Video Essentials

Get to Know Generation Z: They Like Humor and Hate Auto-Play


Generation Z is coming of age, so it’s time for advertisers to get to know these young consumers. Global research agency Kantar Millward Brown today published a multi-country report called “AdReaction: Engaging X, Y, and Z” that uses thousands of surveys to illustrate the difference between the three generations. Gen X is currently 35 to 49, Gen Y (Millennials) is 20 to 34, and the members of Gen Z surveyed were 16 to 19. For this story, we looked at the report’s U.S. data.

While all three groups prefer advertisements that are funny, humorous ads have a stronger appeal for Gen Z. Three-fourths of Gen Z are receptive to ads that make them laugh. They also show a stronger preference for ads that feature good music and tell an interesting story.

What does Gen Z hate? Ads that auto-play. Younger people demand more control over the ad experience. They show much less tolerance for in-banner auto-play, pre-rolls, social auto-play, and mobile ad pop-ups than the two older generations.

Bad news for video marketers: Gen Z has a low acceptance for online video ads. They find video ads, whether on desktop or mobile, much less tolerable than the older generations do. Out of several ad types, they scored online video ads the lowest. If you want to reach them with video, consider advertising in a movie theater. They’re mostly okay with cinema ads.

If confronted with a video ad they can’t skip, Gen Z will often look away. Young people adopt physical avoidance strategies much more than the older generations do. They’re also more likely to skip an ad when they can. It’s better to simply give them some control over the ad: 86 percent are more positive toward ads they have the option of skipping.

The study’s U.S. data comes from a survey of 1,000 online respondents evenly split between the three generations. Download the full report for free (registration required).




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