Gen Z are called digital natives for a reason; 98% of them own a smartphone and during the third quarter of 2020, they spent an average of four hours a day on apps. The most popular app among this group is Snapchat, with a recent UK eMarketer report finding almost 90% of 18-24 year olds use the social platform compared to just 55% of 25-34 year olds.

However, it’s not just social media occupying young people’s mobile time. 86% of Gen Z play mobile games, while 68% of 18 to 24 year olds shop on smartphones up to four times a week. With an estimated spending power of $360 billion, this mobile-first generation is a valuable audience. So how can marketers effectively reach them on this channel?

Follow the users

Given an overwhelming majority of Gen Z consumers use Snapchat, and over half of them are now on TikTok, it’s imperative that marketers incorporate these platforms into their mobile campaigns. Instagram is also a valuable Gen Z hotspot, with over 33 million monthly users.

Gen Z’s fondness for TikTok highlights the benefits of leveraging video in mobile campaigns, as the platform’s strength lies in its three-minute video format and potential for compelling, viral content. Marketers should therefore make ad creatives snappier for the generation that is accustomed to this brief, succinct format.

However, it’s not enough to just place ads in these favoured apps; marketers must ensure their messaging aligns with the ideals and expectations of this cohort. Gen Z consumers care about a brand’s authenticity and honesty; for example, 82% of them trust a brand more if they use real consumers in advertising. Moreover, 44% of Gen Z consumers expect ads to be relevant, so marketers should ensure they have sufficient data insights for accurate targeting.

Drive conversions with social commerce

Gen Z doesn’t just use social apps to connect with others. Social commerce is now hugely popular among this demographic, with 97% of Gen Z using social media for shopping inspiration. Establishing a shopping function within social apps is a great way for marketers to connect with younger demographics and drive conversions. Incorporating user-generated content into campaigns is also highly important for engaging this cohort, as 91% of Gen Z consumers seek product photos and reviews from other customers before committing to buy.

Moreover, partnering with influencers can help brands boost their reliability ratings in the eyes of Gen Z, as 52% of them trust influencers’ product recommendations. Content creators can also help boost conversions as they have a good understanding of their followers so can effectively tailor content to them.

Level up younger audiences through gaming

A huge proportion of Gen Z consumers play mobile games and 66% of them downloaded gaming apps during the pandemic. Puzzle and role-playing games are particularly popular among this generation, as are big names such as Fortnite and Minecraft.

Tapjoy’s New Modern Mobile Gamer report found that younger consumers prefer rewarded mobile game ads over social media and search advertising. As a result, non-intrusive ad formats such as in-game audio could be used to engage this cohort, as well as playable ads that offer game-specific rewards.

There are many ways for marketers to engage younger demographics on mobile. After all, these digital natives are so prevalent on smartphones that brands have many channels to choose from. From popular social platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat, to social commerce and gaming, finding the right medium and establishing authenticity is crucial for connecting with this demographic and satisfying their expectations.


Ozgur Taskaya
CMO @ BcnMonetize

April 01, 2022