Marketing to Gen Z: 11 Strategies to Win Over Gen Z with Video Content

Not sure where to start with your marketing to Gen Z? Video content may be your best bet…

Looking to connect with Gen Z and turn them into raving fans? Check out these 11 tips for leveraging video content to market to Gen Z. From creating a community to celebrating individuality, you’ll reach Gen Z where they are and create content that resonates.

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Table of Contents

As the first generation to come of age in the era of social media, Gen Z is a particularly tough group to market to. They’re savvy, skeptical, and more likely than any other generation to ignore traditional advertising.

But there’s one medium that still has their attention: video content.

Engaging and relatable video content on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Youtube allows you to connect with Gen Zers on a personal level, build brand trust, and create a community of loyal fans.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss 11 ways you can use video content to turn Gen Z into your raving fans.

Why does Gen Z matter?

Generation Z is the new kid on the block—and they’re here to shake things up. Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the most diverse, connected, and entrepreneurial generation in history.

They’re also a major force to be reckoned with: In 2020, they made up 32% of the global population and accounted for $360 billion in spending power.

Marketing to Gen Z

As digital natives, Gen Z has always been comfortable with technology—and that’s reflected in their spending habits. They’re more likely than any other generation to research a product online before making a purchase, and they’re not afraid to shop around for the best deals.

But don’t mistake their frugality for a lack of spending power:

  • 64% prefer to pay more for eco-friendly products.
  • 73% only shop for products from the brands they believe in.
  • 97% of Gen Zers use social media to research the things they want to buy.

Gen Z also values:

  • Authentic and transparent brands
  • Connection and community
  • Experiences over things
  • Making a difference
  • Security

Why is video content important for Gen Z?

It’s no secret that Gen Z is a highly digitised generation. They are the first generation to grow up with smartphones and social media, and as a result, they have shorter attention spans and prefer bite-sized content that is easily digestible.

Enter videos

Video content is the perfect format for Gen Zers because:

  • It is highly engaging and can be consumed quickly on the go.
  • Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are extremely popular with this demographic, and video content suits these platforms well.
  • Videos are also highly shareable, which is essential for reaching Gen Z.
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11 Marketing strategies to win Gen Z using videos

Now that we’ve seen why video content works best for Gen Z, let’s see how you can leverage it. We’ll also analyse plenty of examples along the way, so keep reading below:

1. Emphasise your brand’s mission

When marketing to Gen Z, it is important to emphasise your brand’s mission. This generation is highly idealistic and wants to know that the brands they support share their values.

Emphasising your brand’s mission will make Gen Zers feel like they’ve become part and parcel of that mission. That’s how you can create a loyal brand community around your mission and shared values.

And this community will purchase your products.

Levi’s Buy Better, Live Longer campaign proves this point. The company highlights its numerous sustainability practices, leveraging Gen Z’s intrinsic care for our planet’s faith.

The brand partnered with six activists to drive its point across. And they’re all archetypes of the Z generation:

  • Xiye Bastida: Mexican-Chilean activist with indigenous origins, leader of the Re-Earth Initiative
  • Marcus Rashford: Gen Z football player and advocator against child hunger and homelessness
  • Melati Wijsen: Indonesian climate activist
  • Jaden Smith: 501cTHREE founder and Just Water co-founder
  • Xiuhtezcatl: Indigenous climate activist
  • Emma Chamberlain: High-profile Gen Z influencer

2. Use interactive content

Interactive content is a good strategy because Gen Z love to be involved and interact with the world around them.

Tactics include:

  • Interactive video content: You can create quizzes, polls, and other types of interactive elements that will encourage Gen Zers to participate.
  • Allowing Gen Zers to contribute their ideas and creations. You can do this by hosting competitions or challenges that enable them to show off their creativity.
  • Using Augmented Reality (AR): This is a great way to make your video content more interactive and engaging. Gen Zers love AR experiences and are more likely to share them with their friends.

For example, JD, a sports retailer in the UK, partnered with Nike to create an AR-based campaign promoting the launch of Nike Air VaporMax.

@sriracha.el #ad Shuffling my way around Edinburgh ✨@jdofficial #JDVaporMaxShuffle ♬ V Shuffle – Loud Parade ft. Morrisson and OXi

TikTokers can try their Nikes using augmented reality. They can also post their videos using the #JDVaporMaxShuffle branded hashtag, thus giving the campaign momentum with user-generated content. This #JDVaporMaxShuffle hashtag campaign got over 3.2 billion views on TikTok.

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3. Use a hook

Using a hook allows you to create relatable, shareable content that can go viral. To do this, leverage controversy, your audience’s values, and their interests.

You can also pack your message leveraging the current challenges and trends on TikTok.

Remember to:

  • Not be too salesy
  • Provide value
  • Include a clear CTA
  • Choose a good thumbnail to generate more clicks

Nike offers another good example with its “Ask Athletes” series. These TikToks:

  • Feature explicit thumbnails with the “Ask Athletes” banner; that’s what motivates people to click on them
  • Are catchy and fast-paced
  • Provide value because they’re motivational and inspiring
  • Do not have explicit written CTAs, but every athlete in these clips is wearing Nike clothing, thus offering an implicit CTA
@nike Reply to @jaden.the.runner You asked, here are the answers #askathletes ♬ Storytelling – Adriel

4. Use the right channels

Studies show that Gen Z uses these channels predominantly:

  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat

Why?

Video content is highly versatile. You can listen to it without pictures while going on with your daily life, or you can watch it with no sound while watching a B-rated Netflix movie with your friends.

Mogo.ca offers a good example in this department, with Carter Sullivan as their spokesperson. Carter discusses the mobile app’s advantages on YouTube, detailing how the app helped her manage her finances.

This authentic, detailed video aims to convince more people in her generation to try Mogo. The strategy works because Gen Z is very interested in their finances.

5. Incorporate UGC

The point of incorporating user-generated content in your strategy is to turn Gen Z fans into your own brand’s creators. You can encourage UGC by:

  • Working with influencers
  • Creating a specific campaign with a clear hashtag that helps you track the user-generated content created
  • Giving your followers clear guidelines regarding the content they have to create
  • Using incentives that can range from discounts to the chance of winning a prize or even recognition

Laura Mercier’s #readySETgo challenge is a good example because:

  • It gives TikTokers the chance to show their transformation using Laura Mercier products and creates more brand awareness.
  • The campaign brings people together as they celebrate specific values like inner beauty.
  • TikTokers get the chance to be creative and thus gain appreciation in their community.
  • The campaign is scalable; One influencer encouraged TikTok users to recreate the #readySETgo tutorial for a chance to win $1000 worth of Laura Mercier products.
@sofiawylie

Here’s a tutorial! ❤️ Recreate the #readySETgo challenge for a chance to win $1,000 of @lauramercier products! #lauramercierpartner #ad #readySETgo

♬ #readySETgo – LauraMercier

The campaign’s soundtrack went viral. In the example below, CharqueryGrills got over 15k likes using the #readySETgo audio as a basis for this recipe inspo:

6. Leverage influencer-created content

Influencer-created content is similar to UGC because the influencers:

  • Have creative freedom
  • Can give their honest opinion on your brand

The differences (read, advantages) are that:

  • You may have an agreement outlining the number of posts, the type of content they are allowed to publish, and the frequency.
  • Influencers know how to produce more professional-looking videos.
  • You have access to a larger audience who trusts that influencer.

In exchange, you can either offer the influencers a free product (product seeding), pay them per post, or on the number of sales their posts generate.

Pro tip: To avoid legal issues or being duped by fake influencers, partner with a TikTok influencer agency. The best agencies give you access to a database of trustworthy, professional influencers and can assist you with your TikTok strategy.

One good example is Dr Wallace Nozile, MD, showcasing the iWALKFree Hands-Free Crutches.

The video shows him testing these crutches in his home, and you can notice the absence of special effects. That, along with the personal disclosures on the right-side text, generates increased authenticity.

That authenticity:

  • Makes the video and product memorable.
  • Fosters trust in the iWalkFree crutches.

And those are essential ingredients to boost awareness and increase sales.

7. Leverage the power of video in marketing e-mails

Using video in your email newsletters has several advantages:

  • It can improve click-through rates by 65%.
  • 64% of shoppers are more likely to purchase your products.
  • The cost per lead drops by 19%.

One example is Spotify’s incorporating video in their marketing e-mail to explain how their Framer X works. This e-mail brings relevant help to Spotify users, responding to one of their poignant needs.

8. Tap into Gen Z FOMO with time-sensitive posts

You can use FOMO (fear of missing out) to your advantage by creating time-sensitive content.

This kind of content:

  • Builds a sense of urgency
  • Encourages social sharing
  • Creates a “ripple effect” that gets more people interested in your brand

Guess’s #InMyDenim challenge offers a good example because the campaign lasted only six days. Therefore, TikTokers had a limited interval to show their beautiful transformations using Guess jeans.

The results are astounding:

  • 5,500 UGC videos
  • 10.5 million views
  • 14.3% engagement rate
  • 12,000 new TikTok followers
@ourfire Don’t you wish getting ready was this easy? 😂❤️🔥 #inmydenim #sponsored @guess ♬ #inmydenim I’m a Mess – Bebe Rexha

9. Leverage #hashtags

Leveraging hashtags helps you track your brand mentions and expose your content to new audiences.

Pro tip: Use relevant and popular hashtags, as well as branded hashtags unique to your business. These hashtags have to be short, memorable, and relevant.

For example, Laura Mercier’s #ReadySetGo hashtag Implies that people can get ready with these products immediately, and suggests the fast-paced video format.

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10. Don’t be afraid to show off that sense of humour

Why is it important to use humour when marketing to Gen Z? It’s easy: funny videos are more likely to go viral.

But that’s not the only reason:

  • Humour can make your brand more relatable, which helps you connect with potential customers on a deeper level.
  • It can help you stand out from the competition.
  • People are more likely to remember your brand if you make them laugh.

Washington Post does a great job of using humour even if it’s a serious publication:

@washingtonpost In climate change news: this map shows where extreme heat records were broken across the United States during summer 2022. #climateanxiety #climatechange2022 #climatecrisis #newsreporterlady ♬ original sound – Mark Humphries

The TikTok video above tackles climate change, which is an essential issue for Gen Z. The humour stems from different aspects:

  • The inherent human instinct to eventually see the amusing side of the things we cannot control
  • The little dance associated with the presenter’s serious face
  • The voice-over

And you can think of even more reasons why this video is funny.

But the real question is, why present an important issue for Gen Z in an amusing way?

How does this convince them to purchase a Washington Post subscription?

The clip humanises the publication, which helps create a connection with potential readers. It also shows that The Washington Post is not afraid to have a little fun, even if it means breaking the mould of traditional news media.

And Gen Z is all about challenging patterns.

Here’s another great example of the Washington Post using humor in covering the Brazilian presidential elections:

@washingtonpost Lula won on pledges to defend democracy, save the Amazon rainforest and bring social justice to Latin America’s largest nation. #brazil #sweetvictory #spongebob ♬ original sound – FanDuel

11. Highlight your brand’s beliefs and values

This strategy works because:

  • It attracts like-minded people to your brand
  • It helps you build a strong community around your products or services
  • It sets you apart from the competition

A good example is WNRS (We’re Not Really Strangers), a card game that has been created to empower meaningful connections with others.

That’s what the brand sells: not a card game but the promise of finding that spark or connection with others.

Why does it work?

  • Gen Z believes that people are interconnected. The generation craves hyperconnectivity and, as such, sees it everywhere in the Universe.
  • The WNRS clips show universal truths that anyone can relate to.

As a result, people want to be part of this community that speaks the truths they feel.

Best Gen Z marketing campaigns

In addition to the examples above, let’s discuss five of the best Gen Z marketing campaigns:

1. #ChipotleLidFlip Challenge

The campaign went viral extremely fast because young people wanted to show off their skills. Gen Z-ers crave to be part of a community and appreciate laidback, fun challenges.

Pro tip: Notice the memorable branded hashtag which differentiates the campaign and offers clear instruction to the audience.

@daviddobrik #ChipotleLidFlip @chipotle #ad ♬ Flip – Future

2. Guess’s #InMyDenim

This campaign deserves a second mention because it was extremely well orchestrated. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have gotten so many views, new followers, and UGC posts in just six days.

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3. Netflix “Guess the Show” Series

The series encompasses all the features a campaign should have, especially one with a Gen Z audience that unfolds on TikTok.

Therefore, we’re looking at:

  • A challenge to guess popular shows that Gen Z-ers watch
  • The chance to connect with a community of fans
  • The fun of “getting it” and being right
  • A spot-on hashtag that catches people’s attention, telling them what they’re in for and what to do in just three simple words

Here’s an example promoting Netflix’s “Locke and Key” show:

@netflix no hints from me🤐🤐🤐 #guesstheshow #netflix ♬ original sound – Netflix

4. #ThousandDollarCrocs

This Crocs campaign offers another good example because:

  • It unleashes people’s creativity as they customise their $1,000 Crocs.
  • It connects with an intrinsic value: the need for authenticity. The campaign description specifically says it embodies the “Come As You Are mentality.”
  • People participating in this campaign aim to show the world “IM GONNA BE whatever I want,” as per the original description. As such, the campaign:
    • Creates a community of people who appreciate connection and diversity.
    • Specifically targets Gen Zers who have adopted these two guiding values.
@rayann_prophet Ready for Christmas🎄 @crocs #ThousandDollarCrocs #christmas #crocs #foryou #famous ♬ Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson

5. Instagram “We Make Today”

Instagram celebrates creativity, individuality, and self-expression; that’s this campaign’s message. The platform wants to let its users know they matter and are beautiful regardless of how they choose to present themselves to the world.

Leveraging significant values like community, inclusion, individuality, and self-expression is a powerful nudge to Gen Z because they share the same principles.

Through this campaign, Instagram aims to become:

  • Relatable
  • Authentic
  • Trustworthy

And considering Ogilvy orchestrated the whole thing, it’s no wonder it achieved its goals.

Are you marketing to Gen Z?

Video is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when it comes to marketing to Gen Z. It allows you to connect with them on a personal level, show them who you are as a brand, and create a community of raving fans.

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating video content that will turn Gen Z into your biggest fans today!

Use platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels to reach Gen Zers on their turf. And don’t forget to employ hashtags, challenges, and influencers to amplify your reach even further.

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FAQs

How do I market to Gen Z?

You can market to Gen Z by not trying to sell your products. This generation cares about authenticity, connection, and making a difference.

When does traditional marketing work for Gen Z?

Traditional marketing does not work on Gen Z. This generation is inundated with conventional marketing tactics and is extremely good at ignoring them. Instead, focus on creating content that adds value to their lives or makes them laugh.

What platforms should I use to reach Gen Z?

TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram are the best platforms to reach Gen Z. These are the platforms where they spend most of their time. You can also use CRM with marketing automation to send personalized emails in bulk with video content to increase the subscriber base.

What type of content does Gen Z want to see?

Gen Z wants to see authentic, funny, and relatable content. They also want to see content that celebrates individuality and self-expression.

What values resonate with Gen Z?

Some values that resonate with Gen Z are authenticity, connection, community, and self-expression. They also appreciate brands that are inclusive and celebrate diversity.

What type of influencers does Gen Z follow?

Gen Z tends to follow influencers they can relate to and add value to their lives.

What type of videos does Gen Z want to see?

Some types of videos that Gen Z wants to see are behind-the-scenes footage, unboxing videos, tutorials, and comedy sketches. They also like videos that can teach them something new or inspire them.

 Related content:

– The Best Time to Post on TikTok
– How to Link Instagram to TikTok
– How to Get More Views on TikTok
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<meta charset="utf-8">David Morneau
David Morneau

David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing SAAS/agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.

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