Marketing to young adults (ages 18-23) can be challenging, but failing to rise to the challenge may come at a cost. According to Bloomberg, those at the older end of this age range now have a disposable income of £300 billion, and increasingly they are driving the market. With 2023 set to be a year of significant macro-economic headwinds, it’ll be important for businesses to keep an eye on this up-and-coming demographic. Here are five trends to pay attention to in 2023.
1) Content creators are the new influencers
Influencers and digital creators have a lot in common. Both use social media and online platforms to create and share content with the goal of building an audience and promoting products. However, there are some key differences. Influencers typically share their lives while promoting products along the way, while digital creators produce vlogs, tutorials, how-to videos and other high value content.
According to market research by VoxBurner, Gen Z (ages 10 to 25) are extremely receptive to creators (especially video-first content) and are more likely to take off-platform action inspired by their content. Why? They are most receptive to ads that they believe are authentic, and Creators are seen as a more reliable source of information.
TikTok creator @moneywithmatt is a good example of a digital creator. To his following of nearly half a million people, Matt shares simple financial tips to help them save money, providing demonstrable value to those who follow him. Audiences learn to trust him over time and are in turn more likely to purchase a product that he promotes – more than likely, it will suit their needs. VoxBurner says the key takeaway for businesses is to master the art of storytelling and produce video-first content that is authentic and useful for its audience.
2) Social media trends are here to stay
Social media trends – such as viral challenges, hashtags, memes or news – are difficult to predict and quick to disappear. Unsurprisingly, brands are cautious of trends because they don’t have confidence in their longevity, they don’t understand how they can get involved and recognise the high risk of getting it wrong.
For those looking to get ahead of the game, TikTok’s’ 2023 What’s Next Trend Report says there are three macro trend forces for 2023: Actionable Entertainment, Making Space For Joy, and Community-Built Ideals. You can read more about these by following the link above.
Let us give you a quick example of a business that got it right: Channel 4.0 from Channel 4 launched this year, the new YouTube channel puts content from young digital creators with a large audience on its well-established platform. Free content and a huge success. Indeed, half the battle is recognising a trend and getting involved.
3) Values, Actions and Missions
According to social media management company Hootsuite, Gen Z are particularly interested in brands they feel align their values, adding that Gen Z are particularly conscious of social injustice, climate change and politics. In 2023, Hootsuite suggests that businesses should assess where they stand on these issues and incorporate this into campaigns. But be warned, Hootsuite also warns against performative activism and allyship in your youth marketing.
MTV got activism marketing right in May 2022 when it announced its commitment to tackling mental health for young people through their Mental Health Youth Action Forum US, in collaboration with the Biden-Harris administration. You can read more about the forum here. They even saw big players such as Spotify and Snapchat attend an event with 18 mental health nonprofit organisations where they could safely discuss what they can do for young people.
Make sure to check out Hootsuite’s youth marketing guide here: Marketing to Gen Z: How to Get It Right in 2023.
4) Y2K nostalgia vs The Metaverse
It’s easy to forget that Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world, and that makes them the first true digital natives, and yet they are a wistful bunch. In 2022, Y2K-inspired hashtags saw three million posts on Instagram. In addition, there was a significant resurgence of fashions like low-rise jeans and Ugg boots.
So, in 2022, online publication Exploding Topic advises striking a balance between past and present in order to effectively reach a Gen Z audiences. You can also get a sense of what that might look like by viewing the ESPN’s That’s So Raven TikTok. And for more from Exploding Topic, check out its deep-dive in Gen Z trends for 2023.
5) Build a community and the rest will fall into place
An oft-quoted stat is that advertisers have a maximum of six seconds to grab an audience’s attention. And yet, condensing your message to such a short medium is deceptively difficult, so why not try another approach altogether?
According to research from Eden Project Communities, Gen Z are now loneliest generation with 19% regularly experiencing feelings of loneliness. This is in large part due to the effects of the pandemic. A good way to support and target this group is to hold in-person events that can both help Gen Z feel more connected and also build brand loyalty in the process.
There are many ways to target your youth marketing by building a community, from exclusive mailing lists, gong live on social channels or even hosting IRL events. For more, check out PR Daily’s Top Gen Z trends in 2023.
If you’d like to know more about effectively targeting youth markets, make sure to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re well-versed in Gen Z, whether that’s TikTok, Instagram, The Metaverse or a word you’re yet to understand.