Next-Gen Media: Successful strategies for addressing the young target group

Next-Gen Media: Successful strategies for addressing the young target group

The so-called digital natives – i.e. 18 to 30-year-olds – already represent a decisive purchasing power for advertisers. However, their media usage behaviour differs significantly from older generations. Advertisers should therefore ask themselves how they can convince and inspire digital natives.

Elisabeth Horn, Maira Villena Nigro and Daniel Kurth provided suggestions for planning and implementing effective campaigns to communicate with the young target group as well as ideas on how TikTok can be used as an effective marketing weapon in our JOM IMPULSE on 12 June 2024.

JOM IMPULSE in a Nutshell

Elisabeth Horn, Teamlead Digital Media Consulting JOM Group: Which channels are suitable for addressing Generation Z?
In order to address digital natives effectively, you first need to understand what makes the target group tick. Although they belong to GenZ, they have a certain purchasing power due to the fact that they are between the ages of 18 and 30 and are therefore very relevant for advertisers. But what does media usage look like? Basically: digital first! According to a “best for planning” study from 2023, 67 per cent use video streaming and 55 per cent music streaming. And as traditional media is becoming increasingly less relevant for them, video on demand (VoD), social media and music streaming are also the channels through which the target group can best be reached.

Streaming generation
According to a Kantar study, also from 2023, the migration from traditional TV to non-linear video has led to a general increase of 15 per cent in VoD over the last four years. The share of usage is particularly high among digital natives, which means that very high reach can be achieved in the younger target groups.

Connected TV (CTV) also offers advertisers other advantages. For example, users are more relaxed during consumption and therefore more receptive to advertising, as they are in a lean-back situation. In addition, advertising on the big screen is generally more attention-grabbing and, compared to traditional TV, advertising acceptance is significantly higher on CTV as the advertising blocks are shorter. Advertising campaigns are also much more flexible and adaptable than on linear TV, as adverts can be booked programmatically on connected TV.

Generation headphones
Music streaming is also very popular with this generation. It is no coincidence that digital natives are referred to as the “headphone generation”, as 80 per cent of them listen to podcasts weekly or even daily according to the ARD/ZDF online study from 2023. High reach can therefore be achieved with podcast advertising. At the same time, the acceptance of advertising in podcasts is high, as the adverts are perceived as less annoying.

Advertisers have various options for selecting the right podcast environments for their brand presence. They can either select individual suitable podcasts themselves or choose compiled bundles of different podcasts. With the target group approach via the Audience Network, they can also book the perfect mix for their target group from various playlists or channels from publishers.

Brands can also choose various advertising formats to place their adverts in the music streaming environment. With Instream Audio Ads, the audio adverts are integrated during the active session, but premium users cannot be reached in this way. These can be addressed via audio ads in podcasts. There are two options here: Either the spots are integrated into podcasts as host read ads, where the podcasters record the adverts themselves, or spots are played by so-called voice talent ads. Trust in advertising is particularly high with host read ads, as the podcasters are seen as trusted people in their community.

Gaming generation
However, digital natives are not only the headphone generation, but also the gaming generation. After all, 91 per cent of 16 to 29-year-olds see themselves as gaming users. Casual mobile gamers play occasionally and are mostly female. Hardcore PC gamers are 68 per cent male and invest a lot of time and money in games. Console gamers, as the name suggests, mainly play on consoles such as Xbox and Playstation, 44 per cent of whom also use them for streaming. Streamers have their own community with whom they share their experiences. A full 64 per cent of millennials and GenZ belong to them.

Games also offer various opportunities for advertisers to place adverts. In-game ads embed the adverts in the game so that the ongoing gaming experience is not interrupted. “Around the game ads” are played around the game, but not directly in the game. Outside of the game, for example in the streaming environment, the target group can be reached via “Away from the Game Ads”.

Social media are also very popular and have both high affinities and high usage among GenZ. TikTok in particular is very popular with the young target group.

Maira Villena Nigro, Director Strategy Catchy&Co and Daniel Kurth, Creative Director Catchy&Co: How should brands present themselves on TikTok to successfully appeal to GenZ?
TikTok has long been more than just a trend and can be an effective marketing weapon if advertisers know how to utilise the platform correctly. To do this, marketers need to develop an understanding of how digital natives use the app. TikTok is no longer just used for dances and crazy challenges, but serves GenZ as a search engine replacement for Google. From practical tips such as “How do I tie a tie?” to restaurant recommendations for the next city trip and the latest news, digital natives use the app to find information. Although 25 to 44-year-olds are also increasingly found on TikTok, a look at the app’s users shows that 38 per cent of the 27 million users in Germany belong to GenZ. This also means that they play a key role in setting the tone on the app. In concrete terms, this means dry humour, sarcasm and plenty of self-irony.

This is another special feature that brands on TikTok should take into account. GenZ is willing to support brands, but only if they speak their language. Companies should therefore not simply recycle content from other channels such as Instagram, but break away from old marketing strategies and create content tailored to the platform. This is because people are looking for entertainment on TikTok, which is why the attention of users must be captured within the first 2.5 seconds of a video, otherwise they will quickly scroll on.

Formats such as memes or sketches, for example between employees, which provide insights into the company culture, are particularly popular. In principle, however, informative content can also work as long as it is not exclusively focused on this and is presented in a humorous and understandable way. Brands should make their content as diverse as possible. This can also be achieved with various recurring series, ideally with one or more brand faces. TikTok is also a great way to build communities, so brands should always try to involve them. Deichmann has done this well: The shoe retailer has developed a Paw Patrol shoe together with the community as part of a TikTok series. It was a resounding success – at the launch, customers gathered outside the stores to get their hands on one of the limited edition shoes.

In addition to organic content, which ideally takes place several times a week on the brand channel, ads and creator marketing should also be used. Because on no other platform are the ads as favourable and the creators as creative as on TikTok.

For the generation that has grown up with smartphones and for whom “digital first” applies, traditional TV alone no longer works. Advertisers should therefore take a close look in advance at where their target group is moving in order to decide which medium is best suited to reach them. Digital natives can be reached particularly well via VoD, podcasts and gaming channels. However, social media and TikTok in particular also play a major role for the younger generation. However, for brands to be successful on this platform, they need to move away from the way advertising is done on other channels. Speaking the language of the app and proactively involving it is crucial for building a community.