GenZ – people born between 1995 and 2010 – are now one-third of the world’s population and they are challenging all the ways marketers have traditionally reached people, said 2btube co-founder and CEO Fabienne Fourquet at Promax’s Festival of Virtual Content on Wednesday.
“Gen Z doesn’t watch ads. They aren’t receptive to traditional brand messages, which is why they are tough to crack. Influencer marketing is one of the only ways to reach these young audiences,” said Fourquet, who started 2btube after 15 years of working in television at A&E in New York and at Canal Plus in France.
“This is the generation that when you ask them what they want to do when they grow up, they say influencer or YouTuber,” she said. “Some 13% follow celebrities but 86% prefer influencers. This is their own world of celebrities. They trust them and base their purchases on what influencers say.”
Besides working with the influencers, other ways to effectively reach GenZ consumers and audiences is via content and social media – or some combination of all three.
The reason for this approach is because of who GenZ is and when they were born.
“They are the first generation to be totally immersed with the internet. They were born with the internet and they have never not had it,” Fourquet said.
As a result, “they consume more online media than offline. They have not been brought up with linear viewing or appointment television. They watch shows on apps or connected TV. A lot of them are using it a lot – maybe too much. Some 26% are on their mobile device more than 10 hours per day – which is pretty much the whole day. They are big on social media – nine-tenths of them spend more than one hour a day on social media, while 50% spend more than three hours a day on it,” Fourquet said.
Working with influencers is more complex than just getting them to mention a brand a few times on Instagram. Marketers need to source influencers who use engaging content to reach the audience the brand desires.
For example, when 2btube was hired to help AXN in Mexico promote its new series, iZombie, it found 11 influencers who had a “true, organic love for zombies” and already created zombie-focused content, such as recipes for “bloody spaghetti” and how to do zombie makeup. That campaign ended up generating about 1 million impressions and 100,000 interactions.
“You have to find influencers who are a good fit with your brand and it has to feel organic,” Fourquet said. “If it’s the right influencers, then your brand will really build credibility and trust with those audiences.”
Once marketers identify the right influencers, they need to think about those collaborations in terms of creating brand awareness and equity as opposed to driving viewers or consumers to a certain action, such as watching or buying.
“Don’t think about it as conversion to watching a TV Show, think about it as brand awareness,” Fourquet said. “If it increases ratings on linear, even better, but it will probably increase on-demand viewing.”
Another strategy is creating your own social content. That can be more challenging, but “as media companies, you have a big advantage in that you are already content creators.”
Most media companies are already savvy about this but Fourquet reinforced that creating social content is “not about creating pieces for TV and then cutting them in little pieces for social media. Instead, think about all content in a 360 way and how it’s going to help you connect with young audiences from the beginning of the shooting of the show all the way until it goes on air.”
The challenge, of course, of using social media is that “you need to employ a different strategy for each platform. You cannot publish the same content on TikTok or Instagram that you post on YouTube, for example. It requires a lot of know-how, especially because the formats and the algorithms are constantly changing.”
An interesting twist on the influencer strategy is including influencers and YouTube stars in a show’s casting and then allowing those influencers to organically promote that show to their followers.
This was the case for a movie, Dedicada a mi ex, that aired on premium streaming platforms in Ecuador and included influencers in the cast.
“These influencers were promoting the movie while acting in the movie. When it was released on premium platforms, the cast promoted that release on their own socials, making it very successful,” Fourquet said.
“Influencer marketing is now mainstream and a big part of any digital marketing campaign,” she said. “Working with an influencer increases brand awareness and reach in a very organic way.”
Besides Fourquet, 4Creative’s Landy Slattery spoke on how Web3 and blockchain technologies will forever change marketing with things like digital collectables, digital wearables and the metaverse. Brandlove’s Steve Brouwers talked about his book, Creatives on Creativity, and presented some high points from the many interviews he did to compile it. All three – Fourquet, Slattery and Brouwers – were in the chat to answer questions and talk to attendees.
Promax’s Festival of Virtual Content is being held every Wednesday at 9 am PT. Register to gather each week with your industry peers for an hour of learning, inspiration and connection.
On Wednesday, September 20, Metavision’s Ashley Lewis will follow up on some of Slattery’s concepts and talk about using the metaverse to effectively market; Ac2ality’s Gabriela Campbell and Daniela Alvarez will pick back up with GenZ, focusing on reaching them on TikTok; and creative coach Richard Holman will speak on the power of creativity and connection.