6 Suggestions To Engage Gen Z in the CTV Content

Industry Insights
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    As new generations come through, so do advertising preferences. Our world has had it all: direct contact with door-to-door salesmen, aggressive telemarketing, a colorful array of TV ads, and more recently huge numbers of advertising banners covering our screens. Each ad type worked well for a certain demographic but could often bring lackluster results when it came to newer audiences.

    Now that Gen Zers (a.k.a. zoomers) are slowly taking over the world of mainstream media, the biggest question remains: how can we keep them captivated by our CTV content?

    But for that, we first need to learn more about what the term “Gen Z” entails. 

    Defining the Z

    While researchers are still discussing the exact years, Gen Z loosely includes people from the mid-nineties to the early 2010s, making it the second youngest generation after the Alphas. Usually no older than 25 by 2023, ‘Z’ consists of people born during the start of the Internet era. As the first generation raised in a world full of information from a number of media sources, Gen Zs learned to maneuver through this sphere from a young age; that very skill became a complicated scenario for marketers trying to engage them.

    Millennials, the generation before zoomers, were more predisposed towards traditional digital advertising strategies, be they email promotions, online banners, video ads, or Facebook posts. In comparison, zoomers successfully avoid these strategies; for example, 84% of Gen Zers skip video ads altogether. With the Internet already being there when zoomers were born, they had to learn to filter out the more persistent and on-the-nose marketing approaches, and marketers had to improvise.

    Short, convenient, and diverse are the three keywords to success. More inclusive and tolerant than previous generations, Zs are striving to see a colorful and diverse world, and this thought is imprinted in their ad preferences. Not only that, but it has to be quick and convenient, too. Prone to multitasking, zoomers want to get it done quickly; if the ad is showing them the desired product, it is better to have the option of purchasing it the very next minute.

    With that in mind, what strategies work best for such a generation?

    Zealous Marketing

    So, faceless, generic marketing no longer works – ads need to adhere to their audience, both in content and format. Here is a list of CTV marketing strategies that apply these rules.

    Convenient shopping

    41% of Gen Z are impulse buyers. The fewer steps there are between discovering a product and buying it, the more likely they are to go ahead with the purchase. It is especially crucial in the context of CTVs.

    Imagine this scenario: a customer is watching their favorite show and encounters an ad. The product interests them, but when clicking on the ad, they stumble upon a difficult fill-out form with several steps. Their watching flow is interrupted, and the impulse is likely gone during the time they complete everything – a negative experience all around.

    Internal wallets and one-click purchases, however, solve this issue. The time between impression and purchase may be so short that it does not even constitute a pause in their show, and everything can be done in one go.

    QR Codes

    An even more non-intrusive option is a QR code that can be scanned in one swift motion. It is especially beneficial in the CTV format, as customers can just pull out their smartphone during their viewing experience instead of pausing what they’re watching.

    Combined with the previous tip, QR codes can become a godsend for Gen Zs, who are used to multitasking – chances are, the smartphone is already in their hand!

    Prioritize people, not brands

    The days of pure branded advertisements are long gone. With the emergence of YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok, Generation Z have turned towards celebrities and internet personas. Parasocial relationships gave them a new and very powerful tool to engage their audience.

    In the case of CTV advertising, that means more focus on native advertising as well as ads that include personas promoting your products. Zoomers probably won’t find that item of clothing very interesting in a vacuum, unless it is worn by their favorite celeb.

    In summary, try to show more faces and fewer products, and younger audiences will lock in on that.

    Capture hearts and minds with modern CTV features

    CTV apps already have a number of ways to implement marketing, from pre- and post-roll ads to overlays and carousels. However, all of this can be brought to the next level, and several apps are already experimenting with new formats.

    For example, a customer may notice a nice-looking hoodie that one of the characters in their show is wearing. Googling the exact same model can quickly become a nuisance, and customers may decide to just not bother with it at all. But what if the CTV app can provide them with information like the exact style and a purchase link? Bundle it up with QR codes, and you have a new marketing strategy!

    While most apps are still only exploring this technology, Amazon Prime’s X-Ray is slightly ahead of the field. As of now, it only provides bonus content such as the names of the actors and trivia, but we could see this technology developing into something like what is described above.

    Diversity And Activism

    For Gen Z, social and civic duty are very important. Of all the generations, Z’ers tend to strive for ethnic diversity, gender equality, and social justice the most. This reflects in their views on how media should look; if an ad wants to appeal to zoomers, it needs to uphold these values just as much.

    Make sure that your CTV advertisements’ actors are cast as diversely as possible, with a range of cultural groups and ethnic differences. Generation Z has long tried to push through these boundaries, wants to see a little bit of everyone, and appreciates it when brands succeed in doing that. However, you should not go overboard in this area , as “token” diversity may even make things worse. 

    Social activism is another consideration for advertisers, as 70% of Zoomers are involved in some kind of social or political cause. They want the world to support them and their beliefs, and they value the brands that do. In the CTV context, there are a number of ways of showing that, from seasonal ads that may highlight Pride Month and Day of Visibility to displaying your support in a battle against air pollution and climate change.

    Customization, Personalization, Liminality

    For Gen Zers, the world is a vibrant and interconnected blend of individuals, groups and causes. However, for this very reason, it is harder for them to stand out and make themselves visible. They do not necessarily want to carry the same accessories as others, dress just like those around them, but instead create their own style. For this reason, Zoomers are forever looking for something of their own, and product customization helps to solve that problem.

    It can be as simple as smartphones of different colors and configurations or as complex as full-blown individual designs with settings to tweak and twist. As long as the product can be personalized (remember AirPod engravings from Apple?), your audience is going to love it. Just ensure that the buying process is not overcomplicated. 

    Furthermore, Generation Zers like to discover new things and are often captivated by the flavor of the month. Making something unique and available only for a limited time is a surefire way to catch their attention. For example, it is especially noticeable with the success of Pride Month-exclusive products. Limitation means uniqueness, and uniqueness equals individuality, which is crucial for Zoomers.

    Zenith of CTV

    As Gen Zers enter their 30s, the CTV industry is becoming more inclined to center their efforts around them. The changes are already visible, with shows and ads full of diverse casts, numerous influencers promoting their products, and shops made with customers’ convenience in mind. Still, it is only a glimpse of what is yet to come.

    We may see entire CTV ecosystems built around the preferences of Zoomers. Constantly surrounded by CTV and smartphone screens, they may become the primary audience for QR code shopping and the omnichannel approach.

    The only thing left for brands to do is to try and seem natural and authentic. After all, the members of Generation Z are ordinary people first and foremost. Do not try to force your brand to adjust to their beliefs; as with many generations, Zs value honesty and integrity above all else.