As YMS19 LDN fast approaches, Event Partner Fanbytes shares their advice on how to engage and win with Gen Z.
“Attention spans are getting shorter”. In the world of millennial marketing it’s an adage you can’t escape. Whether it’s by comparing the attention spans of Gen Z to those of goldfish (actually their memories last at least 6 months) or reminding the world about phone addiction - we’re constantly told marketers have their work cut out trying to reach that audience. It’s all false. Gen Z has an ever-shortening interest span, their attention span is not the problem. Evidence: if you’ve ever seen a Gen Z burn through an entire Netflix series in one day or sit for hours on video games you’ll know attention really isn't the sticking point.
If you want to win a younger audience, your challenge is to determine how to be as interesting as Netflix. Once you’ve harnessed that interest, you’ve got a willing audience that is likely to engage more than any other age group. But how do you win that audience? Well, here at Fanbytes, we call it Advertainment.
Advertainment, as the name suggests, is the fusion of advertising and entertainment. Where advertising isn’t just a gateway to a transaction but an emotional experience, one where brands enter into conversations with their audience not just scream through a megaphone about themselves. It can be all too easy now, as marketers to decide to run our marketing based solely on algorithms by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube but that’s the easy game and simply a race to the bottom. In this game, the person who wins the customer isn’t the person with the best marketing but is rather the person who can spend the most. To a startup or growing business this can be especially daunting when faced with well funded giants.
Advertainment therefore enables you to level the playing field or even have a one up on your competitors. Having run over 250 campaigns from brands like YouGov to Apple Music, we’ve studied a lot and developed three core ideas you can use to win with this younger audience.
1. Tapping into culture
As a marketer, it’s much harder to begin a new conversation with a prospect than engaging in a conversation that is already going on. Therefore one of the easiest ways to beat the system id to ‘tap into the culture’. Every generation has its own line of songs, moments and dance moves which defined a cultural zeitgeist. Most marketers tend to ignore this - perhaps out of ignorance but most likely out of a blissful ignorance for all these cultural goldmines.
Ignore this at your peril. By tapping into a culture-defining moment you shortcut your way to the consumers’ hearts as you become synonymous with such a moment.
This can even be used by companies that wouldn’t be considered ‘cool’. Take YouGov, the market research company, for example who realised that brand perception was critical and their’s needed a Fanbytes-style boost. So we took our audience insights and developed an activation using Lil Wayne’s “A Mille” - a famous rap song where in typical rap braggadocio he talks about how rich he is etc. Consequently, we developed a campaign around the idea of using YouGov and taking enough surveys to become as rich as Lil Wayne. The whole thing was nearly as ludicrous as the 90% completion rate on the influencer content for the ad and the 100’s of emotional comment from the audience.
2. Memeing it up:
Memes are another way to tap into Advertainment and extends back to the idea of engaging in a conversation that’s already going in people’s minds. We send memes to our friends using that as our medium of expression to share laughs, agony and anguish but as marketers, it can be easy to dismiss their power. This sometimes stems from having a divisive attitude towards your audience, treating your consumers simply as eyeballs or numbers on a dashboard. The value here is not to invent your own memes, there is far too much risk in doing that if you do not understand the mindset of this audience but rather to figure out how an existing meme and surf its wave.
As a company, we found that campaigns which includes memes outperformed those without by 64% an astonishing stat considering that we gathered data across all verticals as far stretches as finance to gaming. The value of creatives which incorporate memes and social references is enough to prompt people who otherwise wouldn’t take action to take massive action.
3. Make them the star of their own show
Marketers often make the mistake of imagining social media to be one monolithic thing. At Fanbytes, we believe that social media is merely a network of personalised TV channels. Whether it be Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, social media essentially provides an opportunity for people to project an ideal image of who they are if the camera was always on them. As a consequence, your role as a brand is to help them create the best possible TV show and that involves stepping out of the way and position yourself as a brand with which people can express more of themselves. This intensifies the engagement to another level, something we saw in a campaign with the streaming service, Deezer.
In order to showcase their Flow Feature (which personalised music according to individual taste) we created an AR 3D lens which danced according to the music in the background. Rather than telling people explicitly to go and download Deezer which is the old disruptive way of marketing, we decided to enable creativity through Deezer.
The effects of this were astonishing with the campaign netting over 1m views in 24 hours but also 46,000 scans and 11,000 shares. Even better this translated to a high number of installs from users who had now emotionally invested into the app - which given the widely competitive of music streaming was paramount.
As can be shown, none of these require extensive budgets - all they require really is a change in mindset in engaging with this audience. So next time someone tells you that attention spans are reducing, show them this article and encourage them to be more interesting - it’s the killer strategy to winning with this young audience.