Find Gen Z on YouTube

You know what one of the most popular platforms for Gen Z is? YouTube! When I first saw the statistics associated with Gen Z YouTube viewership, I was a little surprised… until I started thinking about my YouTube habits. I realized I am on YouTube every day. I turn to it for new music, empowering speeches, and entertainment (noting the unfathomable number of times I have watched Cinemasins, Adam Ray, or the same Bad Lip Reading video over the past few years). To reach Gen Z, it is important to know this effective platform and the best way to advertise on it.

Did you know that  95% of Gen Z uses YouTube? In a recent study, 50% said that they could not live without YouTube. Gen Z uses YouTube more than any other social media platform. Naturally, this is the best place to reach them. They mostly use YouTube for entertainment (51% of Gen Z respondents), news (23% of Gen Z respondents), shopping recommendations (24% of Gen Z respondents), and how-to information (66% of Gen Z respondents). In all of these categories except for news, YouTube is the number one response.

YouTube is also extremely important due to its influencers. Social media influencers are often trusted as much if not more than mainstream celebrities in matters of technology, beauty products, and clothing. Gen Z is also receptive to branded content. About 78% said that it was acceptable or sometimes acceptable for a celebrity to discuss a product or brand that they like. However, they prefer the celebrity to disclose that it is indeed branded content. In a different study, 54% of Gen Z respondents said that they would advertise their favorite brand via influencers. The next highest were TV commercials at 51% and pre-roll video ads at 43%.

Part of YouTube’s appeal is that it is essentially all visual. Gen Z is full of visual learners. They take in information best visually. A study by Fullscreen suggests that Gen Z views digital video and short form clips six times as much as written digital content. They would rather view something than read about it. That being said, the best way to reach them is visually. I am not saying there should be no copy in ads, but the visual content of the ad should be the main draw. Words are great, but you cannot rely on them alone. Whether your ad is a digital video clip or a banner ad, it should be less word focused and more eye-catching (insert the cheers of art director and graphic designers here).

When it comes to YouTube, there are an incredible number of advertising opportunities. Some advertisements are specific to different viewing platforms. For example, display ads and overlay ads are only viewable on desktops/laptops. This does not mean that these are poor options (plenty of Gen Z uses their laptops), but they will not reach every viewer that you may want. Below, I have listed the forms of advertising that I believe (with evidence to back up my claims) are the most effective to reach the Gen Z audience.

  1. Influencers:

If you read any of this blog post before this sentence, you have already read about the power that influencers can have. Though the ROI can be a little difficult to track in this relatively new marketing technique, it has been proven that the right influencer and the right market can work wonders for brand awareness and sales. The beauty product Benefit is one of the greatest success stories. They did not even have to start paying their influencers until this year because they made more personal connections. They were able to send the influencers free products and increase sales and brand awareness, particularly with major beauty bloggers like Zoella. In addition, they set up a portal for micro-influencers that gives exclusive access to new products and events. Influencers have proved effective for Benefit because they found the right influencers for the right market. For a smaller/regional company, it will likely be more beneficial and cost effective to use a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers are in several different fields, and it would not be difficult to find one that reaches your target audience. To reach influencers, offer them payment and/or free products or services. In return, they will make your brand known to their Gen Z audience.

  1. Skippable Video Ads:

There are definitely pros and cons to this type of advertising. Skippable video ads appear before, during, or after a video and can be skipped after five seconds. Of course, the major disadvantage is that there is a high chance that a lot of the ad will be skipped. This means that you have to make the first 5 seconds of the ad grab the viewer’s attention enough to either make them want to continue watching or make a significant impression without the rest of the ad. However, a skippable ad gives you a lot more time than most of the other commercials on this list. You can essentially make your ad as long as you want. Another advantage is that it is the only one that is accessible on every viewing platform (desktop, mobile, TV, and game consoles).

  1. Non-skippable Video Ads:

The best part about non-skippable video ads is, well, viewers cannot skip them. They have to watch the whole ad before they can watch the desired video. You do not have to worry about viewers missing the message because they skip the ad. These ads can be viewed on both desktop and mobile devices, which is huge for the on-the-go, cellphone-loving audience. They are shown before, during, or after a video. However, these ads are limited to 15-20 seconds. You have to get your entire message across in a small amount of time. There is little room for copy, and therefore the ad should rely on visuals.

  1. Bumper Ads:

Bumper ads are non-skippable video ads up to six seconds long that are shown before the video can be played. The advantage of these ads is that they cannot be skipped. They can also be viewed on both desktop and mobile devices. However, they are only six seconds in length, an extremely short amount of time to get a message across. These shorter ads are very effective for Gen Z’s short attention span. The faster a message reaches them, the better. A short ad like this is difficult to effectively create, but it can be extremely effective if done right.

YouTube has become the most effective digital resource for reaching Gen Z. With strong viewership and several viewing platforms, it is the ideal location for your Gen Z targeted ad. A strong YouTube ad can get you far with this audience. If you have an ad that a viewer particularly likes, they might share the ad itself on their other social media pages, creating more publicity and brand awareness. Though there is still much to be explored in YouTube’s marketing potential, it is a strong resource to be used now and in the future for targeting Gen Z.

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How to Attract Gen Z to Banking

Who is Generation Z? Me.

Children born between the years of the mid 1990s through the early 2000s, otherwise known as Generation Z, is the generation that should be the next target for banks, credit unions, and businesses alike. Not only is this generation the largest in history, at about 82 million, but they are just starting out in the workforce which is great news for financial institutions.

Whether that be as a part time worker in high school, or fitting work into their college schedule, this generation is starting to really focus on their money. It’s not just the money of the individuals in this generation that’s important though, it’s also their families. According to, Gen Z influences $600 billion in family spending. Parents are spending more money on their kids than ever before. Financial Institutions and businesses alike need to update their marketing strategies to take advantage of the influence this Gen Z has.

They are Different from Millennials.

Generation Z are quite different from Millennials. While millenials are most definitely one of the more tech savvy generations, Generation Z grew up in a world where smartphones, Internet, and social media were already a reality, and it was something they learned as they were also learning to walk and talk. It’s a normal part of their world.

This is why the most important factor when it comes to marketing to this generation is to utilize digital marketing. This generation is spending over 7 hours a day on average viewing media online, in many different formats. This means if you want to get their attention, you’re going to have to place your brand and your message right on to their phone screens to get your message across. Make sure your brand is accessible on mobile devices, whether that be through an App (most ideal) or having an easy to use mobile website.

This is key.

The next step would be to make sure your financial institution has an account on social media channels that this generation is using multiple times per hour.This means having an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even a YouTube channel. All of this will increase your brand’s awareness to this generation.

Utilizing Social Media.

Just having your financial institution own and manage social media channels isn’t enough. With the amount of competitors and other companies having their businesses involved with social media, you are going to have to stand out and be attractive to this generation. How?

The key is to be relatable, and involve this target audience.

Show me (a proud member of Gen Z) that you are aware of our lifestyle, our worries and our interests. Getting a college education is very important for this generation for example, so demonstrate how your financial institution understands the stress of saving or preparing for school and beyond. Connect with local high schools or colleges and get your brand in the talk around campus. Sponsoring sporting or school events will build familiarity and brand loyalty. Not only should you make an effort to get involved in the school community on campus, but online as well. On social media, make sure you are connecting with the students by cheering on local sports teams, talking about things that are happening in the community, and communicating with community members.

Make Your Financial Institution Attractive.

Other methods of relating to Gen Z and making your company more attractive to us is implementing aspects of our lifestyle into marketing campaigns, and on to these social channels. By providing images and video in campaigns of things that we can relate to, we will feel more comfortable about giving our business and our future business to you. For example, using images relating to school, college life, getting coffee out with friends, enjoying concerts, etc. All things that will get my generation to see aspects of ourselves in your brand.

Make sure to take full advantage of student accounts. This means allowing students that are attending school to have an account where there is the ability to transfer money easily, no minimum balances, free savings account along with checking, and higher interest on the money that’s kept in savings. Let Gen Z know that you are there for us as we continue on our journey.

Utilize the tools that social media can provide you, in order to stand out from all of the other accounts we follow that continuously fill our timelines. Use social media as a tool for YOU to communicate directly to my generation, and build a better relationship with us.

Twitter offers a ‘Poll’ feature, in which you can ask a question to your followers, have multiple poll answer options, and allow it to be open for answers for 24 hours. That’s 24 hours of free availability to get answers directly from Gen Z. You can ask anything, from “What are you saving up for this year?” to “What’s the first thing you do when you get direct deposit on payday?”.

Twitter also has a feature where you can post GIF images along with your post. This is a great tool to not only capture the attention of a user as they are scrolling through their timeline, but also to get their attention to the information you are trying to communicate in the post.  Have fun with it. The more interested people in Gen Z are in your financial institution, the more likely they will want to work with you.


Going back to the previous point about connecting to the community in which Gen Z is highly involved with, you want to make sure this is a part of your marketing strategy. Gen Z is one of the most socially and environmentally aware generations. My generation is filled with kids who want to use their time and energy to truly make the world a better place. Use it to your advantage! Get connected to local charities and raise awareness of problems going on in the community through your institution’s own channels, so your brand is associated with all the effort to help the world and our community be a better place.

Being a community financial institution, you are probably aware of the locations near you where Gen Z’s frequent. Bringing flyers and sponsoring fundraisers at these locations like coffee shops, cafes, school libraries, and campus events, will create a lot of buzz about your brand. Make sure to advertise your social media account information on flyers and other collateral pieces, and display how YOUR financial institution is perfect for students (like me) just getting into banking.


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