When you’re marketing to a Generation Z audience, you probably avoid long form content in favour of short form video content as the only sensible option. After all, Gen Z-ers have super short attention spans, right?
There’s plenty of research to show that this may well be true of zoomers, driven by the vast amount of content available, busy lifestyles and peer pressure to be up-to-date with a wealth of on-trend subjects. As a result, it’s generally become accepted that short form video content will be the most effective marketing tool for the Gen Z cohort.
However, all is not as it seems…
How long form content marketing is digested daily
The expansion of global premium content providers has allowed for massive investment in the production of well made, engaging and compelling film and TV series. This, in turn, has brought life to a new type of fan culture, where viewers want to do more than just enjoy episodes of a series. They now want to explore the worlds in which these series are set, delve deeper, and understand more about the lives of the characters.
Captivating role-play video games have also spurned a phenomenon of extended walkthrough videos which Gen Z-ers are keen to consume – not only to improve their own accomplishments within them, but also as viewing content in their own right.
The lives of musicians, sports stars, actors and many other celebrities can also now be explored in great detail, allowing fans to feel closer to their favourites than ever before. And all of this “super fan” culture is clearly illustrated by the constant creation of social media-based fan channels, which connect fans not only with content, but also with each other – generating huge networks of like-minded individuals.
Authenticity is key for Gen Z
Having grown up with high speed internet, smart phones and video content, Gen Z-ers are pretty sharp when it comes to identifying authentic content and filtering out ‘worthless marketing’. For the majority of your Generation Z marketing audience, video is the main way in which they consume information. But this doesn’t mean that their only interests are in fiction and celebrity. Far from it in fact. While marketers may be keen to ’dumb-down’ this segment, they have a keen interest in politics, the economy, the environment and social justice – they simply choose to consume information in new and, in their eyes, more efficient ways.
So it may not be that Gen X-ers have a shorter attention span, but more a case of such vast competition for their attention that you have to be the one to hold their focus better than anyone else. You have around eight seconds maximum to grab the attention of a viewer before they move on, so your content will need to be immediately impactful and engaging – and as long form content, it also needs to maintain that momentum throughout, with stimulating, captivating content that focuses on the issues that matter to the viewer, without feeling fake.
Authentic long form content allows you to disseminate more information, leave a lasting impression and build relationships – all of which, if done right, can ensure that your brand will be seen as dependable and credible. Content from trusted brands will be shared more often across larger networks, and remember, over 30% of the world’s population is Generation Z.
So, how can short form and long form content work together?
While it’s pretty clear that Zoomers have plenty of room for long form content, with marketing budgets in mind, short form video is, by nature, more economical to produce.
Therefore, a blended approach is often better. Creating a number of short form videos as a first step will allow you to get your content in front of a range of different audiences, across various different channels – for example, social media reels. This enables you to introduce topics in an exciting (and cost-effective) way, which will then encourage consumers to explore subjects in more detail… which is where long form content takes over.
Essentially, if you’re marketing for a Gen Z audience, short form content is the bait and long form content is the net, helping you to capture and build those all-important lasting customer relationships.