Gen Z & Influencers: A Guide to Gen Z Influencer Marketing

As audiences change, so does marketing. Gen Z, the newest customer base, is more interested in the voice, values, and authenticity of a brand. And the way to Gen Z’s heart is through advocacy by influencers.

Millennials and Gen Z (or Gen Zers) are truly the internet generation. Born respectively during the early 80s and late 90s, both generations rely heavily on online mediums for almost all of their activities, from shopping and communicating to travelling and eating out. However, when it comes to the kind of content they consume, both have very different preferences.

This has also affected the way brands are utilising the internet to pitch their branded marketing content towards the two generations. Millennials were early adopters of new technology and, as such, completely enamoured by it. They were exploring completely new territory here and it was easy to get swept up in what they read online. Brands started creating obviously sales-y content to reach out to millennials—and it was working. Think clickbait headlines, overenthusiastic exaggerated content, and a generous dose of marketing gimmicks. 

Gen Z, however, is a bit luckier. Born and brought up with the internet, they are exposed enough to the online world to tell branded content apart from organic with just a look. They can smell traditional marketing techniques from miles away, and they do absolutely nothing to evoke any positive sentiments in them. That’s why brands should put aside traditional marketing techniques and consider more genuine ways, in particular influencer marketing, to connect with Gen Zers.

Gen Z, a generation born & brought up with the internet, distinguishes branded content from organic with just a look. Brands need to lose traditional marketing techniques and approach Gen Z differently. Click To Tweet

What is the relation between Gen Z and Influencers?

Studies into Gen Z behaviour show that influencers have the ability to affect their shopping habits. According to research done by Kantar, 44 per cent of Gen Zers have made a shopping decision based on an influencer’s recommendation. Another research by SurveyMonkey reveals that more than half of Gen Z (58 per cent, to be precise) has shopped based on a recommendation from a social media influencer or content creator.

This brings us to an important question: What exactly is the relation between Generation Z and Influencers?

Gen Z honours authenticity & is more inclined towards individuals they can relate to. They are more likely to accept influencer recommendations and buy from a brand whose values resonate with theirs. Click To Tweet

It’s clear that Gen Z is highly ‘influenced’ by influencer marketing techniques, and there’s a good reason for that. Authenticity is a trait that Gen Z honours greatly. They are more inclined to trust individuals who are relatable and who possess in-depth knowledge about the product they’re promoting. For this reason, influencers are extremely popular among Gen Z, a fact backed by research done by  

Gen Z is majorly influenced by the idea that life is too short to live on one track. And this idea has made them vocal about their opinions. They connect not just with influencers but with ground reality as well. That’s why they want to invest their time and money in a brand or influencer who reflects their values and personality.

Where is Gen Z active?

Research shows that, in this era of short attention spans, Gen Z is most active on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. If we look closely at these platforms, we can easily recognise a form of content that’s an obvious favourite: Videos.

Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube are dedicated to visual content. Usually, you’ll find that short videos and reels are the most popular when it comes to them. So, if you, as a brand, wish to target Gen Z as a target audience, you need to rope in influencers from these platforms, specifically those who are good at creating attractive reels or longer video content.

Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are preferred by Genz, and videos are an obvious favourite style of content consumption. If Gen Z is a target audience for your brand, you need to rope in influencers from these platforms. Click To Tweet

Why should brands target Gen Z?

A better question is: Why not?

Gen Z is the biggest upcoming (and current) group of customers that are loyal, value-driven, and quick in making purchase decisions. If your brand is in coherence with their brand value, you have a loyal customer base even without having to push your limits. Similarly, if, as a brand, you’re authentically vocal about a cause, you will soon see your authenticity converted into leads. 

Close to 90% of parents say that their Gen Z kids influence their purchase decisions for a diverse range of products, from toys and games to dine-outs, events, and electronic goods. Click To Tweet

Gen Z kids also play a major role in family buying decisions. According to a report by National Retail Federation (NRF), close to 90 per cent of parents say that their Gen Z kids influence their purchase decisions for a wide range of products and services, including toys and games, dine-outs, events, and electronic goods. Specifically speaking, Gen Z influences 36 per cent of household purchases and 48 per cent of purchases for the kids. So, yes: Why not Gen Z?

How do brands get Gen Z’s attention?

Traditional marketing is a big no.

We can’t stress enough about keeping things real for Gen Z. They spot branded content very easily and distance themselves from it almost immediately. As a brand, you must use innovative marketing methods such as influencer marketing if you want to grab their attention and retain it.

Gen Z is loyal.

Gen Z is quite a loyal bunch and relates more to the influencers than the brands. They think of influencers as the voice of the generation—and this builds trust between the two. Therefore, as a brand, you need to target popular influencer marketing platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.

As customers, Gen Z is value-driven and quick in making purchase decisions. If your brand is in coherence with their values and are authentically vocal about a cause, you will soon see your authenticity converted into leads. Click To Tweet

Join the Gen Z community. 

Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is extremely community-oriented. They want to be a part of something. Brands should identify this culture and try to actively engage with Gen Z communities rather than marketing products as an outsider.

Keep your content raw and authentic.

Let inputs from Gen Zers guide your content creation. Talk to them. Ask them about their opinions and what they want to see in the content. Then, create campaigns that will allow them to communicate their views.

Empathy goes a long way. 

Gen Z is quite vocal when it comes to social issues. Showcase the human side of your brand. Vocally stress on social causes. However, try not to hijack an organic movement with branded content; it will most probably backfire. You should also avoid certain things that will cause your influencer marketing campaigns to fail. Have a look here.

Born a decade after the millennials, Generation Z has been brought up with the internet from the get-go, and they are strongly connected to social media communities. Almost all Gen Zers validate their purchases by showcasing them on social media. Even before making purchase decisions, checking them with their peers on social media is a norm for Gen Z.

To sum up, Gen Z is very strongly involved in the community aspect of social media. Brands should also keep in mind that Gen Z considers small influencers part of their circle and community, which is why they should start targeting future customers with authentic content through these influencers.

Team Adfluence

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