Gen Z teens are watching YouTube ads and recalling what they’ve seen

Gen Z aren’t just tuning into YouTube for the videos – they’re also watching the ads.

Six in 10 teens would watch a YouTube ad rather than skip it, while almost half can recall an ad they’ve seen on the platform. That’s according to Precise TV and Giraffe Insights research.

The news comes after YouTube reported a 4.4% increase in ad revenue for the second quarter of 2023.

Why we care. Brands wishing to connect with Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) may want to consider transitioning their ad spend away from traditional TV and into YouTube for stronger engagement, recall and purchase influence.

Dig deeper: Why video is the marketing channel you can’t afford to miss

Interesting stats. The research identified several findings that may be of interest to advertisers hoping to target the Gen Z audience, including:

  • Almost eight in 10 teens watch YouTube, making it the number one platform in this market.
  • 45% of teens are likely to recall an ad they’ve seen on YouTube.
  • Gen Z teens are twice as likely to recall an ad on YouTube than TikTok.
  • YouTube is where teens see the best and most engaging ads.
  • One in five Gen Z teens said YouTube is part of their daily routine.

A shift in ad spend. Denis Crushell, Precise TV’s Chief Commercial Officer, , explained that advertisers are now shifting budgets from traditional TV to YouTube ads. He said:

  • “These findings are already convincing many of our advertising partners — agencies, media companies and brands — to double down on YouTube as their top video advertising channel.”
  • “Additionally, we’re experiencing more media buyers coming to us who were historically reluctant to target teens and families because Precise TV can uniquely deliver video-level targeting and performance — all in a completely COPPA-compliant way. As a result, expect more advertisers to move their ad buys from linear TV to YouTube.”

Deep dive. Read the Precise Advertiser Report in full for more information

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One Reply to “Gen Z teens are watching YouTube ads and recalling what they’ve seen”

The era of digital media has witnessed a significant shift in how teenagers consume content, with YouTube emerging as a prominent platform for Gen Z. Contrary to the assumption that younger audiences might be immune to advertising, recent trends reveal that Gen Z teens are not only watching YouTube ads but also actively recalling their content.

The YouTube Appeal
YouTube’s popularity among Gen Z is multifaceted. Its diverse content ecosystem, from educational videos to entertaining vlogs, resonates with the varied interests of teenagers. However, what’s particularly intriguing is the way Gen Z engages with advertisements on the platform.

Content Integration
One notable aspect is the integration of ads into YouTube content seamlessly. Unlike traditional TV ads, YouTube ads often blend into the user experience. Gen Z appreciates this subtlety, as it disrupts their viewing experience less, making them more receptive to the message.

Authenticity Matters
Gen Z is known for its authenticity radar. They tend to gravitate towards content and ads that feel genuine and relatable. Brands that create ads with real stories and relatable characters have a higher chance of resonating with this audience.

The Recall Factor
What sets Gen Z apart is their ability to recall YouTube ads, turning them into a powerful marketing tool. Here are some insights into why this happens:

User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is a significant part of the YouTube ecosystem. Gen Z often relates to and connects with content created by their peers or influencers they follow. When an ad incorporates elements of UGC or features popular YouTubers, it tends to leave a lasting impression.

Short-Form Content
Gen Z, having grown up in the age of bite-sized information, appreciates concise content. Brands that convey their message effectively in short YouTube ads are more likely to be remembered. Catchy jingles or memorable slogans also contribute to recall.

Creative Storytelling
Ads that tell a compelling story are more likely to stick in the minds of Gen Z teens. Engaging narratives, humour, or emotionally resonant storytelling can leave a lasting impact.

The Takeaway for Marketers
For marketers looking to tap into the Gen Z demographic on YouTube, the key is to understand their preferences and behaviour:

Seamless Integration
Integrate ads naturally into the YouTube experience to avoid disrupting viewers. Make ads feel like an extension of the content they are already enjoying.

Authenticity First
Prioritise authenticity in your ad campaigns. Gen Z values real stories and genuine connections.

Concise and Memorable
Craft ads that are concise, memorable, and shareable. Utilise short-form content and creative storytelling to capture their attention.

In conclusion, Gen Z teens are not just passive viewers of YouTube ads; they actively engage with them and remember the content. This presents a unique opportunity for marketers to create meaningful and memorable ad campaigns that resonate with this dynamic audience. By embracing the preferences and habits of Gen Z, brands can effectively connect with the next generation of consumers on YouTube.


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