Gen Z’s Love/Hate Relationship With Ads

Group of young people with smart phones, digital tablets and laptop

With Gen Z and Millennials now representing a greater influence on the economy than ever before, it is important for advertisers to be dialed in on how they can best reach these audiences.

And an important question to ask is whether or not these people want to be advertised to at all?

New research from WP Engine has found that 10 per cent of Australian Gen Zs would prefer an ad-free online shopping experience.

The WP Engine Generation Resilience Report 2021 report also found 18 per cent of all Australians consider ads to be a frustration of their overall online experience.

Speaking to B&T, WP Engine’s country manager ANZ Mark Randall said advertisers should be thinking more carefully about the value their ads provide, especially when dealing with younger generations.

“A nuance of Gen Z and Millennials versus other generations is, they’re actually quite willing to give up personal information about themselves in return for a personalised service,” Randall said.

“But broad, untargeted adverts are very disengaging for that generation. So it plays into that personalisation piece – if you’re delivering them relevant information, and in particular, information that is validated through things like third-party reviews, that’s going to be really powerful.”

The report also highlighted Gen Z’s lofty expectations of online experiences. For example, 58 per cent of respondents said they expect all software/websites to have digital learnings and AI capabilities in the next five years.

“Gen Z prioritises 3D display technology more than they do checkout security. Again, this shows how focused they are on having more human experiences when they interact online and that’s a general trend.

Randall suggested marketers should think of Gen Z as a “canary in the coalmine” when it comes to how they shape their campaigns, as where they go, other generations tend to follow.

This is evident in the acceleration of digital trends that has been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Things like video chat, remote learning and gaming were cited as activities Gen Z had experienced for the first time in 2020.





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