Marketing to Gen Z Men: Three Tips for Platforms & Strategies That Work

April 4, 2024

As a generation that expects authenticity and transparency from brands, Gen Z is selective about where they shop and who they buy from. And while a heavy reliance on social media and distrust of traditional ads are hallmarks of this generation as a whole, Gen Z men and women have distinct preferences.

They navigate the digital world differently, seeking validation and information in unique ways. Below we take a closer look at the shopping behaviors of Gen Z men in the US and how they compare to those of their female counterparts. From preferred social platforms to research habits and buying styles, uncover best practices for marketing to Gen Z men.

YouTube is a top destination for trusted influencer content

Fifty-seven percent of Gen Zers learn about new products via social media, finding brands through videos (68%) and influencer content (48%). When it comes to discovery, 52% of Gen Zers trust influencers to give genuine advice about the products they’re promoting, citing “authenticity” as the most important trait in earning their trust.

While Gen Z men are nearly equally as likely as women to say social media has an impact on their purchase decisions (85% and 86%, respectively) each group gravitates to different channels and types of creators. In general, Gen Z women are more likely to follow influencers who post about beauty/skincare (59%) and fashion (49%), while men are more interested in gaming (62%) and sports (41%). 

TikTok is the go-to platform for influencer content across the board, though Gen Z women are more invested than men. According to eMarketer, more than half cited TikTok as their go-to platform, crushing the 22% of males who said the same. Among Gen Z men, YouTube reigns supreme as the top destination for creator content (and is their most-used platform overall.

Above all, when vetting product recommendations, Gen Z is most likely to trust friends and family (82%) and least likely to trust celebrities and athletes (44%). 

Marketing to Men - Go-To Platform for Influencer Content

Pro Tip for Marketing to Men:

Gen Z tends to trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and influencers more than traditional advertising or celebrity endorsements. Partner with micro-influencers they trust and encourage user-generated content (UGC) contests among their peers to build brand loyalty and more authentic connections.

Social search is a go-to in categories like gaming and electronics

Gen Z is increasingly turning to social platforms for search, with 51% preferring to look up brands on social media vs. traditional search engines (45%). This generation prefers visuals over text-based results, with tutorials and how-tos ranking as the most searched topics on social platforms.

According to an eMarketer survey, TikTok and Instagram are Gen Z’s top platforms for shopping and product discovery (though YouTube takes the crown for social search in general). Pinterest also draws the attention of female social shoppers, while Instagram is the go-to platform for Gen Z males.

Male Gen Zers are searching in categories like gaming, electronics, and sporting goods more frequently than their female counterparts. The latter are more likely to search for apparel, food and beverages, and beauty products.

Marketing to Men - Social Search Users by Gender & Category

Pro-Tip for Marketing to Men:

To reach Gen Z men, prioritize short-form video and experiment with search ads on platforms like TikTok and YouTube.  Focus on creating informative content, especially tutorials and how-to guides, that feels native to the platform and includes perspectives from their peers.

Gen Z men are omnichannel shoppers, purchasing specific items IRL

Gen Z shoppers prioritize speed and convenience. They expect a seamless omnichannel experience, effortlessly switching between online and in-store browsing.

A survey from ICSC found that although 95% of Gen Zers shop online, just as many (97%) enjoy shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. They cite the ability to get items immediately (30%), see and try products (28%), and avoid shipping costs as their top reasons for shopping in-store. 

Following online discovery, Gen Z males tend to complete the purchase in-store, with roughly 60% of those men saying that’s where they’re most likely to buy business attire. Online shops hold more appeal for everyday casual items like jeans and t-shirts (54%), indicating a flexible shopping approach that varies by product type.

Marketing to Men - Preferred Apparel Shopping Channels

Pro Tip for Marketing to Men:

To cater to Gen Z’s desire for efficiency, make it easy for them to check product availability beforehand and offer convenient options like buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS). Additionally, optimize your website and social media for mobile browsing, ensuring a smooth purchasing journey from any device.

Marketing to Gen Z Men: Closing Thoughts

As with any demographic, Gen Z is a diverse group, and treating them as a single entity can cause your messaging to fall flat. By understanding Gen Z men’s unique preferences  – like their loyalty to YouTube influencers and their blended online and in-store shopping habits – your brand can craft a targeted approach that speaks directly to their interests and helps to earn their trust.

Looking for more insights for marketing to key demographics? Dive into our full “Marketing to Gen Z” series below:

  • Check out the do’s and don’ts of marketing to Gen Z here.
  • Talk like a Zoomer with our glossary of Gen Z slang here.
  • Learn more about Gen Z’s media and shopping habits here.