The commercial video landscape is rarely static. On one hand, the digital age frequently provides new tools, processes, and strategies to help support production. On the other, as society changes, so too do the needs and priorities of the demographics that your efforts are designed to attract. As such, it’s vital to approach creating content with a sense of agility and forethought.
One of the ways this is particularly apt is thinking ahead to how rising generations will impact the marketplace, and what techniques you can use to capture their attention. At the moment the first members of Generation Z are starting to enter work and commercial environments, and are starting to represent a significant and powerful portion of the consumer base. Alongside this, video marketing is becoming more relevant, accessible, and shareable — particularly among Gen Z.
We’re going to take a closer look at how to approach video production through the lens of appealing to Generation Z. What strategies and considerations should you focus on to make the biggest impact? What do you need to know about this generation to provide them with content that helps brands build and maintain relationships with them?
Understand Their Needs
Before you even start shooting your video, you need to approach your planning process with your audience in mind. One of the errors that a lot of video producers make is thinking of Generation Z as kids, and consequently not putting together a production that is not serious, or worse, is a patronizing example based on stereotypes of their peers. Gen Z are humans, and swiftly becoming intelligent, engaged adults with their own needs and priorities — your videos need to reflect this.
Take the time to get to know Generation Z. Don’t assume that they value your products or video content in the same way or for the same reasons that you do. Remember that one of the perennial challenges in any marketing strategy is not having a clear idea of who your target audience is, and this is no different when producing video content. As such, you need to treat your pre-production similarly. Create buyer personas; even within Generation Z, there are likely to be variances in audiences that will affect who you are pitching to. Do your research, reach out to your Gen Z viewers and find out more about what they value and prioritize.
Certainly, there are common themes around what Generation Z viewers are looking for in the types of video they consume and — perhaps most importantly — share. They tend to prioritize the cutting edge and are keen to engage with new brands and influencers. They don’t like content that is obviously a sales pitch, they prefer to interact with content that provides some form of value to their lifestyle; think entertainment, challenges, and life hacks. Perhaps above all else, they have a strong set of ethics and appreciate content that is socially conscious and relevant to the time they live in.
Identify Their Platforms
You may have some plans to make the best content for Generation Z they’ve ever seen. However, this would all be for nothing if you don’t put effort into making sure that you put it in a place that they’re actually going to engage with it. As such, you must consider what the most appropriate method of delivery is for the message that you want to send to your Gen Z audience.
Some key locations include:
This continues to be the most used social media by Generation Z. One recent report found that 25% of Gen Z users polled used TikTok every day, and its popularity continues to grow. As such, there is an opportunity to produce short (60 seconds maximum), entertaining, or informative videos that are designed to be shareable. This doesn’t mean to say that you should just make dance videos; this generation prioritizes social values and environmental concerns — so useful, educational, and engaging videos are just as relevant.
It might not seem like the most obvious platform, but Generation Z makes a lot of their purchasing decisions based on emails they receive — almost as much as social media. One survey found that 28.5% of Gen Zers polled purchased 2-5 items as a result of email in the past month, compared to 29.5% who did so as a result of social media. Although this is often more effective if the content is personalized. Create videos that are geared toward the personal interests of each of your buyer personas, and email them accordingly.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can just throw everything onto TikTok and achieve instant viral kudos. Gen Z are super smart and savvier and more discerning than most marketers give them credit for. This approach also ignores the fact that the digital landscape is constantly shifting, with attitudes evolving alongside it. Using social media platforms to capture Generation Z’s attention with videos requires a distinct amount of strategy and nuance. As such, if you’re not confident in your understanding of the medium, it can be wise to consider hiring a social media specialist, who has not only the creative and communicative skillsets but the knowledge of what platforms are currently favored and how they are used.
Produce Authentic Content
A key element that should factor into your video production considerations when creating for Generation Z, is authenticity. This applies across the board for any interactions with them; they do not have the patience for businesses who are anything less than honest with them. This means that your content can’t just be focused on how to go viral; it just needs to make genuine connections with them.
Your best approach is to be transparent. We know that top video production agencies always invest in talent — whether behind the camera or in front of it. However, if you are creating a video with an influencer who has been paid or otherwise compensated to be part of your content, be upfront about this. Generation Z are digital natives who have grown up seeing how businesses have utilized video advertising in less than upfront ways using celebrities and influencers, and they know what to look for. Don’t use video editing techniques to make your products look better than they are in real life. You will make greater headway with these consumers if your production is built upon solid foundations of trust and honesty about your methods and the circumstances of the shoot.
Indeed, one of the ways that you can best assure them of the authenticity of your content, is to give them opportunities to meaningfully engage with it. This could be providing user-generated content that you will insert into longer video productions. Alternatively, make content that is designed for them to respond to and even add to. This can be with in-video invitations to respond with their own videos or even just getting them involved in a challenge. This shows that you are not just making content to sell them something, but value their creative input.
The biggest mistake you can make in producing a video designed to appeal to Generation Z is assuming they are anything less than complex, nuanced adults. Take the time to understand your audience — consider the topics they care about, the delivery platforms they prefer to use. Above all else, whatever the subject of your content is, make sure you take an authentic approach to creating it.