Businesses, listen up.
The results are in: Gen Zs overwhelmingly prefer you to use branded content over traditional advertising.
Three out of four Gen Zs (74%), to be precise.
But what makes branded content different, you ask?
Well, while traditional ads sell directly sell to you, branded content is centered around being helpful or entertaining – with no pitch to sell anything.
Branded content can be used in social media, podcasts, articles, educational courses, YouTube videos, stunts (remember Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Supersonic Freefall stunt?), and even in films (think The Lego Movie).
Here’s how you can get it right.
- Make sure the content is totally on-brand with the influencer or business
“The people I typically follow are like-minded or live a lifestyle I desire, so seeing the people I relate to on an Instagram post or YouTube video promoting or endorsing a product or brand allows me to relate to that product or brand,” a 19-year-old from Western Australia told us.
“(But while) this works well with me when I see content by people I like, it can have the opposite effect if it is promoted by someone who I don’t relate to.”
2. Be careful that it doesn’t feel too staged (and don’t go overboard)
“Branded content is good, however it can be annoying and unattractive if it feels too forced,” an 18-year-old male from Queensland said.
“A good example of branded content would be @Santea and @Jaycoset on TikTok. They do it so well that you don’t even mind if it’s a paid partnership.”
(Branded content produced by@Santea on TikTok)
3. Provide real value and expertise
Earlier this year Contently surveyed thousands of consumers in the United States about what they wanted from branded content.
“Consumers crave educational courses,” the research found, with 58% of consumers telling Contently they’d take a free course created by a brand.
“There’s no easier way to earn people’s trust than teaching them a new skill that makes their lives better”.
At Year13 we offer branded content in our online learning ‘Academy’, where businesses partner with us to create short-form online learning courses into life skills and assist with the key phases of growing up – like moving out of home and getting a job.
FinLit is one financial literacy course we offer in partnership with Westpac where Gen Zs can learn all the stuff about money they didn’t learn in school.
Gen Zs love the course, and it’s an innovative way for Westpac to connect with the youth market outside of traditional advertising which really cuts through more than most ads could.
4. And finally, up your meme game!
Gen Zs with their short attention spans (8 whole seconds, to be exact) love simple, visual content: Think infographics, stills, short videos and (you guessed it) memes.
In case you didn’t already know, memes are images paired with text that cracks a joke communicate an expression or act relatable to your audience (ContentStudio give a great step-by-step how to make a meme).
Check out this ripper by Chipotle, a US-based fast food chain well and truly winning over Gen Zs with their meme game.