Unlocking Gen Z Audience Engagement: Strategies for Success

In today’s rapidly evolving media landscape, winning over the younger generations, particularly Gen Z and millennials, has become a top priority for publishers and news organizations. In a recent webinar, we delved into the strategies for unlocking the Gen Z code and successfully engaging with the next generation. Here’s a summary of the key takeaways from the webinar, shedding light on the challenges, preferences, and potential tactics for engaging with this dynamic audience.


Challenges of Engaging with Gen Z and Millennials


The media industry has undergone significant changes in the last decade, driven by the rise of social media. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter were once dominant, TikTok and YouTube have increasingly won over younger audiences over the years. 

With 60% of Gen Z and millennials relying on social media for news consumption, this puts the news industry in a delicate position, where one of the obvious outcomes is to extend their reach to the social media platforms where these generations are active.


Gen Z news consumption preferences
Source: INMA

Key Points for Publishers and News Organizations


The main points for publishers and news organisations to successfully adapt to young readers’ reading habits are:

  • Create Great News Content: Regardless of the generation, the foundation remains the same—delivering high-quality news content is paramount. However, it’s essential to adapt the tone and style to cater to younger audiences.
  • Simplified Language: Gen Z and millennials prefer news in simplified language. Today, it’s about communicating directly with readers and listeners in a way that resonates with them.
  • Platform and Format Alignment: Use formats and platforms that Gen Z and millennials expect. Understanding their preferred channels and formats is key to successfully engaging these audiences.
  • Personalization as a Loyalty Strategy: Personalization has been a buzzword in the media industry for years, but it’s even more critical when engaging with Gen Z and millennials. Tailoring content to their specific interests and preferences can help build long-lasting loyalty.
  • Short Format Content for Short Attention Spans: With an attention span of just 8.3 seconds, Gen Z and millennials crave shorter formats. 
  • How does audio compare to text? While short formats are preferred, audio content, including podcasts, is gaining traction among younger audiences. 


Innovative Examples from Media Companies


Numerous media companies have already successfully adapted to the preferences of Gen Z and millennials. For instance, Norwegian news giant VG.no has experimented with a TikTok-style version of their content, showing a willingness to adapt to emerging platforms and formats. Similarly, the Spanish site Relevo explored short video formats in the sports niche, offering readers a way to digest news in their preferred format. 


The Right Strategy For the Right Age Group

In conclusion, successfully engaging with Gen Z and millennials in the ever-changing media landscape requires a deep understanding of their preferences and behaviors.


As an example, younger generations may not be inclined to subscribe to news services early in their careers. Aside from the interest itself, first salaries are usually spent on other things rather than on a newspaper subscriptions. As a result, a first step for newspapers could be to have a strategy in place that focuses on building brand awareness.

Rather than emphasizing immediate conversions, media companies can aim to establish a strong brand presence in the minds of Gen Z and millennials, and focus on conversion when this audience has become more mature and more ready to convert, i.e. at the end of their 20s / early 30s.

By focusing on delivering high-quality, personalized, and simplified content, and by embracing emerging trends like audio content, media companies will score high on brand recognition and build lasting engagement with the next generation of news consumers.


Watch the full webinar here!