Generation Alpha: How to engage with digital natives
by Charlotte Oliver

Generation Alpha, the cohort born from the early 2010s to the end of this year, is growing up in a world vastly different from previous generations. The children of millennials and older Gen Z’s have grown up with the internet in the palm of their hand, and in just four years’ time, the first will hit adulthood.

They’re poised to have the greatest spending power in history, and by 2025, will outnumber the baby boomers – so, are you ready to speak their language? Here’s 7 things marketers need to know about engaging with this increasingly important generation:

  1. They’re digital natives

Let’s start with the most obvious first – Generation Alpha are the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century, making them true digital natives. From a very young age, they’ve been exposed to smartphones and tablets, influencing their learning, play, and social interactions. It’s said that that the average Gen Alpha has 100 photos posted of them on social media before they hit their first birthday! Unsurprisingly, their life is online, so marketers need to leverage digital platforms creatively to capture their attention.

2. Importance of video content

Unlike previous generations who had to contend with smaller screens and slow internet connectivity, Gen Alpha grew up with fast Wi-Fi, 3 and 4G. As speeds increased, so did video content. As such, they have a strong preference for video, spending significant time on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and other streaming services. Creating engaging, educational, and entertaining video content is essential when trying to engage them.

3. Get going with gaming

While video is important to Gen Alpha, don’t underestimate the importance of gaming to this cohort. It’s not only used as a form of entertainment, but also as a platform for socialising and learning. Outside of China, 1 in 4 kids say they spend the most of their free time playing video games over other activities, such as watching videos or using social media. Explore how you could Integrate your marketing efforts within gaming environments without disrupting the user experience.

The integration of marketing within gaming platforms can be seen in collaborations between brands and popular games. For instance, the partnership between Nike and the video game Roblox, creating a virtual world called Nikeland, showcases how brands can engage with Gen Alpha through gaming.

4. Educational value matters

Given that Gen Alpha grew up learning with digital devices, products that combine play with learning opportunities are particularly appealing. Products and services that offer educational value or skills development, such as coding kits or science-related toys, are attractive to both Gen Alpha and their parents, who are keen on providing them with the tools for future success….

5. Influence of parents

Which naturally brings us to parental influence. Being young, their consumption is heavily influenced by their parents – Millennials and Gen Z – who prioritise sustainability, diversity, and authenticity. Marketing strategies that resonate with these values are more likely to succeed not only with Alphas, but also with their parents who make a lot of current purchasing decisions.

6. Take sustainability seriously

There’s a growing demand for eco-friendly products among young parents, which is likely to influence Generation Alpha’s preferences. Growing up in a world facing climate change and environmental challenges, Gen Alpha also values sustainability. Marketers should highlight the environmental benefits and sustainability practices of their products.

The success of brands like LEGO, which has committed to making its products more sustainable, demonstrates the importance of aligning with these values. LEGO’s pledge to produce bricks from sustainable materials by 2030 is a direct appeal to these environmentally conscious parents and children.

7. Social media influence

Despite some of this cohort still technically being underage for social media platforms, younger Gen Alphas are often still exposed to these channels through family members. Once teenagers, they can spend as much as two hours a day on TikTok according to some studies. However, the same study found Facebook use barely hit a minute a day among teens! Your media plan should clearly reflect where your audience are, and it’s no longer the grandfather of social networks when reaching Gen Alpha.

These examples highlight the necessity for marketers to adapt to the evolving landscape being shaped by Gen Alpha. Understanding these characteristics and preferences will help you create strategies that are not only effective in reaching this rapidly growing cohort but also resonate with their values and the real world they are growing up in.

February 8, 2024

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