5 key stats marketers should know about targeting ads to Gen Z

Gen Z’s media consumption, digital behavior, and attitude toward ads is a reflection of their upbringing in the app age. That’s why advertising to Gen Zers requires a unique approach—one that prioritizes privacy, encompasses multiple channels and screens, and leverages new formats. Here are five key stats advertisers should know about targeting Gen Z.

1. They care about how brands manage their privacy

Key stat: 82.7% of US Gen Z adults aged 18 to 24 say they are concerned about data privacy when interacting with brands online, according to a December 2023 survey by Attest. In addition, 7 out of 10 Gen Z consumers cite data privacy policies as either important or critically important to maintaining brand loyalty, per a July 2023 report by Campaign Monitor.

What it means: AI’s explosive adoption and innovation has increased scrutiny on privacy regulation in the US. With 19 states enacting consumer data protection laws as of June 2024, brands are encouraged to be proactive about compliance, implementing transparent privacy policies that build trust and loyalty and delivering ads that don’t feel invasive.

2. Convenience and relevancy gives social search an edge over traditional search

Key stat: In 2023, more than half (51.0%) of Gen Zers worldwide used social media as their primary platform to search more information about brands, products, and services, compared with only 45% who used search engines, per GWI.

What it means: Gen Zers are favoring more image- and video-based search platforms—behavior that brands can capitalize on by advertising on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Brands should keep track of new ad placements and formats, such as TikTok’s recently launched image search feature.

3. Video and creator content fuels product discovery on social media

Key stat: 68.0% of Gen Zers aged 15 to 26 discover brands and products on social media by watching videos, per our September 2023 “US Consumer Path to Purchase” survey. Another 47.8% discover brands and products through creator content.

What it means: With 82.7% of marketers leveraging influencers, according to our March 2024 forecast, it’s clear that the strategy remains lucrative and effective. However, the nature of these deals is shifting toward more long-term, omnichannel campaigns, which is why brands should consider partnerships that go beyond one-off sponsored posts and into experiential, cross-platform content.

4. Smartphones are a constant companion, making screen hopping a norm

Key stat: 89.6% of US Gen Zers look at a second screen while watching any form of TV, per our February 2024 forecast. That’s more than any other generation.

What it means: Gen Zers have the time and know-how to be more digitally active than older generations, relying on smartphones as a prominent source of communication and connectivity to online trends. Brands should keep this in mind when building out ad campaigns across multiple devices, producing eye-catching creative knowing that their attention is likely to be divided.

5. Personalized offers can be delivered through many channels

Key stat: Gen Zers and millennials are more receptive than other generations to receiving loyalty offers through text messages, mobile app notifications, social media ads, and website pop-ups, per October 2023 data by PYMNTS Intelligence and Amazon Web Services.

What it means: Although, across generations, email is the preferred method to receive personalized offers, diversifying channels is a great way to ensure deals and promotions are received. These offers don’t need to eat into margins either—consumers ages 18 to 26 are more interested in nondiscount loyalty benefits such as exclusive access to products and tailored product recommendations, the same PYMNTS Intelligence report found.

This was originally featured in the EMARKETER Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.