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Born Digital: connecting with GenZ in a multi-channel world

Published Mar 01, 2019 – By Wardour


We’ve been asked a lot recently by companies about how to reach the GenZ audience. Is it only through social media? Do they care about print anymore?

We were curious. So we set about including questions about this demographic – 18-24 – in our recent Rethink Ink research. Our starting point was what we thought we knew about this audience – the obvious points are below:

  • on average, GenZ use their smartphones 15.4 hours a week – more than any other device
  • they consume less TV content per week – at 13.2 hours, less than boomers and Gen X – and are early adopters of ad-blocking software…
  • …and they have an attention span of 8 seconds
  • they’re also tech innate – connected from birth and fantastic multi-taskers, toggling between at least five screens, including Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, Tumblr and Twitch (with Facebook less relevant)

But our research unearthed some surprising findings about this digital-first audience. They might like digital, but they also like print:

  • Some 75% of GenZ read some form of print content at least monthly
  • 48% of those polled said reading online strains their eyes
  • 48% also enjoyed turning pages rather than swiping and clicking
  • And 57% said they like holding a physical copy

Most surprising of all, there was a warmth towards the kinaesthetic – some 53% of those polled said they like the smell of print.

What’s clear from these findings is that GenZ likes to get its information from everywhere. And that means brands need to work harder to connect and engage with them.

Here are some practical considerations:


In a world of content overload, print content has been proven to provide quality and reassurance. Brands such as Amazon and Facebook have embraced print alongside digital to connect with GenZ consumers. A channel-agnostic approach should be a given.


Traditional written content won’t always work for GenZ. Brands need to embrace technology and a wide range of story-telling vehicles. Visual marketing is the name of the game here and will stand out for an audience with a limited attention span. Animated graphics, live video, visual storytelling… Bring it alive and make it relevant. This can work across digital and social channels, but needs to be tailored.


GenZ wants to give back and values local social impact. Can your brand weave this into different aspects of internal and external communication, providing proof points along the way?

Working Environment

More fluid career paths, holistic job satisfaction, and integrating employee wellbeing with success all appeal to a generation that is entering the workplace under pressure, yet showing fewer signs of materialism. Companies should be thinking about how they interpret this into their employer brand, with their own mission and values.

Global Themes

Promote uplifting and positive global messages to resonate with GenZ, such as how your company or brand can make the world a better place. We’ve already seen corporate reporting start to encourage this with the inclusion of purpose in key communications. Social media campaigns are also picking this up.

If you’d like to find out more about Rethink Ink and the reading habits of GenZ, please get in touch at hello@wardour.co.uk

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