue animals. They discuss the issue, its importance, and what they’re doing to help. To wrap up the ad, they give viewers a call to action (CTA) to nominate their favorite rescue organization for a chance to win money, which drives potential customers to their website and engages with relevant organizations across the country. 

Engaging and Interactive Content

Since Gen Z users want to make a difference, they’re open to engaging with interactive content — especially when it allows them to make a statement on a topic they’re passionate about. 

Examples of interactive content could include: 

  • Encouraging your audience to make their own content, such as TikTok videos that follow a certain format or include a specific dance. 
  • Creating a “choose your own adventure” style video that allows your audience to make decisions about their own experience. 
  • Including clickable components within your videos, such as shoppable links to products.

However, not every video needs to be explicitly interactive. Engaging content that grabs attention is still effective! For example, this Rosetta Stone video is the perfect example of an advertisement that keeps your audience engaged. With a theme of Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, they explore local words to know, share some facts about the celebration, and showcase common activities for the day. Though this video doesn’t explicitly have links to click on, it’s still an engaging video on an interesting topic that can keep your audience entertained! 

Whether your business is creating educational YouTube videos or a Snapchat advertisement, your video content should be interactive and engaging. 

How Can Your Business Connect With Gen Z? 

Use Gen Z Video Marketing Best Practices

It’s All in the Details 

Don’t overlook the details when it comes to your video content marketing. You need to consider each element and any existing data you may have about: 

  • The platform where you’ll share the content
  • The type of video production that’s needed
  • How many actors will be in the video (if any) 
  • The length of your video
  • The target KPIs you’ll want to track 

For example, TikTok reported that 1 in 4 top-performing videos have a duration between 21 and 34 seconds and see an average of a 1.6% increase in impressions.” And if you don’t have video data yet, don’t worry! You can still use data from your static posts to inform your video creation process. 

Be Transparent and Authentic 

More than any other generation, Gen Z wants to get to know your business, what you do, and what you support. Since an overwhelming majority of Gen Z shoppers want to support ethical businesses, it’s critical to be transparent and authentic. 

To ensure your video content checks these boxes, you’ll need to understand why you’re making the video in the first place. When you create your video marketing strategy, put your “why” front and center, then add in the other elements to ensure authenticity. 

Plus, when you dig into and understand the purpose behind your content, you can avoid making cringey videos that make your audience hit the skip button. 

Produce Unique and Creative Videos

Possibly more than any other group, Gen Z has an expectation of consistent engaging content. As Forbes shared, “… Generation Z consists of online natives who are familiar with digital tactics and are simply drawn to fresh takes on advertising, such as authentic videos.” 

Because of this familiarity, you’ll really need to make your content stand out to get Gen Z’s attention. But don’t worry — you have many ways to do this, including through innovative technology. 

Insider Intelligence reported, “Young adults are the most avid adopters of augmented reality (AR) on social media, with 43% of those 24 and under having used such features and another 4% expressing intent to use them.” 

Since Gen Z is eager to adopt virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively), this is a great opportunity to engage with them while engaging their interests. 

For example, you might want to create and encourage your audience to use brand-specific: 

What Video Types Should Your Business Consider Using?

1. Brand Videos

Since Gen Z wants to get to know your brand, provide them with authentic videos that showcase who your brand is, what you do, and what you care about. 

For example, Meta showcased a branding video filled with event coverage from their Fitness+ Wellness Summit. This allows their audience to know that, at least in part, Meta is focused on the wellness of their consumers. In addition, this video showcases Meta’s global connection with influencers, creating a more relatable experience for viewers. 

2. CTV and OTT Video Advertisements 

CTV and OTT advertising are both effective ways to reach your audience through video ads. Since 46% of Gen Z audiences consume streaming services on a TV or smart TV, these ads can get their undivided attention. 

For example, this Mercedes-Benz advertisement is the perfect ad to show when your audience is focused on watching a show or a longer video. With high-quality, eye-catching graphics, this digital-focused ad creates an almost game-like experience and is perfect for targeting your Gen Z audiences. 

Don’t forget about mobile video optimization for your content! 36% of Gen Z audiences watch streaming services on a mobile phone.

3. Uplifting Video Content 

Since many Gen Z users turn to social media for relaxation and entertainment, your brand should create generally uplifting or positive video content. 

Video-first platforms have their own unique native experiences that users can’t find on other channels, which gives you the opportunity to connect with core audiences through the visual language they prefer. That’s partly why TikTok users overwhelmingly find ads on the platform to be fun and engaging, especially when compared to social channels that weren’t natively created for video, like Facebook. 

Calm’s message in the ad below is simple, yet incredibly appealing. With peaceful sounds, a serene background, and an actor simply looking around at the surroundings, Calm gets an effective and uplifting message across. 

Not sure where to start? See how QuickFrame Creators can help.

Create Engaging Video Content Your Audience Will Love 

Statista found that 80% of Gen Z respondents are more willing to try new brands online than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, it’s critical to get your brand in front of a Gen Z audience with unique and engaging video content. 

Reaching your target audience is critical to growing your business — but creating effective video content can be challenging. That’s where we come in! 

Related: Video Production Process: Everything You Need to Know

From awareness to acquisition, the QuickFrame platform connects you with creators who are ready to deliver high-performing video that’s built for every channel, audience, campaign, and objective. Plus, it’s always backed with exclusive performance data to make sure your ad stands out against the competition. 

Contact us today to learn more about our approach to creating effective video content! 

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