How To Reach GenZ With CTV Ads

Marketing to a tech-savvy generation like Gen Z should never be limited to the traditional boring ways; they are more active in the virtual world than the real world. 

So, they might not see the same old banner on the road, but they will definitely see viral posts on social media.

They binge-watch shows on Netflix & Amazon Prime & are more likely to engage with your CTV ads.

So, if you advertise your products via CTV ads in the right way, you are most likely to get the desired results.

However, their attention span is very limited. So, you need to ensure that you have captured their attention in the initial few seconds of the ad, or you will lose them. 

So, how do you ensure that you are reaching the Gen Zers right when they need you?

Let’s find out! 

The Timing Matters

Gen Zers are more diversified by their age group & that’s why targeting them also requires internal segregation within the group. 

For instance, working professionals mostly consume content during the late evening/night or their lunch breaks, while teenagers can consume it anytime after morning hours, depending on their schedule.

So, it is important to consider the specific age group of your target audience within Gen Zers & their active hours while running an ad campaign.  

Short Attention Span

Gen Z, with their relatively shorter attention span, requires content that is immediately engaging and relevant. If the initial few seconds of a video or the above-the-fold content on a landing page does not capture their interest, they will quickly move on. 

Therefore, it is crucial to capture their attention within the first few seconds of a video ad & on the above-the-fold content of the landing page with a strong hook.

Ensure that all content loads quickly on your landing page to prevent drop-offs by using compressed images and videos to reduce load times & implementing efficient coding practices to speed up page loading.

Provide a clear and compelling CTA that encourages immediate engagement. Place CTAs prominently within the ad. Use direct and action-oriented language, such as “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Get Started.”

Understand Gen Z’s Viewing Habits

US GenZ Top Digital Media Consumption

GenZ’s content consumption is different from that of previous generations. They prefer streaming media & short-form videos over TV shows. 

In terms of platforms, they prefer TikTok, followed by YouTube & Netflix. So, run campaigns on these platforms & make sure to follow the preferred formats according to the platform you’re advertising on. 

YouTube & Netflix can be watched over multiple devices. However, TikTok is generally watched on mobile devices. So, make your CTV ads responsive & track their omnichannel journey effectively. 

But dynamics are always changing. So, you need to analyze the results of your CTV ads thoroughly & determine what is working & accordingly make changes to your strategies.

Personalization and Relevance

No one likes the frequent bombardment of ads, not even GenZ. However, Gen Zers are a little comfortable with the concept of ads as long as the ads are relevant & limited to a reasonable number. 

Use data to target your CTV ads based on viewing habits, interests, and demographics to ensure relevant & personalized ads.

Implement dynamic ad insertion to tailor your CTV ads to individual viewers in real-time & track analytics to observe their behavior towards your ads.

CTV Ads’ Content and Messaging

Gen Z values authenticity. Ads that feel genuine and transparent are more likely to resonate with them as they can easily figure out the difference. 

Address their pain points with genuine solutions. Make your content up to the point; don’t under-deliver; only make promises that you can keep.

Highlight your brand’s commitment to social issues, sustainability, and ethical practices; it will make them feel connected with your brand, as GenZ appreciates such initiatives. 

Encourage and feature UGC (user-generated content), such as testimonials, to showcase user experience with your brand & emphasize authenticity.

The Nostalgia Factor

The Gen Zers born between the late 90s & early 2000s are more prone to nostalgia than their counterparts.

This can be leveraged in your CTV ad campaigns to create a deeper connection with this audience. 

Here’s how to effectively incorporate nostalgia in your campaigns targeting Gen Z:

  • Understand the Nostalgia Appeal: Nostalgia for Gen Z often revolves around early 2000s pop culture, technology, and childhood experiences. Understand the nostalgic emotions of your particular audience, which can be aligned with your product.
  • Incorporate Nostalgic References in Ads: Integrate relevant elements from the late ’90s and early 2000s into your ad creatives to evoke nostalgic feelings.
  • Visuals and Aesthetics: Use design elements, fonts, and color schemes reminiscent of that era.
  • Music and Soundtracks: Incorporate popular songs or sound effects from the early 2000s in your CTV ads.
  • Iconic References: Include references to popular shows, movies, and games that Gen Z grew up with.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage users to share their nostalgic memories and experiences related to your brand.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Collaborate with industry influencers who can create content that resonates with Gen Z’s nostalgic sentiments.
  • Celebrity Endorsements: Feature celebrities from the late ’90s and early 2000s in your campaigns to evoke nostalgia.
  • Ad Campaigns: Develop ad narratives that reflect common experiences of Gen Z’s childhood, such as school memories, family holidays, and first tech gadgets.
  • Quizzes and Polls: Create quizzes and polls about early 2000s culture to engage your audience and encourage them to share their results.
  • Trend Integration: Incorporate current popular themes and technology into nostalgic campaigns to create a contemporary yet nostalgic feel.

GenZ Loves Challenges

GenZ loves trending challenges & their enthusiasm is evident in their active participation in various social media challenges, gaming challenges, fitness challenges, etc.

They actively participate in various social media challenges, such as TikTok dance challenges or viral hashtag campaigns. These challenges often provide a sense of community and shared experience, as well as a platform for creativity and self-expression.

Challenges in video games, such as achieving high scores, completing difficult levels, or competing in eSports, are particularly appealing to Gen Z. The competitive nature of gaming, coupled with the social aspect of multiplayer games, feeds their desire for both achievement and connection.

Targeting Gen Z with ads that leverage their love for challenges can be highly effective. By aligning your advertising strategies with the interests and values of Gen Z and presenting challenges that are fun, rewarding, and meaningful, you can create a strong connection with this dynamic generation.

Let’s have a look at some strategies to create compelling CTV ads that resonate with Gen Z by incorporating interesting and relevant challenges:

Gamified Experiences: Incorporate gamification into your advertising strategy. This could involve creating mini-games, quizzes, or interactive stories that users can engage with. Offer rewards or incentives for high scores or successful completion of the challenge.

User-Generated Content Contests: Host contests that motivate users to share content related to your brand. For instance, a beauty brand could ask users to submit their best makeup looks, with winners featured on the brand’s social media pages or website.

Collaborations with Influencers: Collaborate with influencers who can promote challenges related to your product. Influencers can demonstrate the challenge and encourage their followers to participate, increasing your campaign’s reach and engagement.

Environmental and Social Impact Challenges: Develop campaigns that address social and environmental issues, challenging Gen Z to take action. For example, a campaign could encourage users to reduce plastic waste, plant trees, or participate in local clean-up events, with your brand providing resources or rewards for participants.

Exclusive Access and Early Adopter Challenges: Offer early access to new products & exclusive content to those who participate in specific challenges. This can create a sense of exclusivity and excitement around your brand.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Experiences: Utilize VR and AR technology to create immersive challenge-based experiences. This can be particularly engaging for tech-savvy Gen Z users who enjoy exploring new digital frontiers.

Storytelling Through Challenges: Craft narratives that incorporate challenges as part of the storyline. This can be particularly effective in video ads or branded content series, where the audience follows along as characters or influencers tackle challenges.

**Note: Steer Clear of Dangerous Challenges

Create Social FOMO

Gen Z tends to buy products to create social content around them, driven by their desire to showcase unique and trendy experiences on their social media platforms. 

This generation thrives on sharing visually appealing and authentic moments with their followers, often seeking out products that can elevate their online presence. 

Brands can capitalize on this behavior by advertising products and campaigns that are inherently shareable, leveraging visually striking packaging, and encouraging user-generated content. 

By fostering an environment where products catalyze social engagement, companies can tap into Gen Z’s intrinsic motivation to stand out and connect with their peers, ultimately driving both sales and brand loyalty through organic, peer-driven promotion.

They can also give hampers to influencers as they will definitely promote the products on their social media platforms & promote the same via CTV to spark engagement.

Speaking of which…

Leverage Influencers for CTV Ads

Leverage Influencers

Gen Z is likely to be influenced by their favorite influencers; influencers have a significant impact on their purchasing decisions. They trust influencers who align with their values and interests.  

Thus, if your CTV ad features influencers, then make sure to show them to their followers or people who have similar interests to their followers & are more likely to show interest.

Interactive and Shoppable CTV Ads

Incorporate shoppable features in your CTV ads to allow Gen Zers to purchase products directly from the ad. Engage viewers with polls, quizzes, and other interactive content that makes the ad experience fun and engaging.

CTV Podcast Ads

Gen Zers are the most active podcast listeners amongst all generations, comprising more than 70% of active listeners. Therefore, it will be beneficial to invest in CTV podcast ads to feature your audio or video ads for active listeners on their connected devices.

Seamless Experience

Gen Z is omnipresent across various platforms and devices, making omnichannel marketing essential for tracking their cross-channel journey and providing a seamless brand experience. 

Ensure that Gen Z experiences a smooth transition from one platform to another without any disruptions or inconsistencies by:

  • Creating Responsive Design: Make sure your website and content are optimized for all devices, from desktops to smartphones.
  • Utilizing Consistent Branding: Keep visual elements, tone, and messaging consistent across all platforms to reinforce brand recognition.
  • Unified Messaging: Maintain a consistent brand voice and message across all platforms, from social media to CTV and beyond.
  • Cross-Platform Promotion: Use different platforms to promote the same campaign, ensuring that each platform complements the others.
  • Cross-Platform Campaigns: Coordinate your CTV ads with social media campaigns for a cohesive brand presence.

Data-Driven Insights

Leverage data analytics to understand Gen Z’s behavior and preferences across various channels. Use Analytics tools to gather data on how Gen Z interacts with your brand across different platforms. Leverage this data to create tailored marketing messages that resonate with individual preferences and behaviors.


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