Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z (we’ve officially run out of letters) — it’s increasingly confusing to keep up with the wealth of information surrounding the three most recent generations.
Here, I’ll make it easy: These tips and data-based insights can help you create content that appeals to teenagers. Simple as that.
Let’s dive in.
A Tech-Native Generation
Between iPhones, streaming services and high-speed internet connections, today’s young adults have never known a life that’s not inextricably intertwined with technology. As a result, they’re tethered to the online world 24/7.
According to a survey from CommScope, nearly 50 percent of teens check their phone between 10 and 30+ times per hour. That’s an average of (brace yourself) once every three minutes.
Knowing that, it’s not surprising that a whopping 63 percent can’t imagine life without their smartphone.
Why? Because they view smartphones as crucial aspects of their lives: A number of respondents reported that having their smartphone on hand makes them feel safer, more secure, connected to the world and social.
Contrary to what older generations might think, they’re perfectly aware of their dependence. In a report from AwesomenessTV, teens said that they’re more addicted to technology, more comfortable connecting online than in person and more willing to share information online than previous generations.
Additionally, 58 percent say it’s easier to be themselves online than in real life.
Teens are just as tech-dependent as they seem, so reach them where they are — online.
The Reign of Mobile
Rather than hopping on a desktop computer, teens prefer to access the web from the palm of their hand.
According to Think With Google, smartphones are the preferred devices for nearly 80 percent of teens.
What are they using their phones to do, exactly? In short, everything, from watching videos to communicating with friends to social networking.
Moreover, Gen Zers also view their smartphones as a one-stop shop: 53 percent of all teens use their smartphones to make online purchases.
The AwesomenessTV report goes into further detail, revealing that 71 percent of teens’ typical entertainment consumption consists of streaming, one-third of which is viewed from a mobile device. The most popular entertainment source is YouTube, followed closely by Netflix.
Teens live their lives on mobile devices, so the importance of mobile-optimized content cannot be overstated. And don’t forget about video.
Not All Ads Are Created Equal
Although teens don’t respond as positively to online ads as Millennials (Generation Y), they do have their preferred formats.
According to research from Millward Brown, desktop display and online search ads tied for the number one spot, with mobile display ads not far behind.
In terms of video ads, mobile reward ads (ads that give viewers a digital or real-world reward for watching) are far and away the most popular, with skippable pre-roll ads (like those that play before YouTube videos) taking second place.
And, despite Generation Z’s tendency to be attached at the hip with their smartphones, traditional ads are far from being dead in their eyes. Fifty-five percent respond positively to outdoor ads, and 53 percent like cinema ads. Unsurprisingly, radio ads (not pictured) are by far the least popular.
Teens respond positively to a variety of ads, but mobile reward videos (58 percent), cinema ads (53 percent) and skippable pre-roll ads (43 percent) take the cake.
Brand Relationships Matter
Finally, let’s take a look at some data from IBM that explores the value of relationships between teens and brands.
Decades ago, customers had to either write a letter, make a phone call or visit a physical location to communicate with brands. Today, with speedy internet connections at their fingertips, members of Gen Z expect a much more personal level of customer service.
Sixty-six percent of teens say they will continue to buy from a brand they like for a long time, but only if those brands value their opinions. Tried-and-true brands are preferred, too — 59 percent say they trust brands they’ve grown up with. For newer companies, that means respecting teens’ opinions is crucial.
Additionally, many brands are missing a big opportunity to gain teens’ trust through responsiveness. Four percent are dissatisfied with the response from brands, 20 percent are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 23 percent never received a response.
Brand responsiveness becomes increasingly important when you consider that nearly half of teens want brands to hear their voice.
Takeaway: Teens don’t just want to buy from brands, they want to have a conversation. To secure teens’ loyalty, show that their opinions matter.
The Bottom Line
Let’s review the takeaways from all the research we’ve examined:
- Teens are just as tech-dependent as they seem, so reach them where they are — online.
- Teens live their lives on mobile devices, so the importance of mobile-optimized content cannot be overstated.
- Teens respond positively to a variety of ads, but mobile reward videos (58 percent), cinema ads (53 percent) and skippable pre-roll ads (43 percent) take the cake.
- Teens don’t just want to buy from brands, they want to have a conversation. To secure teens’ loyalty, show that their opinions matter.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that you need to create high-quality digital content that’s easily accessed on popular platforms, optimize your content for mobile use, choose your ads’ formats carefully and diligently respond to teens’ comments and questions.
If you’d like to read more about reaching your target audience – be it teens or Baby Boomers – sign up for our email list and get instant access to your content strategy blueprint.
And, if you’d like to learn about creating content for Millennials, the generation with the most purchasing power, check out my previous blog post on the topic.
What do you think of these statistics and data? Do they surprise you, or were they expected? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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