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Why you need different video tactics for Gen Z

Marketing teams have to constantly evolve strategies to fit with continuously changing expectations from audiences. Instantly available, easy to consume content has caused an era of shrinking attention spans and a rise in very bite-sized content. However, a recent study published by Ipsos shows that Gen Z are bucking this trend, . This age group are more inclined to watch longer-form videos that cover topics that are meaningful to them. We know this generation often have different preferences and expectations from brands to previous generations, and the same goes for how they consume and engage with content online. Video is a great medium to reach Gen Z, as it offers more variety than other forms of media, so it’s important for brands to know what they are viewing and what opportunities this creates.

Gen Z lean into their passions and are inspired by content that teaches them new things. Google have noted a rise in searches for video essays on YouTube since 2019, supporting this idea. In video essays, creators cover a particular topic indepth for around twenty minutes to an hour. Advertisers are picking up on this, also focusing on longer formats to communicate their full idea and story. Eighty percent of ads that won at least a Silver Lion at Cannes 2020-2021 had a run time of 60 seconds plus.

Ipsos found that 61% of Gen Z would describe themselves as a “really big” or “super fan” of something or someone. This shift to ‘fan culture’ again fits with this age group being motivated by what they love, wanting to explore more and connect with those who share those passions. This has led to success of both fan-centric creators and fan channels, covering topics from film and TV to fashion and sport.

Perhaps one of the more unrecognised trends amongst this age group is the appetite for soothing content – 83% of Gen Z have used YouTube to watch soothing content to help them relax (Ipsos) – which generally comes with a longer duration. There’s been a consistent rise in views of transportive and escapism videos to help users feel like they were somewhere else, such as ASMR content, and nostalgia-watching of vlogs from users’ old favourites. For brands that align with comfort and familiarity, there is opportunity to connect to your customers through content that helps them relax and feel safe.

What does this mean for advertisers looking to engage a younger customer? We are not suggesting a full transition into long videos only, but it’s important to consider including a mix of format lengths in your video strategy, and how shorter and snappier creative cuts can be a gateway for consumers to watch and listen to the full longer story. When planning content and creative partners, relevancy is key, but we should not steer away from exploring more specialist areas of interests and demonstrating how your product or service adds value to their lives.