Mobile Marketing for Gen Z: The Only Guide You Need

What should mobile marketing for Gen Z look like? Find out everything you want to know about this generation and the best ways to reach them!

Today, generation Z is one of the most attractive consumer groups for mobile marketers. Everyone is out to get their attention, but this is not a simple task. Their attention span is only 8 seconds long.

Plus, they are armed with ad blockers.


To reach this generation, you can’t use the same rulebook as you do for, e.g., Millennials. As for any audience, you need to understand their habits and preferences and approach them with custom strategies.

By reading this article, you will find out what mobile marketing for Gen Z should look like.

But First, What is Gen Z?

Before we take a deep dive into mobile marketing for Gen Z, let’s clarify exactly who belongs to this generation.

There are opposing opinions about this.

However, we aren’t here to get into the debate. Most relevant sources agree that Gen Z includes people born from 1996 to 2012. This means that, at the moment of writing, the oldest members of the generations are 26 years old.

Gen Z members are colloquially called “zoomers”. This term is modeled after “boomers”, which describes an elderly generation.

How big is Gen Z?

According to TrueList, there are 2.56 billion “zoomers” in the world, making up for approx. one-third of the world’s population.

Now that you’re caught up on the basics, let’s talk about why you should care about this generation so much.

Gen Z: Distinctive Characteristics

gen z

A “zoomer” may look similar to a Millennial, but don’t let this fool you. They are not merely younger versions of Millenials.

This is a unique bunch we’re talking about.

If you want to be successful at mobile marketing for Gen Z, you need to be aware of this generation’s unique characteristics.

We’ve listed the most important ones for you.

Mobile-First Generation

Unlike the older generations, Gen Z never experienced the world without the internet.

Besides that, most of them never owned old-school mobile devices – their first phone was likely a smartphone.

Gen Z has grown up in the world of apps, 4g, zooming, and swiping.

As a result of this, Gen Z members rely on their phones to do almost everything. Most of them use their phones for over 5 hours a day (CGK).

Demand Flawless UX

Remember a time when you used a clunky, sluggish app, website, or software?

While you probably do, Gen Z usually doesn’t.

The thing is, this generation was born into an environment of optimized user experiences. This is a direct consequence of being a mobile-first generation.

For most of their lives, GenZers lived in the world of sleek and immediately easy-to-use digital experiences. For example, when they visit an app, they expect speed and convenience. It only has a couple of seconds to entice them.

If it fails to meet their expectations, they will quickly discard it.


More than other generations, gen Z suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out). This is a feeling where a person is worried to miss out on information, experiences, or events.

The main culprit for this?

Massive social media usage, of course. On social networks, young people watch what their friends and complete strangers post, wishing to take part too.

Social Sensitivity

Generation Z is deeply concerned about certain social issues that previous generations didn’t pay so much attention to.

For example, they find it very important to address things like civil rights, racism, online privacy, diversity, climate change, etc.

Since they deeply care about these tissues, they expect brands to do the same. We’ll go into more detail about this later in the text.

Prone to Saving

Members of this generation were either born or grew up around the time of the 2008 recession. During this time, a lot of them witnessed their families’ financial struggles.

As a result, Gen Z understands the importance of making wise spending choices. They are also frequently insecure about their financial security. This might be the reason why a lot of them start making money in their teen years.

Other Characteristics of Gen Z

To fully understand what Gen Z is made of, you should also note that they:

  • are not brand loyal
  • value access more than ownership
  • aspire to enjoy what they are doing
  • have a negative attitude toward pushy advertising
  • rarely purchase expensive, overly advertised products
  • are multitaskers
  • seek ongoing self-education
  • are active social media users
  • don’t use Facebook as much as other generations
  • tend to communicate through symbols and images

Staggering Gen Z Statistics

Gen Z is a big group in general. But what’s more important for you is how big of a group they are online, especially on mobile.

Here are all the stats on mobile marketing for Gen Z you need to know.

Mobile and Social

  • This generation spends 74% of its personal time online (IBM)
  • 98% of Gen Z members own a smartphone (GWI). The majority of them (61%) report getting their first smartphone sometime between the ages of 11 and 17 (Tapjoy)
  • The top social networks by the number of Gen Z users are Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram (Insider Intelligence)
  • About 70% of GenZers watch two hours of YouTube content every day (Adrenaline)
  • They spend almost three hours using social media every day. This is about an hour more than the Millenial average (World Economic Forum)
  • 76% of them follow at least one social media influencer (Morning Consult)
  • They are regular mobile shoppers. 68% of GenZers shop on their mobile phones one to four times per week (Tapjoy)

Mobile Gaming

generation z mobile gaming

Source: Tapjoy

  • 86% of “zoomers” use their mobile phones as gaming devices (Tapjoy).
  • They spend most of their mobile gaming time in shooters, Sandbox, and MOBA games (Newzoo).
  • Gen Z was the biggest audience by mobile game consumer spend in 2021 (

Mobile Marketing for Gen Z: 9 Best Practices

Now that you have a solid understanding of how “Zoomers” breathe, it’s time to discuss the ways you can reach them.

In the next section, you’ll find 9 useful strategies to improve your mobile marketing for Gen Z.

1. Use Video and Make It Short

Gen Z is not only a mobile-first but also a video-first generation.

“Zoomers” are especially into short-form videos. Probably the best proof of this is the rapid success of TikTok which was driven mainly by Gen Z.

heavily rely on the short video format too. For example, Snapchat and Instagram Reels have a 60-second video limit, while TikTok videos are limited to 3 minutes.

This is because Gen Z has gotten used to content that doesn’t waste time with lengthy introductions. In these videos, everything happens quickly, which perfectly fits their short attention spans.

How can you take advantage of this when promoting your app or game?

Focus on creating visual content that will quickly catch attention. Create short-form vertical videos that fit their mobile screens. To make your videos more attractive, play with different video elements.

For example, you can include catchy or trending music, visual effects, filters, voiceovers, etc.

The next step is pretty straightforward – place these videos on Gen Z’s preferred social media networks and analyze their performance

2. Highlight Your Values ​​and Mission

As we mentioned before, Gen Z is very value-driven. This generation has distinct values ​​that influence the way they interact with brands, including mobile apps. According to Tapjoy, 36% of Gen Z members will follow a brand because they share similar values.

Therefore, if you want to win this generation over, your company should take a stance on social issues.

Remember – having no attitude is also an attitude.

At least in their eyes.

So how can you take a stance exactly?

Define your brand’s values ​​and purpose and communicate them through your messaging and creatives. Regularly address the social issues that you find to be important.

If GenZers see that your values ​​reflect their own, they will likely develop a positive attitude toward your brand. As a result, they will be more likely to install and use your app.

Example of Promoting Diversity – Zynga

example of promoting diversity

During Pride Month, a lot of companies, including Zynga, took a clear stance on LGBTQ + rights.

This is one of the social issues Gen Z cares a lot about.

On TikTok, Zynga published a video that clearly states its mission to affirm and celebrate diversity. This is just one example of how this company celebrated Pride Month.

The publisher also decorated its entire game portfolio with pride-themed elements. This included special in-game events, employee spotlights, and social interactions.

3. Hire Influencers

No other generation puts as much faith in social media influencers as Generation Z. In fact, 52% of “Zoomers” say that they trust their brand or product suggestions (McKinsey & Company).

Just thinking about influencers got you worried about your budget?

Note this.

You don’t have to hire the world’s most famous influencers to promote your app. In fact, in the last couple of years, there is a trend of focusing on micro and nano influencers. These influencers usually have high engagement rates and strong relationships with their followers.

When picking out an influencer, ensure that Gen Z finds them authentic and relatable – they despise dishonesty. Look for real people with interesting platforms who fit your brand values.

How do influencers advertise apps?

By installing them and reviewing the experience. They will do this in their own recognizable way that their audience appreciates. For this reason, you should give them a fair amount of freedom and not meddle too much.

4. Leverage Time-Sensitivity

As we mentioned before, this generation suffers from FOMO.

On top of that, they are very careful with their spending.

Combine these two findings and you just got yourself a very useful strategy to master mobile marketing for Gen Z.

If this makes sense for your app, create ads that highlight time-sensitive discounts. For instance, free shipping, or a promo code. This is an especially good idea for e-commerce and delivery apps.

5. Encourage User-Generated Content

Just like Millennials, Gen Z also actively engages with user-generated content (UGC). They find this type of content authentic, trustworthy, and relatable, resulting in high engagement rates.

Here’s what you can do to leverage this.

Organize different challenges, competitions, or mini-holidays on social media networks. Since short-form videos work best with Gen Z, this is the best format to do this.

All you need to do is give users a great reason to participate, determine the ground rules, and leave the rest to the users. For example, a common rule is having to use branded hashtags.

Finally, if you’re going to be using influencers, they can also be of great help in promoting your UGC strategy.

Example of UGC Usage – Voodoo

user generated content example voodoo

The world’s biggest hyper-casual publisher doesn’t only pay popular influencers to promote their games.

Voodoo also encourages user-generated content on, you guessed it – TikTok.

For their popular game, Stack Colors, they created a challenge in the form of a competition. To join the contest, users need to create a TikTok video while following their guidelines (eg it needs to contain 10 seconds of gameplay).

Why would they participate?

Because of generous rewards, of course. Users who get a lot of views on their challenge videos can earn some real-world cash. Depending on the number of views, they can earn from $ 80 to $ 3000!

6. Gamify

Here’s another great way to tap into Gen Z’s short attention span.

If you have a non-gaming app you want to promote, you can benefit from gamification. To do this, you should incorporate gaming mechanics into the ads for your app, or in the app itself.

Here are some popular gaming mechanics you can use to make this happen:

  • levels
  • badges or trophies
  • a point system
  • leaderboards
  • game currency

There are different reasons why gamification works well in mobile marketing for Gen Z.

First of all, it meets their need for immediate gratification and recognition. Nonetheless, it can spark their curiosity, awaken their competitive spirits, and give them a sense of control.

7. Keep an Eye on the Rising Platforms

In the Gen Z universe, trends come and go quickly. As someone who wants to reach them, you need to stay on the verge of this.

For example, in the lockdown era, a lot of “zoomers” suddenly started embracing platforms like Twitch and Discord. When this happened, some companies started developing innovative strategies to reach their audience on these platforms.

The brands that tapped them first got a great competitive advantage.

Something like this could be happening right now.

While you might be busy trying to get the most out of the overcrowded TikTok or Snapchat, there might be a rising platform just waiting to be tapped.

Our point? Do your research regularly.

8. Make Them Laugh

Gen Z highly appreciates a good sense of humor. According to Tapjoy, 57% of them say that they prefer humor as a type of brand content. If they perceive brands as funny and cool, they are more likely to support them.

If you want to establish yourself as a fun brand among Gen Z, you should consider producing meme-like content.

But first, you need to figure out what they find funny right now. You don’t want to get the infamous “ok boomer” comment from them.

A few months old meme or joke can already be out of fashion. For this reason, you need to research the latest trends among Gen Z. Once you do that, you can repurpose this content to market your app.

Here are a couple of tips for promoting your app with humorous content:

  • be conversational
  • show a human side
  • be unpredictive

Another important thing to do here is master the unique Gen Z lingo. Did you know that this generation uses a skull emoji to express that they are “dying of laughter”? For all others, this emoji would have a completely different meaning.

Example of Meme Advertising

meme advertising mobile marketing for gen z

Source: Google Play

There is probably no better fit for this type of advertising than a meme-creation app.

In this example, Mematic used a meme with a famous singer, Drake. The meme portrays him disliking something presented to him, then agreeing with the new option shown to him.

This meme has been around for years already, and it’s considered a classic. For this reason, it is still widely used — even among Gen Z.

9. Retarget

We already said a thing or two about Gen Z’s short attention spans. Considering this, you should aim to catch their attention more than once.

Enter retargeting.

When users just glance at content once, they will probably overlook or forget it. But if you retarget them with ads for your app, there is a better chance they will remember you.

Be very careful with this, though.

If you want your retargeting campaigns to be efficient, make sure that users don’t see your ads all the time. You can take care of this by monitoring and limiting your ad frequency.

Besides campaign settings, you should also be careful about the content of your retargeting ads. Gen Z hates it when brands are pushy and salesy. For this reason, the content of your app’s retargeting ads should be helpful and relevant.

Mobile Marketing for Gen Z: Closing Thoughts

Year over year, more Gen Z members are graduating and entering the workforce.

This means that their purchasing power is constantly increasing, and it is becoming critical for advertisers to reach them. To do it properly, make sure to follow our guide on mobile marketing for Gen Z!

Feel like you could use some help with this? MAF can help you get more users for your app. Not just from Gen Z, but quality users from all generations.

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