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Smashing Demographic Stereotypes: How Gen Z Connects with Brand Advertising

SAN FRANCISCO AND WATERLOO, ONTARIO – October 15, 2021 – TextNow, the leading mobile app offering free cellular and WiFi-enabled phone service supported by mobile advertising, unveils new findings into Gen Z advertising preferences with its latest report, “Smashing Demographic Stereotypes: How Gen Z Connects with Brand Advertising”. A unique demographic, brand marketers are striving to understand the tactics that resonate with this diverse and highly productive audience. TextNow is providing the key pillars for success.

“Words are not enough to sway Gen Z. Brand marketers need to emphasize authenticity and transparency when engaging with this cohort,” said Ken Willner, Chief Growth Officer at TextNow. “Companies that can demonstrate purpose when connecting with Gen Z will earn true engagement and loyalty, and our study has found that it’s the most effective avenue for reaching this coveted demographic.”

TextNow’s report reveals five critical insights to support marketers ahead of their 2022 campaigns:

  • The Power of Purpose – Gen Zs are likely to make a purchase with a brand if its advertising incorporates topics like mental health advocacy (71%), public health and safety (66.2%), sustainability (65.8%), racial equality (58.9%) and LGBTQ+ acceptance (53.5%).
  • The Influenced-to-Influencer Dynamic – Gen Zs are a generation of native influencers with 44.4% of the demographic believing they have some sort of sway, even if it is within their small circle of family and friends (23.9%).
  • Establishing a Direct Line – Rewards must match the perceived value. Gen Zs are more likely to share personal information such as cell phone numbers if marketers raise the stakes with sweepstakes and giveaways. Despite the greater incentive, only 36% are willing to share their cell phone numbers.
  • Reaching Gen Z – Aside from calling and texting as the main uses of smartphones for Gen Z (43.9%), social media is the second most important use.
  • Marketing Don’ts – Brand marketers should steer away from advertising that appears to simply jump on the viral video trend (as 40.5% turn away from this initiative), use influencers or memes (42.9%) and are irrelevant and not personalized (44.6%)

The Fine Line of Influencer Marketing

Despite veering away from celebrity-focused influencer ads, 40.2% of Gen Zs are likely to purchase a product from an influencer’s sponsored post. This conflicting response underlines the challenges advertisers have with influencers. The power of internet celebrities come from how much their audiences relate to their content and lifestyle. As Gen Zs are the most ethnically and racially diverse group, influencer clout varies by audience. Marketers must critically evaluate their key segments to identify the best influencer within each for their brands, rather than choosing a social celebrity with the most reach.

TextNow’s connection with Gen Z and multicultural audiences provide brand marketers with the opportunity to directly engage with these users. With more than 10M monthly users who aren’t distracted by other media, TextNow’s audience is comprised of 75% multicultural users and 65% between 18-45 years of age. The TextNow platform also supports advertising partners with first-party data in a safe, secure environment.

For more information on this highly coveted generation, download the full report here or visit


TextNow surveyed 1,000 consumers between the ages of 16 and 24 in the United States using the online insights platform Pollfish. The survey was completed in September 2021.

About TextNow

Founded in 2009, TextNow is the largest provider of free phone service in the U.S. With offices in San Francisco, Waterloo, and Seattle, the TextNow app has been downloaded more than 200 million times globally, helping millions of people stay connected with a free phone number and ad-supported calling and texting over WiFi and a nationwide LTE network. For more information visit

Press Contacts:

Nick de Pass
[email protected]

Stephanie Chan
SHIFT Communications on behalf of TextNow
[email protected]