Getty Images’ Kate Rourke Talks BeReal, GenZ And The Importance Of Visual Advertising

Getty Images’ Kate Rourke Talks BeReal, GenZ And The Importance Of Visual Advertising

    Advertising to Gen Z is proving to be a complicated task for many companies as they try and grapple with changing interests and mediums. Recently, B&T was lucky enough to catch up with Kate Rourke (pictured), head of creative insights at Getty Images APAC, to discuss the rise of apps like BeReal and TikTok and the importance of utilising the visual medium when advertising to young people.

    If you’re a young person, or you have a Gen Z-er in your life, you’ve probably heard of BeReal in recent history. The application has been making headlines for its unique approach to social media, using a time limit to force its users to be honest and upfront about the content they display. Advertisers have already begun jumping onboard in an attempt to connect with users on a more approachable level.

    Rourke explained that the key to the success of such a platform is the authenticity it offers to its users. “What we [Getty Images] found, which is why I can see be real being quite popular particularly with the younger generation, is that what they were very much resonating with was visuals that felt inclusive, that were candid, and that felt personal,” she said.

    “Visually, from the research that we’ve done through our visual GPS platform, Gen Z are definitely resonating with and wanting more authenticity, more realism. The visuals that they want to see, they liked that relatability and they’re definitely a generation that that wants to feel that relatability.”

    Credit: FG Trade/Getty Images

    The results of Getty’s VisualGPS insights – a tool which allows businesses to view the results over 2.5 billion annual searches from both Getty Images and iStock – backs up the importance of authenticity. 88 per cent of ANZ Gen Z believe it’s important to live one’s life as authentically as possible, and the generation as a whole were the highest to cite the drawback of social media as showing unrealistic body types, beauty standards, and behaviours.

    All of this is music to the ears of BeReal, which enforces a level of realism thanks to the time sensitivity of posting. A user can’t spend time rehearsing and preparing an overly exaggerated image when they’re on such a tight time limit, and the same rule will apply to any advertisers that attempt to use the platform.

    Getting this visual advertising right is going to be critical for advertisers moving forward, Rourke believes. “Understanding the spaces that they’re in and the way that they’re communicating is also important, because often you’ll see that when it doesn’t feel authentic, or there’s an element where it feels  fake, it’s definitely getting spotted. So I think it’s in the execution as well.”

    Credit: SolStock/Getty Images

    Interestingly, the focus on the visual medium may apply to more than just Gen Z. “Interestingly, what we did find was that when it comes to visuals versus text, for example, from a generational perspective there wasn’t such a big difference between the two. When we think of our own kind of unconscious bias, I certainly thought that the younger generation would trend up higher when it comes to visuals having that impact. But interestingly, right across the generations, there is marginal differences between them.”

    “I think Snapchat came out with a stat a few months ago saying that the Gen Z generation has a $95 billion spending power, so it’s absolutely critical to understand it from that perspective. But I also think the execution and what they’re connecting with is really important visually. And I’m sorry to be repetitive with it, but it definitely is that relatability and authenticity.”

    Credit: SolStock/Getty Images

    In order to tap into that authenticity, Rourke recommends checking in on your unconscious bias, and remembering that audiences are multi-dimensional and can see things through many lenses. “We know that lots of brands and marketers have got diversity and inclusion at the very core of their mission in terms of what they’re trying to do. But there’s been a number of studies [showing] quite a lot of visual stereotypes in in imagery and the visuals that we’ve seen. And it almost certainly is that unconscious bias is paying off. So there are unwittingly selecting content that actually is sort of following that narrative without us really noticing that we’re doing it.

    “But again, it’s something that we often miss out or don’t think about, but we are multi dimensional. So if we can think of it in layers, rather than just think of this as one or two dimensional – you know, women, Gen Z – rather than seeing it in isolation, it’s about thinking about that multi dimensionality.”

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