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UK Insights

Challenges of engaging young people in an on-demand world of infinite choice

Duncan Southgate

Global brand director, Digital

Brands 12.01.2017 / 10:45

Girls using smartphones outside a shop

Research into Gen Z’s attitudes towards advertising

Gen Z, post-millennials, centennials, whatever you call them, the first cohort – now aged 16-19 years old – are starting to pose some challenges for marketers. Compared to previous generations, Kantar Millward Brown research has found Gen Z are more difficult to engage, are extremely design conscious, and have high expectations of advertising, especially digital.

It's all too easy to see the problem as binary: “A new mobile-first generation is changing the world” versus “You can’t define people just on their age”. While there is truth to both sides, the overall picture is more complex. In order to get a better understanding of Gen Z and to compare them with Gens Y and X, Kantar Millward Brown surveyed more than 23,000 16-49 year old consumers across 39 countries.

AdReaction: Engaging Gen X, Y and Z highlights that Gen Z have grown up in an on-demand world of infinite choice, and this flavours their expectations of advertising. They are more difficult to engage; among people who skip ads, they skip three seconds faster per ad on average than Gen X. All generations prefer short videos, but Gen Z like ads less than 10 seconds even more than previous generations, while Gen X is more tolerant of videos up to 20 seconds.

An extremely design-conscious consumer, Gen Z will take note of an ad’s aesthetic qualities and appreciate the use of new immersive formats like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Innovation in formats like native ads, sponsored lenses and sponsored filters all attract much stronger approval with Gen Z than other age groups.

Despite their digitally dominated media consumption, Gen Z can still be impressed by traditional media. While they spend less time with traditional (51% watch an hour or more of TV a day compared to 74% for Gen X), Gen Z are consistently more positive about ad formats such as outdoor, print ads and cinema, TV and radio ads than standard digital alternatives.

Gen Z are slightly more likely to have installed ad blocking software on desktop than older consumers (31% vs 30% for Gen Y and 22% for Gen X) but they are no more likely to have installed a mobile ad blocking app (13% vs 14% for Gen Y and 12% for Gen X).

No generation is a monolith and Gen Z is no exception. Their upbringing, expectations and access to technology, however, has created a range of attitudes and behaviours that will challenge marketers. Only where brands take all this into consideration will they be successful in engaging this increasingly critical and fast-emerging group of consumers.

Source : Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's Notes

Download the full report and explore the data by country at the Kantar Millward Brown website. To find out more or to interview Duncan Southgate contact us.

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