Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

People worldwide are caring for loved ones, experiencing financial distress and making sure their families are safe and provided for.  Corporations have transitioned their workforces to the homes and apartments of millions across the globe. At the same time, marketers are tasked with ensuring the future health of their business. When thinking about brand messaging, there’s a fine line between engaging consciously and pushing an agenda. The answer isn’t to ignore the problem, but work within this new world.  

The Realities of the Current Media Landscape:

Traditional advertising channels that brands normally use to engage simply won’t reap the same reach and results due to current events.  OOH is challenged with stay at home mandates and major live TV events are being cancelled globally. As millions are getting used to this new reality within their homes and apartments, digital and internet connected devices have become the farthest reaching and most consistent avenues for reach.

Looking at the digital advertising industry holistically, we see two key changes happening:

(1)  A surge in traffic due to increased internet usage, creating more overall digital ad supply.

(2)  A decrease in ad buying demand as travel, entertainment, sports, airline, hotels, hospitality, and tourism digital spending seemingly grinds to a halt.

Major Internet service providers like Verizon are reporting huge spikes in device and internet usage thanks to home office work and social isolation. Between the weeks of 3/12 to 3/19, Verizon saw web and internet traffic climb 20%, streaming services increase 12%, and online gaming skyrocket 75%, while social media usage didn’t change compared with the prior week. (CNET).

As more inventory becomes available and fewer brands are competing to drive prices up, this creates a unique price efficiency situation within digital and programmatic ad buying channels. Bidtellect ran an analysis of the publisher inventory accessed and bought across 30+ SSPs:

From February 2020 to March 2020 alone, we’ve seen a 9.59% decrease in average impression cost. When Comparing March figures to January, that decrease jumps further to 17.1%.

Looking back at 2019 was a different story, where we saw a 15.79% increase from February to March.

Comparing March 2019 to March 2020 we see a 10.6% decrease in impression costs.

Meanwhile, comparing February 2019 to February 2020 we saw a 40.35% increase in impression costs, which can be attributed to overall increases in demand for programmatic media and shifts from 2nd price to 1st price auctions.

This means: While seasonal and monthly trends usually play a role here, there is certainly an uncharacteristic drop in cost when looking at February to March MoM & YoY – most logically due to an influx of total impressions and decrease in total demand. While digital ad investments will certainly go further today, how do marketers go about messaging in an ethical, brand-safe, and impactful way?  

How Your Messaging Can Weather the Storm

How do marketers go about messaging in an ethical, brand-safe, and impactful way? There’s a fine line between engaging consciously and coming off as insensitive or product pushing.

(1) Think of Your Employees & Brand Advocates First 
Is your brand currently helping its employees through tough situations (Kohls), helping schools (Zoom) or citizens nation-wide (AT&T/Comcast)? People today view brands as living, breathing entities, so sharing earned or owned content that demonstrates how they’re doing their part to support, inspire & help can go a long way towards building brand equity.

(2) Create Valuable Content
The internet is oversaturated with COVID-19 messaging. People are actively looking for positive and helpful content to consume and share. Can your financial product save people money to support their families? Can your B2B solution provide efficiencies for companies that are hurting right now? Distribute effective and timely digital content across Native formats, while OLV and CTV are excellent avenues to drive engagement with helpful video content.

(3) Refresh Your Creative
Ensure the tone of creative messaging and imagery is one of empathy. Are you taking into account the thoughts and struggles of the everyday American? Can you succinctly communicate how you can help them or provide value during this uncertain time?

(4) Brand Safety
Ensure brand safe and contextually relevant publisher environments.  Companies like IAS/Admantx offer natural language processing technology that has the semantic intelligence at the page URL level to understand and block undesirable contextual environments. Remember not to go too far in blocking. Almost every news site is reporting on coronavirus right now.

(5) Plan for the Future and a World Beyond COVID-19
While the health and economic impacts on individuals in countries across the world cannot be downplayed, one thing is certain: this too shall pass. eMarketer is “cautiously optimistic” in their latest COVID-19 forecast that a potential global economic downturn could also be short-lived, mitigating negative impacts on the worldwide ad market on a full-year basis.

BOTTOM LINE: The brands that will make the greatest impact and weather the storm are those that can get positive, educational, and valuable content in front of people. Content that will educate them on how they can improve their current and foreseeable financial situation, provide stability for their families, improve their business- and professional lives, positively enhance their health and mental state, and empower them to excel in these uncertain times.  

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5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

The important trends of 2019 to prepare you for a successful 2020.

Bidtellect’s Native Report was created to provide advertisers with important insights and trends in the digital advertising industry – specifically, Native Advertising.

Check out our 5 Key Takeaways

To download the full report, click here

1. Dynamic Goal Setting Leads to Highest ROI

Dynamic, multiple goal setting for maximum optimization consistently led to highest ROI.

Multiple Goal Types (measured as a goal type itself) Outperformed CTR by 32% in 2019

Multiple Goal Types’  average revenue increased 38% from 2018 to 2019 and increased 40% from Q1 to Q4

2. Contextual Targeting is More Than an Answer to Privacy: It’s a Performance Tool

Contextual targeting – long part of Bidtellect’s capability wheelhouse – is gaining value for more than a privacy solution, but a tool to close the engagement gap.

One client saw 88.3% VCR using contextual targeting.

Bidtellect announced a deepened partnership with Just Media, emphasizing the use of contextual-driven decisioning to reach decision-makers. 

3. Video Ad Revenue is Growing Steadily

 

Use of video – and its revenue – is steadily growing.

Completion Rate (Video) as a Goal Type increased in revenue by 19% from 2018 to 2019.

Video held a top revenue spot across all four quarters in 2019.

4. Creative Assets Are KEY According to Whopping Request Growth

 

Greater value is being placed on creative assets that factor in art + data to increase performance.

From 2018 to 2019 creative requests to Bidtellect’s in-house creative team, [b]+studio, increased by 134% in 2019 

Education – the vertical with the highest growth – increased by a whopping 446%.

Best practice tip: Always Bring Value. Make sure a “call to action” is in your copy description.

5. Don’t Forget About Handheld Devices

 

Meaningful, prolonged engagement across devices stayed consistent and comparable over 2019, proving the equal importance of content consumption across devices.

Average CTR for Tablet jumped to an average of 0.35% in 2019 – up from 0.28% in 2018.

Mobile’s average CTR from 2018 to 2019 didn’t change: it stayed the highest of any device at 0.35%.

Download the Full Report here.

About the Report:

Bidtellect’s platform processes over 55 billion Native auctions daily across 58 million distinctly targetable placements, and this number continues to grow quarter over quarter. We analyze data from the start of an auction through post-click consumer activity including but not limited to the metrics captured in this report.

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Tips to Work from Home Effectively

Tips to Work from Home Effectively

As the world settles into a new uncertain existence, many are now working from home (or working from “quarantine”). A new normal, yes, but infinitely luckier than the thousands who face unemployment due to business closures. This piece is for those lucky enough to still work even from home, eager to maintain productivity, meet their professional goals, and maintain a semblance of normalcy. Thanks to fellow Bidtellectuals, below are tips to “work from home” effectively from wherever your new isolated office space is. 

1. Keep a Regular Schedule 

While it’s easy to wake up when you want, saunter over to your laptop, start work in your pajamas and never take them off – it could also mean you never really “turn off” your day if you never actually signal its beginning. Work to wake up at the same time every day, change into work clothes (there are some different opinions on this, but most agree that changing clothes signals “work time” and helps motivation, not to mention video conference meetings), and maintain your regular work schedule including meetings, check-ins, even lunch times. Schedule in time for a walk or break if you are able to get outside for some fresh air, or a home workout video to get your body moving. At the end of the day, close all screens and perhaps light a candle or put on some music to signal the end of your day. Many in quarantine in China mentioned the difficulty of never “turning off” since you can technically continue working if everything is there, but your brain needs a reset to maintain productivity in the long run.

2. The Car is a Great Place to Make Call

 

Live with a partner? Roommates? Young children? Bidtellectuals recommend finding a quiet space right in your driveway – your car. A new space could refresh the mind, provide some new views of the outdoors, and it also encourages focus during conversations free from interruptions or distractions. Other recommendations included a tree house (really!) or if you’re in a city apartment, try your bathroom or bedroom. Why not! Take a fresh and open approach to meeting and working in general – it will make it a lot easier than beating yourself up or making it all a drag. 

And while we’re at it about being positive about working from home, be positive in all communication in general. As CTO Mike Conway says: “I like succinct and clear messages, but I know that the less face time I have with people, the less they know how to interpret my tone in writing. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D.”

3. Set Space Boundaries

 

This was a great tip from the New York Times. Make sure you create a designated office “space” in your home or apartment. If you have a home office, spruce it up (even if it’s just a quick clean) and ensure your WiFI is up-to-speed and all video conferencing capabilities are ready. If you and your partner share a home office, determine if you’ll be sharing it at all hours, what to do if the other has a call, or if you want to create a separate space for each of you. If you don’t have an office, it’s especially important to designate a desk or workspace in your home. Keep your laptop there, make sure it’s clean, and it will signal “work” time for your brain. Similarly, when you take a break, try to find a new space in your home. Consistency is key.

4. Plan Breaks and Virtual “Happy Hours”

Virtual one-on-one lunch? Virtual group happy hour? These are the new normal and YES you should schedule them! Social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak (and working from home in general) can cause a dip in mood if you don’t combat it. Actively schedule breaks or social time like you would a work commitment. Use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime (or Skype or any other free video conferencing tool) to catch up. Maybe dress up a little or put on some music to make it fun. Who says pouring a happy hour cocktail (or mocktail!) at home has to be boring? Check out this piece in the New York Times on how to throw a successful virtual happy hour. One key takeaway: too many people makes it tough to hear – now is the time for fun intimate catch ups!

5. Plan Cultural “Outings” Once a Week to the MET or Buckingham Palace

Craving some time outside? Or a taste of life before quarantine? Theaters, operas, and museums may be closed, but many are offering virtual tours or streaming. Tour Buckingham Palace in London, the Frick Museum in New York City, or the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. This piece in House Beautiful offers a list of wonderful homes and museums to virtually tour. The Metropolitan Opera will begin streaming encore presentations from their award-winning Live in HD series on the company website for the duration of their closure. All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will remain available via the homepage for 20 hours. Read more here on Gothamist.

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

Bidtellectuals Share 10 Recipes to Brighten Your Day

In this uncertain time with many now working from home, Bidtellectuals share recipes to brighten your day and make it a little easier.

Shifting With the Times and How Brands Can Help

How to adjust your digital advertising strategy to COVID-19 and the new “buyer’s market.” Education and valuable content will ultimately help brands succeed.

5 Key Takeaways from Bidtellect’s 2019 Report

Bidtellect’s Native Report provides advertisers with important insights and trends in the digital advertising industry. These are the Top 5 Takeaways.

How Contextual Targeting Puts Privacy First While Closing the Engagement Gap

How Contextual Targeting Puts Privacy First While Closing the Engagement Gap

Too good to be true? It’s not. Here’s why you need a platform that incorporates contextual targeting into your digital advertising strategy.

We’re Living in a Privacy First World

It started with GDPR. CCPA soon followed. Then Apple released its new Intelligent Tracking Prevention (IPT) in Safari placing restrictions on cookies. And most recently, Google made headlines when it announced it was doing away with third-party cookies altogether. 

Consumers are getting greater control and transparency into how their data is used. And not just once a year on Data Privacy Day – the trend of personal data empowerment is here to stay. 

Since GDPR became enforceable, the number of third-party cookies used per webpage declined from about 80 in April to about 60 in July, and the number of third-party cookies found on news websites (major advertising publishers) in Europe declined by 22%. According to a recent report by eMarketer, 30% of US companies currently comply with CCPA and 27% will be compliant sometime in 2020 (eMarketer, 2020)

But this doesn’t mean the end is in sight for real-time bidding (RTB) and all of programmatic. 

It does mean this is the beginning of a new era in digital advertising.

Contextual Targeting: More Than A Privacy Solution – A Strategy

If you’re not using a platform with contextual targeting capabilities, you’re behind. Bidding platforms can use contextual targeting to determine the value of the user and placement in the bidding process based on the information on the page, rather than the user. Understanding that we have enough information about ad space without user information means the industry can face the future of the industry with consumers’ privacy at the center of advertising strategy.

Not only are data protection standards changing, so are brands’ and clients’ unique goals. Contextual targeting – that is, targeting based on the information available of the site of the ad space, rather than user data – covers both. It’s possible to determine a unique ad space’s location, the time of day, day of the week, the size and location of the ad on the page, the site it’s on, the page of the site it’s on, and even specifics about what content is on that page. The look and feel of every single ad placement is unique, and can be correlated even more closely with user behavior.

Consider the recent announcement of the deepened partnership between Just Media and Bidtellect. Just Media initially noticed gaps in the B2B market, with DSPs often unable to penetrate the Native Advertising space and offer tangible analytics on engagements and conversions. With Adblocking and “banner blindness” becoming increasingly prevalent, content advertising with strong contextual-driven decisioning offers an alternative to close the engagement gap. 

“Intent has become an important part of our B2B campaigns across clients,” said Kathryn Nassar, Media Account Manager at Just Media. “Most of the data segments that judge intent do so by monitoring content registration, downloads, views and general consumption against certain topics. With Bidtellect’s contextual targeting we can strategically deliver ads next to the content helping to power that data, complementing our other intent strategies and delivering deep engagement with our content.”

Bidtellect’s contextual optimization capabilities enabled content to go beyond where standard banner and display ads can reach: in front of the eyes of decision-makers like CTOs and CIOs for meaningful engagement.

Consider this case study: a major university used contextual targeting to reach students, ultimately landing 88.3% VCR for the month. Contextual targeting allowed them to target based on location and categories like news and business, and science was ultimately the best-performing contextual category.

The value of contextual targeting cannot be understated. Context-driven optimization capabilities combined with post-click engagement measurement, creative services, unapparelled scale in consumer-friendly ad environments were all developed to drive performance for advertisers – without the reliance of traditional cookie-based advertising approaches. 

The result? Advertising intended to provide value to the end consumer. Not annoy them. 

It’s Data Privacy Day: So What?

It’s Data Privacy Day: So What?

Happy Data Privacy Day! This is a very real day with a very real purpose: to shed light on data protection and privacy. Today the industry unites to empower users and businesses to implement better standards for data usage and processing. Here’s what it means.

What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day began as Data Protection Day. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe officially signed it into existence in April of 2006 to be celebrated each year on January 28th. 

Why the January 28th? It commemorates the January 28th, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

According to The Council of Europe’s official website,

This date corresponds to the anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe’s Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data which has been for over 30 years a cornerstone of data protection, in Europe and beyond.

Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called the “Privacy Day” outside Europe.”

While data privacy may be in the news constantly today, at the holiday’s first inception the everyday person still didn’t fully grasp how their data was being used and to what extent.

The aim of the Data Protection/Privacy Day is to bring awareness to consumers about this process: how their personal data is collected and processed and what their rights are with respect to this processing. Not to mention risks from unfair usage to completely illegal processing and selling.

Now, it’s an international effort to empower individuals and business to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.

How Is the Industry Measuring Up?

Today, data protection and privacy is at the forefront of all digital conversations. Here’s how recent enforcement like CCPA and GDPR have encouraged change:

A November 2019 Egress survey found that 93% of US IT decision-makers said they had at least taken some steps to comply with privacy regulation such as CCPA or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (eMarketer, 2020)

At least half of respondents said they had taken steps like improving their use of existing security technologies, investing in new technologies and improving their data handling practices (Egress via eMarketer, 2020)

30% of US companies currently comply with CCPA and 27% will be compliant sometime in 2020 (eMarketer, 2020)

59% of US IT Security decision-makers improved teh use of existing security technologies in and 56% improved data handling practices in 2019.

Since GDPR became enforceable, the number of third-party cookies used per webpage declined from about 80 in April to about 60 in July, and the number of third-party cookies found on news websites (major advertising publishers) in Europe declined by 22%. (eMarketer, 2018)

What Can You Do?

For digital advertisers, it’s impossible to ignore the effects of greater privacy measures. It has and will continue to affect the digital advertising industry and encourage new strategies to take hold.

According to Forbes’s 2020 predictions for Content Marketing: “Privacy and limiting personal consumer information will play an even greater role in 2020. Delivering relevant, high-value content can no longer be reliant on personal data and cookies alone; sophisticated tools like contextual targeting will become invaluable. Understanding that we have enough information without user information means we can face the future of the industry with far less fear. – Lon Otremba, Bidtellect CEO.” (Forbes, 2020)

A side note on Contextual Targeting and Digital Advertising

Bidding platforms can use contextual targeting to determine the value of the user and placement in the bidding process based on the information on the page, rather than the user.

Understanding that we have enough information about ad space without user information means we can face the future of the industry with consumers’ privacy in mind.

The digital future is privacy-minded. Today we celebrate users taking back their data. 

 

Read more:

What You Need to Know About CCPA

Bidtellect’s Brand Safety and Fraud Protection

Gen Z in 2020: How to Advertise to the New Digital Natives

Gen Z in 2020: How to Advertise to the New Digital Natives

Advertisers: read on for the Gen Z digital trends of 2020. From video to gaming to smartphone use to their parents, here’s everything you need to know about advertising to the “digital native” generation.

Kids these days. They can swipe, click, snap, ‘gram, TikTok…verbs that weren’t even words just fifteen years ago. 

Gen Zers (born between 1995 and 2010) make up a vast proportion of the new “digital natives” advertisers need to be aware of.  Nearly all US teens are internet users. eMarketer estimates that 97.4% of 12- to 17-year-olds will use the internet at least once a month in 2020. And by age 13, 73% of kids will have a smartphone.

Having grown up as “digital natives”, this new generation of self-learners is also more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than in traditional institutions of learning (McKinsey & Company, 2019) This means they are pragmatic and analytical about their decisions, which includes what they buy and how they buy it. Beyond consumption itself, they are re-defining the term altogether: access is becoming the new form of consumption, rather than possession.  Gen Zers are also passionate about causes that matter to them and they want brands to be, too. 

Meanwhile, their little siblings (born after 2010) are gaining digital time of their own, supervised by their parents. Before kids aged thirteen and under start getting smartphones, they use tablets shared by the family for gaming and digital use. They’re not the only ones growing up fast. Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) are growing into quite the tech-savvy parents, keenly aware of the perils of the vast internet and digital landscape. They’re spending money and implementing digital rules for their kids in a different way than generations before them, having experienced, well, a little of both. It’s important for advertisers to appeal to savvy parents of the younger generation.

So what does it all mean for digital advertising in 2020? In order to engage with the kids and teens you’re targeting, it’s never been more important to put quality, safety, and value at the forefront of advertising. Further, video is the primary method of engagement across devices. 

In case you’re confused about who’s what age, McKinsey & Company made a great table here.

Kids vs. Gen Z: Videos, Gaming, and the Social Media “Recession”

Parents are spending record numbers on video and digital gaming for their children. Until age 13 or so, kids are substantially more interested in videos and gaming than social media. If they do have a phone, it’s used for games. 28% of children’s online videos “were related to toys or games.” (Pew Research Center via eMarketer, 2020)

46.6% of kids 11 and younger will be tablet users this year. The tablet is usually shared by the family. (eMarketer, 2020)

By Age 13, 73% of kids will have a smartphone (eMarketer, 2020) and 57% of 4-to-14 year-olds “mainly use their phone for gaming” (SellCell via eMarketer, 2020). 

58% of parents of 5-to-7 year-olds who played video games said they expected to spend more on such goods in 2019’s holiday shopping season than they had the previous year. So did substantial numbers of parents with gamers ages 8 to 10 (49%) and 11 to 12 (40%). (YouGov via eMarketer, 2020). 

Outlays from spending on digital games for kids ages 7 to 12 is projected to rise from $1.03 billion in 2015 to $2.26 billion in 2021. (Nielson via eMarketer, 2020).

As they grow into teens, video prevails:

On whatever device they’re using, teens will often be watching video. eMarketer estimates that 93.7% of 12-to-17s will be digital video viewers in 2020 (eMarketer, 2019).

For Gen Z, social media is of significant interest and time, but not necessarily in a positive way. Social media usage – especially Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat – is high, but so is anxiety and depression, cyberbullying, and self-reported phone addiction. Those surveyed pointed to social media as the primary cause of “fomo.” eMarketer goes more in-depth in their study on Gen Z here: At the Core of Gen Z.

Others claim we’re in a “Social Recession.” Instagram’s user growth is expected to drop to single digits for the first time in 2020, to 6.7% from 10.1%, and its owner Facebook’s growth is essentially flat. (eMarketer via WWD, 2020)

Bottom line: Video and digital games will be the primary methods of content consumption for Gen Z. If younger than 18, target parents’ who will spend big on their kids’ gaming interests. Think beyond desktop – tablet and smartphones are preferred – as well as outside the Walled Gardens as social growth slows.

Side Note: Do Gender Differences Matter in Kids’ Toys?

Much to the chagrin of newer generations, the jury is still out when it comes to gender-neutral versus traditional gender roles in toy marketing.  According to eMarketer, in an essay posted to kidscreen.com in July 2019, Sarah Chumsky, vice president for Insight Kids at the Insight Strategy Group, analyzed findings of a study by her company among kids and teens ages 5 to 16. “Girls tend to gravitate toward more female-centric topics (such as cooking, theater and dance, fashion and makeup), while boys still over index in the video games and superheroes categories.” But, importantly, “for every gender-polarizing category, there is a sizable minority of the opposite gender that engages with it [emphasis added].” A more gender-neutral approach to play clearly has a constituency among millennial parents. What remains to be seen is the degree to which kids themselves will get on board with this. (eMarketer, 2020)

 

Bottom line: Gender-neutral toy advertising may appeal to millennial parents, but kids still tend gravitate to traditional masculine/feminine interests when it comes to toys. Just let the kid choose which one.

Time Folding: A Real Thing to Describe How Much Content Gen Z Is Consuming

Do we really need a new term for what is essentially digital multi-tasking? Apparently. According to WWD and Nudge, “Time folding” is a new term to explain how Gen Z (and everyone) is consuming so much content. 

Engagement with content increased 20% last year, and the number of pieces of content produced is up 10%  (WWD, 2020).

Also consider that 97.4% of 12- to 17-year-olds will use the internet at least once a month in 2020 (eMarketer, 2019).

WWD writes: “Younger generations are doing more than one thing at a time, they’re folding time and they’re able to condense,” said Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s global president and chief content officer. “Yes, they’re binging, but they’re skipping every 10 seconds. We’ve seen it, the younger generation is truly built to fold time.”

Haik of Vice Media, Refinery’s new parent company, offered that younger consumers are actually doing “three or four things at once” in terms of content consumption.

Bottom line: Create content often, but create content that sticks. It will take a lot to hold this generation’s interest.

Gen Z Isn’t as Worried About “Custom” Content Being Creepy…They Prefer It, As Long is It Provides Value

88% of Gen Zers indicated that custom content feels like a good way for new brands they haven’t heard of to reach them (Time Inc. Study via MediaPost, 2017).

⅔ of Generation X and Z consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising. (Time Inc. study, 2017).

Gen Z are most likely of all consumers to use “buy” buttons (56%) and shoppable photos (34%) (IAB via AdAge, 2018).

36% of Gen Zers have a positive reaction to Native Ads (Millward Brown, 2018)

“I feel like the native ads are more engaging. They have more entertainment value, are thought-provoking, and I perceive a more memorable and lasting connection than with traditional click ads.”  –Nicholas, 33, Finance Guru, a respondent in a Time Inc. Study (MediaPost, 2017)

Gen Z are dramatically more passionate about music and movies. Ads placed in these contexts are far more powerful with this group, with 39% of Gen Z saying music makes them more positive to advertising and 38% reporting that movies have the same effect (Millward Brown, 2017).

93% of Gen Zers say they want to see brands do something new, unique, or creative to get their attention (Time Inc. Study via MediaPost, 2017).

Bottom line: Advertisers should create ads that don’t feel like ads, but instead match the environment they’re in – in form and context – that lead to valuable content.

To Appeal to Gen Z, Be an Expert or Stick Up For a Cause

In polling for a 2019 report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 68% of girls and 59% of boys ages 11 to 17 endorsed the statement, “I have discovered a new talent or interest [by exploring online].” And 60% of girls and 51% of boys agreed that they are “more connected to social issues and causes [because of the internet]” (eMarketer, 2019).

92% of Gen Zers believe brands have expertise on topics and add value to content (Time Inc. Study via MediaPost, 2017).

77% of Gen Zers say they feel more positively towards a brand when it promotes equality on social media. 71% said they’d like to see more diversity in advertising (Patagonia via Hootsuite, 2019).

7 out of 10 Gen Zers say it is important to defend causes related to identity, so they are more interested than previous generations have been in human rights; in matters related to race and ethnicity; in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; and in feminism (McKinsey & Company, 2019).

60% of teens support brands that take a stand on issues they believe in regarding human rights, race, and sexual orientation, according to the study (AdWeek, 2017).

Gen Zers value online communities because they allow people of different economic circumstances to connect and mobilize around causes and interests. 66% of Gen Zers surveyed believe that communities are created by causes and interests, not by economic backgrounds or educational levels (McKinsey & Company, 2019). 

61% of Gen Z also says they’d pay more for products or services that are produced in an ethical and sustainable way (Facebook Insights, 2019).

Bottom line: Lead with your values, connect through communities, and offer your expertise.

How Much Are Gen Zers Really Buying?

61.8% of 14-to-17s will be digital buyers in 2020. Though substantial, that’s lower than penetration for all age groups younger than 65 (eMarketer, 2019).

McKinsey found that 42% of Gen Zers from 17 to 23 years old are already gainfully employed in either full- or part-time jobs or as freelance workers—a high percentage for people so young. (McKinsey & Company, 2019)

While eMarketer stressed that parents are still ultimately making big buying decisions for Gen Zers, as most are still teens. “Marketers shouldn’t assume teens have gone wholly digital in their shopping. Physical stores still matter, in part as venues for in-person interaction with their peers. And teens are not too cool to use cash.”

Bottom line: While they may not be big online spenders now, Gen Z is on their way. In the meantime, create experiences for physical purchases and appeal to parents.

Gen Z is Leading the Way to Re-Defining Consumption

In their report, McKinsey & Co. touched on a significant shift in the younger generation: re-defining consumption. That is, “owning” something is no longer the sole signifier of success nor is physical possession. For Gen Z—and increasingly for older generations as wellconsumption means having access to products or services, not necessarily owning them. As access becomes the new form of consumption, unlimited access to goods and services (such as car-riding services, video streaming, and subscriptions) creates value. Products become services, and services connect consumers. This is because Gen Zers have access to more information than ever before, and are accustomed to evaluating a broad range of information before purchases. Gen Zers analyze not only what they buy but also the very act of consuming.  

Bottom line: Advertisers should keep this in mind when appealing to Gen Z. Remember experiences, travel, and memberships/subscriptions will be more appealing than “stuff.”