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Marketing to Gen Z via Group Chat: A Guide for Brands

Updated: May 8

Marketing to Gen Z consumers requires brands to reach them outside of traditional social media platforms.


two young women looking at a phone

Social media advertising is alive and well, but traditional social media platforms are becoming less social and more entertaining (and commercial). Many Gen Zers are looking outside of the typical platforms to share stories and exchange information with friends.


Enter the group chat.


For Gen Z, the group chat is more than just a way to stay in touch with friends - it's a key source of information and influence. Group chats significantly shape Gen Z's buying decisions, from sharing memes and viral content to discussing the latest trends and products.

 

They're more apt to recommend a product, share a viral video, or alert a sale to their friends in a private group chat than in their Stories or Feeds.


Faster than email, more visible than being buried in the social media feed, and less spammy than SMS; the group chat has proven successful for a variety of brands from cosmetics to travel, delivering higher open rates, CTR, and engagement than email marketing.


So:

How Can Brands Market to Gen Z via Group Chats?


Here are a few ideas for approaching it gracefully without overstepping boundaries or invading people's privacy.


Leverage existing brand-friendly group chat spaces


Platforms and games like Discord, Roblox, and Fortnite have powerful reach and influence among Gen Z. Don't forget the behemoth, Meta's WhatsApp, with 2 Billion MAUs. And among the newer players is RTRO, a messaging app powered by Chat-GPT and targeted to Gen Z.

 

These communal platforms can be a place to announce new product releases to your superfans, helping to build demand and excitement.


By creating branded chat rooms or partnering with popular influencers, businesses can connect with target audiences more authentically and engagingly.

 

Get interactive and build community


The smartest brands aren't just talking to consumers; they're listening, too.


One-way ads are out, and two-way conversations are in. Branded communities are a modern way to keep your followers, customers, and subscribers actively engaged.


For example, Selena Gomez's cosmetics brand Rare Beauty has a digital community called Comfort Club, in which consumers share self-care tips and mutual support. Wendy's has a Discord server hosted by a funny chatbot; and Canva has a popular Facebook group where designers share best practices and the company can announce updates.


Everybody wants to feel belonging to something, so position your brand as not just a product to buy, but a community to be part of.


Provide a benefit


Bring something enticing to the table: offer customers the option to pre-order upcoming product launches through the group chat or access exclusive merch or content. The real-time nature of chat makes it the ideal place to share these types of incentives.


Combining a sense of community with desirable, tangible incentives can foster long-term brand loyalty.

 

We're seeing shifts today in user behavior on social apps - they are more intentional about sharing with 'close friends' and preferred contacts. And with this change, our media planning and buying experts predict group chat will play an increasingly important role in the months to come.

 

This piece originally appeared in our weekly Paid Media Insights newsletter. For more tips, research, and analysis; subscribe for free here.

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