3 Marketing Campaign Experiments That Hooked Gen Z Audiences


January 5, 2024

As a new generation of Gen Z consumers comes of age over the next few years, the need for innovative digital marketing becomes more and more apparent to digital experts around the world.Creative and groundbreaking marketing executions aren’t easy to come by, even more so among Zoomer audiences. Great care is needed to execute the right experimentation steps for such campaigns that resonate deeply with this highly influential target market.

But with the right tactics and approaches, you can engage the Gen Z demographic authentically and drive great campaign returns over the next few years – right alongside the growth of this crucial consumer population.

Looking for tips to capture the attention of Zoomers today? Then take a look at this guide by Propelrr to get inspiration for successful experimental approaches in Gen Z marketing right now.

Understanding Gen Z audiences

Before you even think of promoting anything to this younger set of consumers, you need to know what this generation’s characteristics and traits are first. What defines Gen Z today? Here are some top descriptors for business leaders:

  • The first true digital natives. As the first generation to grow up with the internet as a part of their daily lives, this population is incredibly well-versed in the ins and outs of digital engagement.
  • Diverse and inclusive mindsets. Because of their easy access to unlimited information via the internet, these individuals are also more likely to adopt more diverse and inclusive global mindsets.
  • Social and environmental consciousness. Gen Z is defined by an anxious awareness of crises like climate change, COVID-19, and other socio-political issues. Because they care about these things, they want the businesses they engage with to care about them too.

Given the aforementioned traits, it’s no wonder that this generation of consumers is defined by the following buying habits and social media behaviors:

  • Authenticity above all. Because Zoomer users can easily fact-check a brand’s claims online, they prefer transparency among businesses and are more likely to trust you based on your authenticity.
  • Visuals-centric communication. As digital natives, they also prefer visual marketing techniques on social media that can quickly tell a story, over vague, inconvenient, and word-heavy modes of communication.
  • Short attention span, quick engagement. The speed at which these users process information lends to shorter attention spans but faster engagement with posts, ads, and brands online.
  • Mobile-first users. Gen Z users in Asia spend anywhere between six to eight hours online, with 70% of this usage happening on their phones – hence the importance of a mobile-first approach with these consumers.
  • Desire for participation and co-creation. As internet-savvy and socially conscious consumers, these users often enjoy participating and co-creating with their preferred brands, especially on social media where engagement is a lot easier.

Keeping in mind these social media and consumer habits, it’s time for you to learn about the importance of marketing experiments in your digital executions, especially when it comes to promoting Gen Z audiences.

Why growth marketing experiments matter in Gen Z campaigns

In general, strategies have evolved drastically over the last few generations of consumers. The rise and adoption of the internet over the past decades has transformed how marketers promote brands and has also led to major changes in the development of such strategies – namely, via the implementation of automated experiments like A/B and multivariate testing.

Given the drastic evolution of marketing over the years, and the clear need for brands to revolutionize promotional strategies, innovation is therefore a crucial component of Zoomer marketing. Creativity is necessary for Gen Z. If you have any intention to drive digital wins among this population, then you need to be ready to adopt new and experimental practices to constantly optimize your strategies today.

The business benefits of a good marketing experiment

Beyond understanding the importance of innovation and experimentation in Gen Z campaigns, it’s also important to understand the benefits of implementing such marketing experimentation in your business. The top benefits of implementing this experimental mindset in your content strategy and creation include:

  • Comprehensive consumer insights. By conducting tests constantly and consistently, you gather more data that’ll ultimately lead to you understanding consumers better. With these carefully gathered marketing experiment insights, you can optimize promotional campaigns more effectively, thus leading to better campaign iterations in the future.
  • Better audience engagement. In addition to understanding your audiences, more marketing experiments mean more opportunities to identify the best audience engagement practices for all your upcoming campaigns.
  • Improved resource allocation. By knowing what techniques work best to garner Gen Z attention, you can better control your allocation of resources to boost performance across experiments like your A/B tests and other comparisons.

Not fully convinced by these benefits of experimenting with content just yet? Then keep on reading to discover the three most excellent examples of these experiments that surprised and delighted discerning Zoomer audiences today.

Marketing experiment examples that surprised and Delighted Gen Z

Want proof of campaign success for this up-and-coming population of consumers? Here are three great examples of unique, delightful, and experimental campaigns that were hits among Zoomer audiences:

  1. “Come As You Are” by Crocs

    Launched in 2017 and continued through 2022, Crocs’ “Come As You Are” campaign celebrated the uniqueness of individuals and encouraged everyone to be comfortable in their shoes – both figuratively and literally.

    Not only did the campaign promote these mantras, but it also began the brand’s era of celebrity, influencer, and designer collaborations to build relevance and reach new Gen Z consumers. For example, Crocs collaborated with popular musicians like Justin Bieber, SZA, and Jacob Collier to create unique lines of their classic clog – resulting in multiple sold-out celebrity collaborations.

    In recent years, Crocs also worked to create every type of user-generated content (UGC) including photos, videos, edited content, and other high-production materials like 360° videos. By empowering fans to create content, the brand built a social media presence defined by authentic, creative, and global storytelling. They also repurposed the best-performing Crocs UGC to fuel their social media channels.

    @birtekooo Anzeige – Treat yourself and buy your @Crocs Mega Crush Clogs now 💘 Express yourself with the Jibbitz ✨ #MyCrocsMyMegaCrush #ComeAsYouAre ♬ In Love With You – BLVKSHP

    To date, Crocs has collaborated with over 600 creators, launched more than 60 global partnerships, and generated over 800 pieces of original content by Gen Z audiences across more than 50 social media campaigns.

  2. “Love Language” by Duolingo and Peacock

    Over the years, Duolingo has remained a hit among Gen Z, and for good reason. The brand’s messaging across popular social platforms like TikTok is hilariously unhinged, indicative of the chronically online nature of their target audience members.

    But this language learning app recently leveled up its efforts in trolling fans by partnering with Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service. The two brands dropped a trailer for “Love Language,” a “new series” that followed ten flirty singles sharing a home in hopes of finding true love, a la “Love Island.” The catch? None of them could speak the same language, and if they failed to do language lessons or find a romantic match, they’d be mercilessly eliminated by their infamous host, Duo the Owl.

    This prank trailer by Duolingo and Peacock naturally went viral, to the delight of both companies’ fans. In leveling up their brand messaging and continuing to make audiences laugh, both groups were able to promote their subscription packages to customers, even including a one-month free access pass to Duolingo’s Super service.

  3. “A.I. Ketchup” by Heinz

    As a 153-year-old brand, Heinz Ketchup found it challenging to stay top-of-mind and relevant among newer, younger consumer generations. To connect with fans who see Heinz as old and nostalgic, they experimented with artificial intelligence (AI) to surprise and delight their online customers.

    The initial challenge involved seeing if unbiased AI tools could recognize Heinz as the most iconic brand for ketchup. They turned to DALL·E 2, the most advanced AI image generator at the time, and plugged in user-generated ketchup prompts like “Ketchup Tarot Card,” “Ketchup Impressionism,” and “Ketchup Dog,” suggested by fans on socials.

    This resulted in AI-produced images that were somehow still distinctly Heinz. By turning these images into the first-ever campaign co-authored by consumers with AI-generated visuals, Heinz got over 1.15 billion earned impressions globally, exceeded KPIs for earned stories by over 250%, and saw an engagement rate 38% higher than past campaigns.

    In leveraging such an innovative approach like AI and combining it with UGC, Heinz was able to wow Zoomer audiences on their socials, thus reminding them of the brand’s continued relevance to this day.

Gen Z authenticity to promote ROI

Authenticity is crucial when it comes to promoting your business to this generation of digital natives. To practice what this guide preaches, here are some tips on considerations to make when promoting your brand to these younger consumers:

  • Enact a strong story and purpose. With a strong and purposeful brand message, you can cut through the noise of the online landscape and effectively reach the audiences you intend to capture too.
  • Don’t pay lip service. Members of this generation can easily tell if you aren’t backing up diversity or sustainability claims with real change. So don’t just pay lip service, or else your brand will be effectively canceled by these online users.
  • Practice proper testing principles. For ethically sound and effective experimentation, make sure to practice testing design principles that are backed by experts in digital innovation.

By practicing authenticity with your digital executions, you’ll attract and entice more Zoomer audiences in the long run. Given the rise of this particular consumer population, authenticity will work to increase your return on investment (ROI) and drive better results for your brand shortly.

Looking ahead: Gen Z and experimental research in marketing

The online landscape of Gen Z engagement will continue to evolve and change, demanding more personalized, interactive, and purpose-driven promotion approaches over the next few years.

As a digital marketer, it will be your responsibility to agilely respond to these needs by prioritizing authenticity and leveraging technology, while also embracing inclusivity and sustainability to create these immersive and effective brand experiences.

But what makes this marketing experimentation challenge truly exciting is that, at the end of it all, the future of Zoomer engagement will lie in forging meaningful human connections. By addressing this trend and empowering this generation as co-creators of content and brand narratives, you’ll get to drive incredible business results and create authentic connections with audiences that’ll last a lifetime today.

Key takeaways

Keep your online audiences hooked with the right experimentation tips and executions this year. Remember to take these reminders with you as you start to target Gen Z for your brand’s benefit:

  • Practice authenticity. Since Zoomer consumers put great value on this trait, make sure to practice authenticity in your promotions to reach this generation directly.
  • Encourage co-creation. As digital natives, Gen Z audiences are great at creating online content. By encouraging co-creation, you can simultaneously garner greater engagement and collect user-generated content to benefit your brand.
  • Experiment with different ideas. Don’t be afraid to test out new formats and experiment with new ideas. Just make sure to run tests with expert guidance to ensure excellent ROI today.

If you have any other questions, send us a message via our Facebook, X, and LinkedIn accounts. Let’s chat!

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