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Generation V: the visual generation

Published Mar 28, 2023 – By Kasey Cwalina


In the past few decades, the discourse surrounding B2C marketing strategy has largely been dominated by two generations: Millennials and Gen Z. This conversation almost always revolves around what makes these generations different – from older generations (usually Gen X, or as Millennials and Gen Z call them, Boomers) but also from each other (many of which are nearly imperceptible to the untrained eye – see: Millennial pause ).

For marketers to focus solely on what sets these generations apart, however, is to potentially neglect a much larger target audience: Generation V, also known as the visual generation. 

Unlike the generations defined by the year they were born (Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z), Gen V is a consumer category that brings together a unique cross section of Gen Xers, Millennials and older members of Gen Z that share a common trait: the preference for visual content.

The ‘generation’ obsessed with visual content

Gen V is highly motivated by visually appealing content. This means that rather than a blog post or text content, they're more likely to engage with content such as video, image, graphics, motion graphics and infographics, and according to Inc:

  • Spend an average of 2.7 hours a day navigating between the apps on their smartphones
  • Account for 89% of all TikTok users
  • 91% demand visual content as the primary, secondary and tertiary forms of information delivery
  • 86% prefer to learn through visual content rather than text-based content
  • And for the real kicker, will only read on average 20% of the text brands present to them (so if you’ve made it this far, kudos to you)

Video content in particular has become increasingly valued. We're now seeing award categories recognising exceptional visual properties used in visual marketing (see our Renewi case study which has won an award for exactly this).

While these statistics confirm that the visual generation is becoming increasingly influential in the world of digital marketing, many brands continue to bypass Gen V as a target audience, in pursuit of Gen Z. Why? While we can’t speak for every brand, it is likely that many are trying to avoid the fate of those that came before – specifically, the brands that were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to adapt to the needs of Millennials and, as a result, faced an untimely demise.

So, the brands focusing on Gen Z are doing so for a reason, but they could be missing the big picture: the visual generation is not confined to Gen Z.

While Gen Z may feel more at ease with visual content marketing, Millennials and Gen Xers have adapted to keep up with these uses of visuals and, in doing so, have developed a preference for visual storytelling – just like their younger counterparts. So when creating content targeted at Gen V, you need to be aware that you're creating content across demographics. When it comes to creating audience personas, Gen V makes things complicated by encompassing a wider cross-section of demographics.

So, how do you engage Gen V?

Using visual content marketing to reach Gen V

As Gen V is driven by the desire to communicate through visuals - whether photos, videos or graphics - marketing to this target audience is all about visual content creation. However, the type of content is just one piece of the puzzle. The quality of the content will be the real determinant of whether you successfully reach Gen V.

As members of the visual generation are both content consumers and creators – and are responsible for over 70% of the user-generated content online today – they know what it takes to create engaging content. As first-hand responders to influencer marketing, video marketing and social media marketing, they expect brands to produce content that is better than what they could create on their own. This means that quality, rather than quantity, reigns supreme.

Targeting the shared interests of Generations X, Y and Z

It’s important to note that we are not suggesting that brands ignore Gen Z in their marketing strategy – after all, this is a demographic that currently accounts for 40% of all global consumer spending. Instead, we’re suggesting that brands simply keep Generation V - and the fact that they're visual learners - in mind.

By creating high-quality visual content with messaging applicable to all three generations, brands can achieve their goal of engaging Gen Z while simultaneously increasing their engagement with Millennials and Gen X, too, not to mention raising brand awareness across multiple audiences. For starters, this could be as simple as ensuring there is a visual element for every piece of written content you put out there.

And as an added bonus, brands that cater to the shared interests of all three demographics see their revenues grow on average 49% faster than those that don’t. That's a valuable statistic for any marketers looking to improve results from their content marketing.

So, what are you waiting for?

To learn more about how Wardour can help with the visuals for your next campaign, pop us an email at hello@wardour.co.uk – we’d love to have a chat with you.

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