How to effectively engage Gen Z with Digital Advertising (the right way)

Feb 19, 2020

Lauren Wakefield

And with the blink of an eye, the next generation of mobile consumer is upon us… 

Gen Z, the demographic group born between 1995 and 2015, are now impacting the marketplace, bringing a significant $44billion buying power with them. A power which expands to $600billion if we consider the influence they have on their parents’ spending too. 

As the first generation to be truly digitally native – i.e. never really knowing a world without mobile phones or the internet – this new group of consumers perceive and react to digital advertising in a manner different from any other that has gone before. 

In this blog we’ll look at how their attitudes towards digital advertising differ from other demographics – especially around personal data sharing and privacy – and what needs to be understood and considered to engage them effectively. 

Does being digitally native affect propensity to share data?

The internet is fundamental to most people’s lives today. We all feel a bit lost without it. But if you’re 25 years old or above, you can still remember a time where it wasn’t ubiquitous and wasn’t mobile-first, even if that memory is vague. 

Gen Z’ers however, cannot. They’ve grown up tapping, swiping and liking, with the world’s information at their fingertips. That’s why 55% of Gen Z can’t go more than 5 hours without internet access.

Infact, Gen Z show little to no distinction between the physical and the digital world. 29% of Gen Z claim to see no difference between their online and offline selves. This has a direct impact in the way Gen Z integrate the use of their mobile devices into everyday life compared to others. In our socio-demo insight report, Ogury: Behind the Screens, we found that older generations have a very distinct and practical use for their smartphones, whereas Gen Z use their devices for everything from education to social, to shopping, and even the greater good. 

Gen Z are accustomed to digital living from birth. They’re conditioned to understand the importance of providing brands and publishers with details about themselves to enhance their e-commerce or content experience. They’re used to logging bank details and making one-click purchases – big or small – on their phones. 

As such, Gen Z are far more comfortable sharing their personal data, when compared to other generations. Just 2% say they are ‘not comfortable’ sharing their data with brands, compared to 40% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen Xers

What does this all mean for digital advertising?

Gen Z are digitally savvy. They understand that content on the internet is not free. They know it needs to be paid for somehow. Either with a monetary payment (i.e. Spotify premium) or with digital advertising, and subsequently, certain data of theirs. In fact, under 23 year-olds have the strongest understanding of the value exchange that comes with providing their personal data to brands and publishers. 

In The Reality Report 2019, we discovered that using data as a currency to ‘pay’ for content is the prefered method among Gen Z. 70% of 18-24 year olds would prefer to share certain data and receive ads, than pay money to access content online. Clearly, Gen Z have a well-developed grasp of the value exchange that comes with sharing personal data as it pertains to digital advertising.  

This is good news for a data-driven digital advertising industry that is now governed by global laws such as GDPR and CCPA. Obtaining traceable consent for all data that is collected and used is now mandatory, and Gen Z are willing to provide such consent.

However, the current data-driven approach that rules our industry is already breaking at the seams and fast becoming out-dated. Despite being digitally native and completely used to digital advertising,  92% of Gen Z say they find targeted ads ‘annoying’ – the highest amongst all age groups studied.

Why is this the case? 

Gen Z might be most willing to share their personal data, but they also expect the most value in return and are more demanding over their preferences. If they don’t see the immediate value in sharing their personal data, they are the first generation to stop – 33% will take time to configure their data preferences online as a result.

As it stands today, they know that for the vast majority of ads they see, their data is actually being taken without their consent. They are not choosing to share their data to access free content, they’re being forced to. And to make matters worse, they have little or no ability to update, change or adapt their data sharing and advertising preferences to suit them. (Unlike almost everything else in their digital life). 

Unless the value exchange is made very clear upfront, and Gen Z consumers are given choice and control over their data and digital advertising preferences, their advanced understanding of the value exchange that comes with sharing data, will actually lead to negative repercussions for digital advertisers. 

Choice Driven Advertising: the best way to engage with Gen Z through digital advertising.

When the digital world is the real world, currencies are perceived differently, commodities are bought differently, value is exchanged differently and trust is earned differently. 

To earn the trust of this emerging group of savvy mobile consumers, and engage them positively with digital advertising, organizations need to embrace Choice Driven Advertising. A new digital advertising model founded on fair choice over how consumers share their personal data, access content and receive ads. It’s about putting the user in control of their own data and their digital advertising experience.

Ogury Advertising Engine integrates a purpose-built Consent & Preference Management Platform (called Choice Manager) into the backbone of its technology and feeds user choices into all advertising activation. Therefore, it only serves ads to consumers who have chosen to see them. 

If we as advertisers, brands and publishers want to thrive in the trusted digital economy, and adapt to the new era of digital integrity, we need to understand and meet the needs of Gen Z when it comes to digital advertising. They demand choice and control over their data and digital advertising experience, and will only engage positively with brands and advertisers who respect this.

It’s time to give choice a chance.

Lauren Wakefield, Content Marketing Manager

If you want to learn more about choice-driven advertising, you can also download your free copy of An Introduction to Advertising Driven by User Choice here.

Or why not contact us at: hello@ogury.co