What Appeals to the Digital Natives? A Guide to Advertising to Teenagers

January 10, 2020

By Sophia Moore

Generation Z is notorious for its ability to navigate the new wave of technology, from smartphones to digitized kitchen appliances. The ease at which teens surf the web and pioneer new social media platforms raises questions about how to best advertise and market to the generation that’s seemingly removed from traditional methods of marketing. However, advertising to teenagers doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing, with social media proving to be an asset for reaching teens. Adolescent Content generation Z advertising agency in Los Angeles are experts in speaking to the youth, marketing to college students and generation z audience.

As a teenager and Gen Zer myself, I know that social media has influenced the way I perceive product marketing. If I see a product advertised on Instagram or Twitter, I’m more likely to remember it the next time I’m in the market for a product of its kind. Ever since personalized, targeted ads became a prominent marketing tool in the advertising sphere of the Internet, I find myself to be much more compelled, albeit, a little creeped out, to buy a product because of seeing it online, meaning that the advertising tactic that best appeals to me is seeing products online. I watch most of my TV online as well, and sites such as Hulu and YouTube employ ads at the beginning of and throughout their videos, which are also advertising methods that catch my eye. I think I’m personally more likely to pay attention to an ad when I’m online because they’re designed to attract the attention of viewers through their vivacity; as someone who often lazily browses the Internet, the vibrancy of ads is all I need to have my interest piqued in the product being showcased.

However, I’m just one teenager. In the interest of truly understanding how to effectively advertise to teenagers, I took to my own social media account, in typical Gen-Z fashion, to poll my friends and peers about the idea on Instagram. For context, I used a variety of polls and open-ended questions to get a feel for what types of marketing techniques appealed to my followers in their personal lives, and at face value, 73% of those polled agreed that yes, social media has convinced them to purchase products. Additionally, 72% of those polled felt that they’re more likely to purchase a product after seeing it advertised on social media.

From there, however, opinions began to differ. While the consensus was that social media marketing is an effective advertising tool for generation z and college students, it wasn’t agreed on as the most effective marketing tool. Some of the most common responses to what advertising technique is the most effective included: in-store promotions and sales, sponsorships and endorsements by celebrities, buzz marketing by influencers, and constant, repetitive marketing, as well as social media and Internet ads.

Common advertising tactics that would guarantee a purchase from those polled included seeing before-and-after pictures or the real-life impact of the product, as well as seeing real people using the items advertised, an abundance of positive reviews, proving it’s the best product by ranking it against its competitors, and inevitably, the cost of the product. Gen Z, it seems, is very cost-conscious when it comes to buying items advertised. For this reason, sales, coupons, and deals were listed as some of the highly effective tactics for advertising to the group.

Additionally, one of the most controversial advertising techniques was the idea of celebrity sponsorships and endorsements. The consensus was that yes, sponsorships and endorsements are important and effective strategies for securing the generation’s interest in a product, but only when it’s a genuine endorsement. Many of the individuals polled cited paid endorsements as a turnoff to a product. I know that personally, seeing an endorsement isn’t going to swing my mind one way or the other when it comes to purchasing something, but only because I’m skeptical about an influencer’s intentions in advertising a product—and it seems that many of my peers agree.

With all that in mind, advertising to teenagers isn’t meant to be an unconquerable challenge—much of Gen Z responds as well to classic styles of advertising as they do to the Internet and social media. To Adolescent the generation z influencer agency it’s most important thing to consider is the variety in curating advertisements for us, as much of the age bracket appreciates a mix of cost-reduction ads, genuine reviews, and sponsorships by influencers they look up to. Ultimately, there’s no be-all and end-all for advertising to teenagers, but with social media in mind, any brand can employ successful tactics to encourage their teen following.

Is your business looking to advertise to a Gen Z audience? Contact our Generation Z advertising agency in Los Angeles today so our team can help!

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