Close button for feature banner

See Where Your Brand Stands Against Your Industry

Download Dash Hudson's Cross-Channel Industry Benchmarks

Differences Between Marketing to Gen Alpha vs. Gen Z

Madisyn MacMillan
October 23, 2023
Last Updated On
differences between gen alpha and gen z marketing blog header

While it may feel like marketers are just getting a handle on how to market to Gen Z, there’s already a new generation entering the picture – Gen Alpha. And yes, they have purchasing power already, so it's imperative to understand this generation sooner rather than later. 

In this piece, we discuss: 

  • Gen Alpha and its characteristics.
  • Which social channels Gen Alpha favor.
  • How marketing to Gen Alpha differs from other generations.
  • 5 crucial tips brands need to reach this new generation.

What Is Gen Alpha and Their Characteristics?

First things first, when does Gen Alpha start? Like every generation, there are some discrepancies in start time, but it’s safe to assume that Gen Alpha began between 2010-2012 and will go to around 2024. That means the oldest end of this generation is already entering their pre-teen/teenage era, with the youngest yet to be born. 

Growing up in a fully digital world has created some unique characteristics for this generation, but the main characteristic? More. Generation Alpha is more digitally forward and immersed in technology, more diverse than every other age demographic and more discerning and decisive. These are attributes that live deep within Millennials and Gen Z, but since those generations are raising Gen Alpha, it only makes sense that these elements are entrenched in their way of life. 

Which Social Channels Does Generation Alpha Favor? 

While you might expect short-form content to consume Gen Alpha from the TikTok algorithm and their Gen Z counterparts, they typically gravitate towards similar content on YouTube via Shorts. Gen Alpha consistently uses YouTube the most for entertainment, product discovery and search. Of course, they are still active on TikTok and other social channels, but this is an interesting comparison to other social media demographics and online behavior. 

Marketers can and should utilize tools like social listening to truly understand what this shift means for their brand, Gen Alpha’s preferences and what resonates with them change as they age. This discovery phase is also a great time to focus on TikTok SEO and YouTube SEO, as this is a crucial element to ensure members of Gen Alpha can find you on their favorite platforms.

How Does Marketing To Gen Alpha Differ From Gen Z?

Although closely related, differing your marketing strategies between Gen Alpha and Gen Z is as critical as differentiating your social media marketing strategy for Gen Z and Millenials. The important thing to remember is that Gen Alpha are the children of Millennials and even older members of Gen Z. They hold great power over the decision-making of these older generations, so it’s essential to have a unique Gen Alpha marketing strategy just for them. 

There are a few key differences between how Gen Z and Gen Alpha consume media, interact with brands and how they game. Since tech usage starts so early for this generation (usually age 3-5), they are used to and expect more complex technology. Gen Alpha’s relationships with media and brands are mature beyond their years. Because of this, we’re seeing brands like Nike that aren’t normally marketing towards youth shifting their strategies to connect directly with Gen Alpha versus their parents.

ig reels screenshot girl nike brand ambassador
Image credit: @nike and @nikewomen

5 Tips Brands Need To Know To Reach Generation Alpha 

When it comes to reaching Gen Alpha on social, you’re probably already doing many things right — especially if you’ve been working on appealing to Gen Z. Here are some of the best ways for brands to capture Gen Alpha’s attention and hopefully keep them coming back for more.

1. Speak To What Matters Most 

One of the most influential ways to reach Gen Alpha is by speaking about what matters most to them. It’s helpful to understand the nuances between each generation and the different things they care about and look for in a brand when making a purchase. 

According to Statista, Gen Alpha cares the most about people — helping people, protecting people from bullying and equality among people to be exact. So, what should your brand do with this information? Be authentic. Show Gen Alpha the incredible things your brand stands for and does to support these initiatives mentioned above. 

The #barewithus campaign by Drunk Elephant – one of the most popular brands with Gen Alpha – highlights their communities' authentic bare skin, while explaining how Drunk Elephant products have helped them. 

brunette male with clear skin drunk elephant ig screenshot
Image credit: @drunkelephant

2. Demonstrate How Your Brand Gives Back

In the same vein as speaking to what matters most, Gen Alpha also wants to see how your brand gives back. In fact, 66% of Gen Alpha want to buy from companies that ‘do good.’ Brands that are vocal and organic in their social presence will appeal to this generation more.

If this isn’t something your brand is doing currently, perform some competitive research to see how similar brands give back, how they showcase this on social and even how it performs. This will give you a good idea of where to start and what a natural (or unnatural) partnership or initiative will look like. 

two men stand in forest with green trees in background patagonia tiktok screenshot
Image credit: @patagonia

Patagonia is highly committed to protecting the environment and demonstrates this throughout its social content. The above content shows viewers how to plant willow stakes and how these stakes help protect and conserve rivers. 

3. Talk About The Future of Tech

Here is a hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around statistic: 65% of Gen Alpha will hold jobs that don’t currently exist. You may wonder, ‘how is that possible?’ What could they possibly do that doesn’t already exist? That’s where the future of tech comes in — think, emerging technology like AI

While there’s no way to perfectly predict what’s coming, there is a real opportunity for brands to lean into this topic in a way that Gen Alpha will respond positively to. Brands that speak credibly about these shifts will be more trustworthy to Gen Alpha. Additionally, brands that create or even partake in this advancing technology will be seen as more exciting and relevant.

employee scans persons skin with iphone sephora color iq tiktok screenshot
Image credit: @sephora

Sephora uses its social channels and advancing technology to showcase its AI-powered color IQ technology that color matches users to their perfect foundation match. 

4. Mental Health Transparency 

Mental health is already a trending topic for Gen Z and Millennials, but it will matter even more to Gen Alpha. Often, brands participating in anything related to mental health on social media can feel inauthentic or performative. Because of this, it is imperative that brands be at the forefront of these conversations, intentionally and meaningfully. 

Brands must also hold and demonstrate positive mental health practices within their workspace, environment and especially on their social media channels. Gen Alpha will quickly write off brands that seem to tolerate or ignore negative conversations around mental health. 

selena gomez red lipstick pink background rare beauty ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @rarebeauty

Rare Beauty is a leader in brands that promote and discuss mental health. Their #MakeARareImpact campaign takes this to the next level, supporting mental health with their Rare Impact Fund, which aims to raise awareness and provide young people access to mental health resources.

5. Influencer Partnerships 

Influencers will only increase in popularity with Gen Alpha. It’s speculated that this generation will look more to influencers for brand inspiration and brand identity than the brand itself. This means one thing for brands. It’s time for a deep dive into your current influencer strategy to find out what type of influencer works, how in-depth your influencers know your brand and how well and accurately they’re representing it on their platform.  

A great rule of thumb aside from looking at performance and metrics is to view their content as an outsider or through an unbiased lens if you don’t know your brand at all. This will give you an idea of what users who aren’t familiar with your brand see and whether your content is something they will want to know more about. We also recommend testing out different pools of influencers. While massive influencers see a lot of traction, Nano and Micro influencers see a much higher engagement rate because of their small but mighty audience. 

girl holding adidas blue, white and pink nails by face adidas ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @adidaswoman and @borablueprint

Adidas showcases a clever and unexpected partnership with creator @borablueprint, who creates Adidas-inspired nails. This interesting collaboration keeps users on their toes and combines two user bases that may not have crossed paths otherwise. 

Reach Generation Alpha With Dash Hudson

Learning how to market to a new generation is challenging, but you don’t need to do it alone. Dash Hudson offers a full suite of tools to make connecting with Generation Alpha (and every other generation) easier, including Analytics and Monitoring, Competitive Insights, Campaigns and Community. Tap into what performs on Gen Alpha’s favorite platforms with YouTube Insights and TikTok Insights that can be tailored to your audience and customized to tell you precisely what you want to know. 

We also know how important influencers are to a Gen Alpha marketing strategy. Keep tabs on performance with Dash Hudson’s Influencer Marketing Measurement feature that shows your ROI for every creator, making it clear whether they are suitable for Gen Alpha or not. 


What is after Gen Z? 

The generation that comes after Gen Z is Gen Alpha. 

When does Generation Alpha start? 

Generation Alpha started around 2010-2012 and goes until around 2024. 

What are the key characteristics of Generation Alpha? 

Like Gen Z, Gen Alpha will be very connected to technology or ‘permanently connected.’ This generation will never know a life without advanced technology surrounding them, so they will be proficient in making decisions and managing an online persona and profile.

How old is Generation Alpha?

The oldest members of Generation Alpha are 13 and the youngest members have yet to be born.

Related Articles

The Only Social Platform Marketers Need To Succeed and Scale