Insights / Audience Science

PUBLISHED: Feb 1, 2023 5 min read

Who Are Zillennials? Meet The Newest Fringe Generation

Knowing your audience and how to best reach out to and speak with them will help you drive better performance for your brand.

One audience you may not know too much about are Zillennials. Unlike the typical generation, which spans a 15-year age gap, this fringe generation—the five-year age range straddling Millennials and Gen Z—shares aspects with the generations around it and looks at the world in a way not quite like either. Understanding Zillenials’ nuances and applying behavior insights from audience science can help you shape and direct your brand messaging to resonate with this unique group of people.

What is a Zillennial?

A Zillennial is generally defined as someone born between 1991 and 1996. The years can vary slightly on either end, but this is the most common consensus when identifying this group. Fringe generations, such as Zillennials, are typically overlooked in favor of the larger generational groups like Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Millennials. While it may seem more efficient to market by generations, the differences between the youngest people in each generation and the oldest can make it more complicated to land on a single messaging direction when developing a more targeted marketing plan.

Do's and Don'ts when marketing to Zillennials:
- Share the background of your products
- Show the ethical value of your products
- Explain how your products are made

- Spam them with messaging
- Overload them with repetitive content
- Treat them just like Gen Z or Millennials

With a 15-year age gap between the oldest and youngest people in a generation, there are guaranteed differences in values, desires, and goals that tend to get overlooked or under-targeted. By narrowing down your focus to more finely target groups like Zillennials, it can help you more effectively speak to their needs and desires and provide value to them in the ways they want.

ZIllennials Are Online-Focused and Brand Conscious

Zillennials, while financially less secure than past generations—something they share with Millennials—still have strong purchasing power that’s only continuing to grow. They have a significant online presence and are incredibly active on social forums and websites. Groups on social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and TikTok boast tens of thousands of members, if not more.

Just a few years ago, some experts started calling this group “Cuspers” and noted that they spend considerably more time online than those older than them in the Millennial generation. Even before the pandemic and lockdown significantly changed everyone’s online habits, this group spent 33% more time on social media platforms than their older Millennial counterparts.

Not only are Zillennials more digitally inclined, but this group also tends to be early adopters of new platforms and services. They also tend to make more impulse purchases but value different things than other groups when making purchasing decisions. Zillennials typically care about understanding the product itself. They want to know its background, how it was made, and whether it’s sustainable or not. Similarly to Gen Z, ZIllennials are interested in climate-conscious products and services. They want to be able to align ethically with these brands and use this connection as a way to express themselves and their values.

How to Best Connect with Zillennials

Sustainability is a key component of marketing to Gen Z, but those same principles extend to Zillennials. Investing in climate-conscious initiatives will only become more important in the coming years. It’s more than just being green and showing how environmentally friendly your company or products are.

“Zillennials are value-driven. So when they’re looking at products or even ads, they want to know about the product itself. They want to know the background. They also want to be able to align ethically with these brands and tout them almost like a symbol of pride. Not like status signaling, but something that’s authentically who they are.”

– Amsive Senior Brand Strategist Michelle Castagnola

One of the most effective ways to share this messaging is through short-form video that speaks directly to their wants and needs. Social media platforms have spent the past several years increasing their options for sharing videos, and while there have been a few hiccups along the way, it’s proving to be more engaging than ever.

Something to know about Zillennials is that they’re strongly deterred by content overload and by being spammed. Whether that’s incessant emails or repetitive social ads, this type of messaging is generally abrasive to this group. Finding a balance between consistently getting your message in front of them without overwhelming them isn’t always easy, but can be achieved through smart execution and a strong understanding of your target audience.

ZIllennials, as a fringe generation that’s still actively being defined and understood, isn’t the typical target of marketing campaigns or audience research. While this may not be the case forever, it’s still a relatively unexplored market to speak to and target with considerable room to grow.

Generational subsets of your audience, whether that’s ZIllennials or any other group, have nuanced tastes and interests. Taking the time to build and understand behavioral insights through applied audience science can help your business understand what truly activates them. Thinking beyond base-level assumptions about the group you want to speak to will heighten the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Knowing more about your audience can help you deliver a better brand story that builds trust and loyalty for years to come.

Understanding fringe generation and subsections of your target audience is only one part of a data-centric, performance-driven strategy, giving you the power to know more and do more. Dig deeper into Google’s latest focus on experience as a ranking factor, or let’s talk about how to achieve more for your marketing—and your business.