Marketing to the mindless Gen Z scroller

Gen Z gravitates towards the short and relatable content delivered by TikTok.
30 April 2024
Jenna Palumbo

Manager, Canada

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Marketing on social media has become a challenging effort with less engaged users and more brands trying to gain attention. The widespread popularity of quickly and easily digestible content on social media platforms like TikTok presents an even greater challenge.

For marketers trying to speak to Gen Z, this can be even more difficult. So how do we connect with these mindless scrollers? The simple answer is: by speaking to them candidly. Gen Z gravitate towards short and relatable content such as day-in-the-life or get-ready-with-me videos. This can be exemplified through the Alix Earle phenomenon. Alix started posting relatable and realistic everyday content on TikTok, talking about her life while getting ready for the day, as well as day-in-my-life vlogs while attending the University of Miami. Her content quickly picked up widespread popularity across Gen Z, showing appreciation for Alix’s authenticity around her struggles with acne and mental health.

Kantar MONITOR data shows Gen Z craves this kind of authentic, relatable content. Members of the generation view the world from a realistic lens and consider the American Dream a false reality. According to Kantar MONITOR, they also believe in “being one’s true self” and demand the same from brands that market to them. Gen Z can tell when a brand is not being authentic. Therefore, marketing to them has become even more difficult when compared to their predecessors. The key is authenticity and finding something the audience can relate to. On TikTok, this could mean framing an ad as if it were a get-ready-with-me or day-in-the-life vlog, while seamlessly including the brand and making it the hero of the story.

A great example of this is Alix and Patrick Ta’s TikTok collaboration. The video features Patrick doing Alix’s makeup using products from his makeup line, seamlessly promoting his products to her millions of followers in the process. The comments are filled with positive comments around the products used:

TikTok comments

As we’ve seen, when framed effectively, Gen Z is a group that can be heavily influenced. Selena Gomez’s makeup line has been awarded a similar fame and popularity thanks to TikTok. Rare Beauty took TikTok by storm upon its launch through user-generated content, with TikTok videos using the hashtag #rarebeautyblush amassing 1.4 billion views. Creators posted videos applying the product and their positive and realistic first impressions. This type of authentic content is what attracts Gen Z.

Conversely, the type of content that oftentimes does not work with this group is the traditional, structured style of advertising that brands tend to gravitate towards when developing TikTok ads. A recent example of this is a collaboration between Alix and American Eagle. In the videos, Alix is seen trying on different outfits to go apartment shopping in Miami. Viewers quickly picked up on the inauthentic feel of the ad, calling out the poor brand fit with the rest of Alix’s content:

TikTok comments

In conclusion, speaking to Gen Z requires integrating the message seamlessly in already consumed content. Marketers should trade special effects and wow factor ads for unpolished, realistic videos with everyday elements and relatable influencers.

Thought starters for marketing to Gen Z on TikTok:

  • Show the product being used in its true form. Gen Z wants to see how the product will fit into their daily lives.
  • Use influencers over celebrity endorsement. Celebrities catch the attention of viewers, but viewers are more likely to relate to influencers they are familiar with.
  • Collaborate with influencers that fit your brand closely. This can help deliver the message more authentically.

Learn more about how to optimize your creative with Kantar LINK AI or track your creative with Kantar In-Market Creative testing.

Learn more about market trends with Kantar MONITOR.

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