Big Difference: Millennials & GenZers
They may look the same to us, but oh no, way different!
Here is a snapshot of their differences and why you you should care if you are marketing to those demographics.
According to the Pew Research Center, those in the millennial generation were born between 1981 and 1996, while those in Gen Z were born between 1997 and 2012. In 2019. Millennials are between 22 and 38 years old and Gen-Zers are between six and 21 years old.
So, the oldest millennials are close to 40, might be settled down, and could be making larger purchases like cars or homes.
The youngest members of Gen Z are in second grade, might love children’s shows, and won’t be directly making purchasing decisions any time soon.
Aside from the obvious age differences above, here are more factors that make these two generations fundamentally different.
And oh, those differences matter!
For example, technology and money.
While each generation was raised in the Age of Technology, the technology can be compared to the difference between the Model T of then and the Ford Mustang of today.
Millennials grew up using DVD players, giant personal computers, cell phones with tiny screens, and dial-up internet.
Today most children and teens within Gen Z have access to iPads, smartphones, endless Wi-Fi, or streaming services that turn the DVD players into the Model T. And don’t forget the almost ubiquitous smart home technology.
While millennials watched innovation begin, Gen Z was born into it.
Money. Money. Money.
Millennials in the U.S. built up their own finances shortly after the Recession, which ended in 2009. So, millennials still remain optimistic about their future and finances.
If you’re marketing to these generations, you’ll want to keep these attitudes about money in mind.
- if you want millennials to buy your product, focus on building a brand that offers a pleasant or entertaining customer experience, as well as marketing products or services that give instant gratification.
- If you’re marketing to Gen Z, you’ll want your campaigns to clearly demonstrate how or why your product will be valuable or practical to them in their daily lives.
Internet is God. While millennials watched the internet develop, Gen Z has used it since a very young age.
Millennials and Gen Z also go online primarily with mobile devices. Computers are so Old School.
According to Think With Google, Gen Z particularly spends a lot of time on the mobile Internet. Roughly 71% of Gen Z teens use mobile devices to watch videos, while 51% use mobile for social media surfing.
Source: Think With Google
Gen Z’s mobile-first mindset also impacts how they shop. Members of the generation are twice as likely to make a mobile online purchase than millennials. However, millennials still do shop a lot on mobile devices. In fact, 71% say they do most of their online shopping with a mobile device.
When it comes to online content consumption, both millennials and Gen Z spend most of their time watching videos and visiting social media sites.
According to a recent study, millennials watch online videos for 2.4 hours per day while Gen Z averages 3.4 hours. Meanwhile, both generations are thought to spend hours per day on social media.
If you really want to attract attention from both Gen Z or millennials, you’ll want to create mobile videos, mobile ecommerce sites, or other phone-based experiences that cater to them. You should also be sure to market yourself on platforms that are already mobile, such as major social media apps.
Social Media Preferences
So, who’s actually the most tuned in to social media?
Aside from the time spent on social media per day, the platforms each generation uses are also slightly different.
Gone are MySpace and TumblrNow it’s platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Gen Z has zoned in on video-based platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and — more recently — TikTok.
A recent Business Insider survey that polled the oldest half of Gen Z found that participants used Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat most often.
Although TikTok seemed less popular in the Business Insider survey, this one-year-old platform is worth noting as one of the fastest-growing social media apps due to booming global Gen Z users.
Gen Z and millennials do have a few social platform preferences in common.
- One, for example, is Instagram. While Instagram is older and more established than apps like TikTok or Snapchat, it’s also pulled in millennials and video-loving Gen Z members.
- YouTube is also a social network that both generations are prominently using. While YouTube was launched when most millennials were children, Gen Z usage of the platform has increased by 59% since 2018. The video platform is also the second-most used search engine and a platform where many in Gen Z and millennial generations go for product research.
Regardless of whether you’re creating long-form content for millennials or short-form clips for Gen Z, you’ll want to embrace mobile-optimized video when promoting your brand to either audience.
They are thrifty. Read: cheap
According to various studies, both generations actually spend less than past generations while the oldest Gen Z members are focused on responsible spending.
Most of Gen Z doesn’t even have buying power yet. But research from multiple sources, including Vice, Insider, and Adobe say that Gen Z aims to spend money pragmatically as compared to other generations. Some analysts suggest that Gen Z’s saving approach is routed in budgeting lessons that the generation learned from the U.S. Recession.
When it comes to the Gen Z members who are old enough to make purchases, research shows that they do less online shopping than millennials. A recent study from Ernst & Young noted that 74% of millennials and only 49% of Gen Z buy products online more than once a month.
But, while Gen Z buys less online, they expect more added service from a brand when they make purchases. The same E&Y study found that 80% of Gen Z valued free delivery. The study also found that 74% of Gen Z values brands that give out discounts or coupons over other businesses.
While millennials are slightly less frugal than Gen Z, the idea that the older generation is more frivolous is also a huge misconception. While many millennials buy their fair share of products, they also earn more annually than most older generations, are the most educated age group, and are notably optimistic about their futures.
How to Market to Each Generation
Marketing Campaign for Millennials
By now, you might be most familiar with marketing to millennials. Luckily, they’re also a great generation to market to. They’re on the most prominent social media networks today and prefer to consume multiple different styles of multimedia content, from videos to podcasts. They’re also old enough to make purchasing decisions, more educated than previous generations, and spend considerable amounts of time in the research stage before buying a product.
Essentially, many different formats of marketing content will engage millennials because they are regularly looking to be enticed by a new product that will help them in their daily lives.
Because millennials have a slightly longer attention span than Gen Z, you can also get a bit more creative by testing out longer-form content like longer marketing videos or branded podcasts.
The best types of marketing campaigns will inform millennials about how your product can make their lives easier or how it can solve their day-to-day problems. Focusing your strategy on social media or online platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, where many adults go to research products can also be beneficial to your strategy,
Marketing Campaign for Gen Z
To successfully persuade Gen Z to buy your product, you’ll want to make content that quickly cuts to the chase and explains why your product will provide value to them.
As mentioned above, Gen Z loves to use video to learn about products and also spends most of their online time on their mobile phones. So be sure to leverage short-form video formatting and mobile-optimized content in your campaigns.
You’ll also want to zone in on the niche social media platforms that they commonly use, such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok on Snapchat. If you’re not on one of these platforms, but still want to gain brand awareness there, consider sponsoring an influencer who knows the audience and create content that discusses your product.
Marketing Campaign for Gen Z AND Millennials
If you absolutely can’t budget pinpointed campaigns for millennials and Gen Z, but know you want to market to young adults, focus on the cusp of both generations by creating a campaign for 18 to 34-year-olds. This will allow you to zone in on young and slightly older adults that can actually make purchasing decisions.
While a campaign with this age target might be slightly more favorable to millennials, who are between 23 and 38, there’s still a chance you could grab attention from older teenagers who will soon be able to make more purchases if they can’t already.
Despite the differences between these two generations, there are also two big similarities: both love social media and instant gratification. Be sure that your campaign clearly explains why your product will be valuable to the age group you’re pitching it too, and leverage the social media networks that the age group you’re targeting has in common.
For example, if you’re focused on promoting your product to people in the 18 to 34 range, you’ll want to be on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, because most members of this age group are using all three of them on a regular basis.
If you can create a campaign that leverages key social networks accordingly while highlighting why your product is so instantly gratifying and useful, you might attract interest from both groups fairly quickly.
Tips for Knowing Your Audience
As you create campaigns around a specific audience or age group, it’s important to do digging to learn what motivates this group of people, what their purchasing habits are, where they spend the most time, and what they’re looking for in a product. Here are a few tips that can help you in this research:
- Identify specific demographics: Try not to be too specific or too broad. Pick an audience you can learn a lot about quickly that well aligns with your product and start researching that demographic.
- Learn about their work and education backgrounds: This will give you insight on what motivates them and how much they’re able to spend on a product.
- Find out which social platforms they use: Once you do this, you can research each platform and leverage it appropriately during your campaign.
- Consider writing a buyer persona: A buyer persona is a fictional character that has a very similar lifestyle to your ideal buyer. Having a persona in mind can help you quickly think about campaigns and strategies that they’ll engage most with. It’s also a handy place to organize all of your detailed research findings into one simple place.
Special thanks to
- Want to learn more about Gen Z or millennials specifically? Check out this blog post on marketing to Gen Z or this piece on millennial marketing.