Generation Z is defined as the generation born from 1995 to 2010. They are approximately 25% of the U.S. population. By 2020, they will represent 40% of all consumers.
Generation Z are the true digital natives who grew up connecting on social networks, carrying mobile phones to school, and educating themselves on data from search engines.
They are smart. They are savvy. They are proactive.
They entered the world with their eyes wide open living in the post-9/11 world and through the Great Recession. They benefited from the subsequent recovery of the Great Recession.
In a study done by Vision Critical, while Generation Z uses their smartphones more than any other generations, they are also likely to turn off ads. They are technology savants who are realistic and resourceful.
- 60% of Generation Z wants to change the world.
- Generation Z are entrepreneurs who want to co-create culture.
The intrusion of Ads, Ethics Concerns of Generation Z
According to a research AdBlock Plus commissioned from YouGov, Generation Z believes that advertising will continue to be “invasive” in the future. Only 1/3 believes that websites will create better ways to display advertising. 66% of Generation Z have ad-blockers installed.
Generation Z feels that the internet is becoming less safe.
In a study done by Kantar Media on Social Media Trends for 2018, Generation Z expressed the strongest desire to protect their personal data online. With Facebook’s privacy scandal, Generation Z has traded traditional social media platforms such as Facebook for anonymous ones such as Secret, Whisper or Snapchat where images can disappear.
Raised by Generation X’s super safety conscious (BPA-free, organic food, and cloth diaper) moms, during post 9/11 homeland security America, Generation Z tends to be much more security and safety conscious.
The ethical concerns over traditional ads have always been there. With the explosion of the influencer culture comes ad proliferation. This proliferation of ads into Generation Z’s social media personal space has led Generation Z to take drastic measures. They are turning off ads and ignoring them altogether. They are advocating for an ad-free internet. They are advocating for more control over their online lives.
A Milward Brown study titled AdReaction found that 82% of Generation Z will skip ads as fast as they can if given the option. 69% said that they will physically distract themselves for 30 to 60 seconds until the ad runs its course. 52% will use an ad blocker. 40% will just stare at the ad until it goes away.
This type of ad blocking behavior from Generation Z makes the current online advertising model obsolete. Online Advertising needs to pivot in order to be able to adapt to the concerns of Generation Z.
Online Advertising in the New Era of Generation Z
Online advertising needs to shift to adapt to Generation Z’s concerns. Brands must move to listen to the preferences of their audience. When advertising doesn’t feel like advertising, but instead listens and aligns with consumer’s values, needs, and feelings, then advertising can both be more effective and ethical.
It’s a win-win.
When brands help Generation Z to co-create culture, incentivize content and provide security, then brands are helping Generation Z in their self-actualization process online. This will lead to a safer internet. It will also lead to a genuine connection between Generation Z and the brands who help them.
Blockchain will be the future of online advertising
In a decentralized model, manufacturers and service providers can use the vast data available to create products and services tailored to the needs of Generation Z. Companies no longer create products and services alone. Consumers directly help the companies drive their product creation.
In a decentralized model, blockchain will disrupt online advertising. Advertisers, publishers, and users will come together to cut out the middle man (online advertising providers).
In a decentralized model, blockchain-based technologies can provide security and privacy that is highly transparent. In a triangle model of users, publishers, and advertisers, users' data can be privately monitored on the device. Anonymity shields can be provided to segregate the user’s data. Users can be rewarded with tokens. Both Publishers and Advertisers can receive the token to access data relevant only to a specific interest or target area. Data is stored on the blockchain protected by cryptography.
An Example of blockchain-based technology that will disrupt online advertising and empower Generation Z— The WOM Protocol
Generation Z is the generation of content creators and co-creators of culture. They are purposeful and love to impact the product/services provider cycle.
Word of mouth advertising between peers of Generation Z is powerful and infectious. It spreads through social media outlets such as Snapchat, Secret and Whisper.
Why not provide a blockchain-based protocol that enables Generation Z to co-create with advertisers and publishers? The word-of-mouth advertising on a decentralized blockchain-based advertising platform can be more secure for content creators and more targeted for the advertisers.
WOM is a company that is building this type of blockchain-based Protocol that gives brands, content creators, publishers, and social networks a way to monetize word-of-mouth recommendations on any app or platform. WOM does this without profiting from the content.
WOM creates blockchain tokens to incentivize content creators, publishing platforms and curators to share word-of-mouth recommendations.
Brands use these blockchain tokens to access and track the performance of user-generated content across the platform.
In this model, the blockchain technology provides the security layer. Content creators have control over the content and the sharing. Curators and publishers help to distribute the content. Advertisers or brands can benefit from the spread of their word-of-mouth recommendations.
In this model, Generation Z content creators are co-creating culture while sharing their word-of-mouth recommendation of brands that they love.
It’s a win-win for both brands and their Generation Z consumers.
The future of online advertising is already here
With blockchain startups such as WOM that will create win-win solutions for both brands and Generation Z consumers, the future of online advertising looks bright.
With this blockchain transformation, online advertising has the potential to be safer and more effective.
Brands will finally have the potential to reach the right Generation Z consumers, not by targeting them but by having Generation Z consumers select and recommend the brand.