Is Generation Z immune to paid advertising and SEO?

Apr 9, 2021 by
 Is Generation Z immune to paid advertising and SEO?

Right now, marketers are being faced with something they haven’t had to contend with before – a generation of potential customers who were weaned on technology.

Generation Z (anyone born between 1997 and 2012) were practically born with smartphones in their hands.

But does that mean they are too tech-savvy for us humble digital marketers?

Who is Gen Z?

When you hear the term Gen Z, the first thing that probably comes to the mind of many is Love Island contestants and TikTok influencers.

But to boil an entire generation down to something so trivial is not only insulting but entirely missing the point.

It’s a growing market of incredibly smart young people who won’t be fooled by many of the tactics marketers have been relying on for decades.

Right now, it’s estimated that Gen Z individuals make up around 28.7% of the population, more than both Baby Boomers and Millennials. They also make up 40% of the consumer market.

With many of them now well into their twenties and holding an annual spending power of hundreds of billions, how are we supposed to target them effectively – when they can see through all our tricks and should we be adapting our ad spending accordingly?

Changing gears

The average 6-year-old can now outperform the average 40-year-old in terms of technological proficiency.

With this generation getting further and further entrenched in digital in terms of the job market and their social lives, SEO is going to have to adapt or die. The strategies below are a great place to start.

Get to the point

69% of Gen Z consumers actively avoid advertisements and those that do watch them prefer their ads to be less than 10-seconds long. This is perhaps the adverse effect of YouTube’s 5-second skip ad feature.

What it means, however, is that marketers have much less time to make an impression. So, get to the point, be humorous and engaging, and grab attention immediately.

Work around ad blockers

The vast majority of Gen Z consumers will be equipped with ad blockers. This means in order to reach them you’ll need to work with ad blockers to find new ways of optimising content.

It might result in the eventual decline of traditional online advertising, but the history of marketing is rife with stories of new concepts and ideas rising from the ashes of old ones.

Be bold, be agile and do as much as you can to ensure the advertising you’re paying for is not being blocked.

Sell experiences

The hard sell is not something that’s ever going to work on Gen Z. They’ve grown up online and know a targeted ad when they see one.

When it comes to content, meanwhile, they are savvy enough to know what is genuine and what isn’t. But they are not that savvy.

Indeed, sell them an experience other than a product and they will be eager to lap it up. Instagram is ideal for this purpose, as is video content that sells them the brand as something more than a commercial enterprise.

Don’t rely too heavily on influencers

It was predicted in 2018 that brands would be spending in excess of $1.8 billion on influencer marketing.

However, this takes into account major celebrities like the Jenners siblings and Ariana Grande, who charge multiple millions for endorsements.

For your average SME, you will get more bang for your buck focusing on micro-influencers instead.

But don’t rely too heavily on them, as while engagement rates with micro-influencers are high, conversion rates are not.


Marketing can no longer be a passive thing in the age of social media. Every facet of your Gen Z marketing needs to engage with your audience.

So, respond to all messages, personalise your engagements, and encourage a community to build around your brand. The rest should fall into place naturally.