Don't try to fake your way into the minds and hearts of Generation Z. The way in is with authenticity and a clear perspective, along with a purpose-led brand. Those are some of the key findings within research conducted by Audacy, a multi-platform audio content and entertainment company that reaches a multitude of Gen Z listeners every single day.
Audacy's CMO Paul Suchman described Gen Z as "the new target. Gen Z is the first generation of true digital natives, and their influence is real. They are teens and young adults that are shaping social interactions, media habits [and] the way brands are positioning themselves."
Suchman spoke during a webinar series that Audacy holds monthly. The latest event included several highlights from Audacy's State of Audio report, which shows that 96% of the Gen Z population segment listens to audio daily, and 83% say their favorite podcasters feel like friends.
What Matters to Gen Z
Gen Z is the first generation that has grown up with an unlimited amount of information that is readily available. That deeply impacts the way marketers can appeal to them. Members of Gen Z care about championing inclusivity and sustainability. They value experience over things, standing out and bonds to their communities. Above all they are heavily influenced by social media.
Gen Z Media Consumption
From the media perspective, "they are the most media literate generation of all time," said Kevan Kenney, an Audacy on-air personality. He noted that they expect full transparency and don't want big bells and whistles. "They want to be a part of the show; they want to be a part of the media that they consume," he said.
"They are deeply inclusive and empathetic; they are a very 'do you' culture," added Perry Howell, the North America Media Lead at Tinder. They seek authenticity with a larger goal of self-discovery, she noted.
Brand Strategies for Engaging Gen Z
All those insights impact how advertisers can best reach Gen Z members. Jennifer Tobar, Director of Sales at Audacy, noted: "When you are talking to them in a commercial unit, they want to be able to walk away with something they've learned from that piece of copy." They are incredibly curious and are constantly searching for ways to better themselves, she added.
"These guys are born creators, and they really do want to take any opportunity to start a trend [that they can promote]," said Clare Woodard, Audacy's Customer Success Director, Relative Insight. Once they find a medium they enjoy, "they are going to stick with it, they are going to enjoy it, they're going to promote it and they are going to stay with it until the very end," she said.
What matters most to Gen Z is content that is purposeful. And they value connections, specifically ones that are local. What stands out to them within their preferred content consumption is shorter, digestible content, especially when it's unscripted and conversational. When it comes to podcasts, female hosts are highly valued. Ultimately, they care more about the content than the channel.
Gen Z expects there to be a focus on inclusivity and for the brands they support to help them change the world. "They are seeking a voice that knows them and listens to them and hears them," said Howell.
Ultimately, Audacy describes Gen Z as the "generation that will define the future of advertising."
Readers can learn more about Gen Z and their audio habits in the State of Audio report.
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