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5 creative ways to get your online ads in front of Gen Z

Uncrowded ad space. Brands should consider the alternative opportunities to get their online adverts in front of Gen Z consumers.

Paid social advertising has become a cornerstone of marketing to Gen Z since the algorithms on platforms like Instagram and Facebook made getting your brand in front of their users more challenging than ever. However, with most of Gen Z’s favourite brands focusing on Facebook and Instagram advertisements targeting youth as a part of their marketing strategy, you can find yourself fighting against your competitors to catch the attention of an audience already overwhelmed by ads.

Here are five of our top tips to engage Gen Z and get ahead of the competition by taking a different approach to your online advertising strategy.


Reddit may not be your traditional social network, but this is its strength when it comes to advertising to youth consumers. You’re reaching a different audience, many of whom don’t frequent the other socials, but who head to Reddit first to get their news, memes and much more. The platform’s opinionated users are known for being critical of brands “shilling” (posting to promote their brand while pretending to be a typical user), which means you need to take the time to understand the site’s dynamics before getting involved. For example, Reddit advises advertising on specific subreddits that are relevant to your audience and leading with content instead of a heavy sales message.


The newest of the major social networks, TikTok has quickly become a favourite of Gen Z and the brands who want to reach them. However, its focus on short-form, light-hearted video content means your usual ad strategy may need a rethink. Our recent blog post on how brands can tackle TikTok goes in-depth on the various opportunities. One strength of the platform is its innovative selection of ad formats, designed to appeal to its fun, creative user base. Brands such as Chipotle, who have taken advantage of this, are seeing great results.

Dating apps

For the older members of Gen Z, dating apps are their default way of connecting with potential partners, whether they’re looking for a serious or casual relationship, or just browsing. Flipping through profiles is a fun activity for this demographic, so for the right brand, it can be an ideal place to advertise. While Tinder is, of course, the biggest name in the market, apps such as Bumble and OKCupid have a different brand persona may be a better fit for you. These apps also benefit from a vast array of data to enable you to target the most relevant users.

Game apps

According to our latest US Youth Trends survey, 16-24s’ favourite way to play online games is in an app. From simple phone games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds to the big names in gaming like Fortnite and League of Legends, there are apps for casual and serious gamers, and everyone in-between. Could it be that game apps are the best way to advertise to college students and their Gen Z peers? Most of the game apps Gen Z loves are free to use and powered by ads, which means it can be a great way to get your brand in front of them – especially if you’re also promoting an app, as they can quickly download it there and then. These games are typically played when the user is relaxed or has time to spare, an ideal time to get their attention.

Google Maps

Google Maps is one of the most-used apps on most of our phones, but it’s often overlooked when tasked with marketing and advertising to youth consumers. Most likely as the majority of marketers wouldn’t consider it as an advertising platform. However, if you have physical locations such as stores or restaurants, local search ads can be a smart way to raise brand awareness and encourage impromptu visits. Gen Z is an open-minded, experience-driven group who love to try new places to eat and shop, and Google Maps is a go-to search tool for many “what shall we do now” situations.

If these alternative advertising platforms aren’t quite aligned with your brand, or you want a little more inspiration for getting your content in front of Gen Z, discover the best advertising channels to reach young people. Alternatively, our team of student marketing experts are on hand to build your next omnichannel campaign to achieve your brands marketing objectives.

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