Skip to content

Youth Marketing: Trends 2021 and Beyond


While it may not quite be the time for an end-of-year round-up, there’s no harm in sharing some of our observations of youth marketing trends in 2021. It’s never too late to apply them to your marketing strategy if you want to capture the attention of Gen Z and Millennials.

As a youth marketing agency, we see a lot of trends. Some stick, some go away just as quickly as they arrive. Here’s our take on what’s going to stay around:

Influencer Marketing

It has gone from being an add on or afterthought to predictions that it’ll be worth $15bn by 2022, with marketers saying they plan to use almost half their marketing budgets on this kind of content across all platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Instagram Reels.


With more than 2 billion monthly users, 80% of whom are outside the US, the platform has become the second most visited website in existence, after Google, of course.

Millennials watch more Youtube content than they do the telly, and almost 80% of Gen Z watch it, alongside their Instagram consumption. If you take into account that 70% of YouTube viewers bought from a brand after seeing a clip on YouTube, it’s a platform that brands hoping to market to Gen Z and Millennials can’t ignore.

TikTok and Instagram 

There’s no sign that TikTok or Instagram Reels are slowing down in terms of their influence upon this lucrative market. Both became a great source of fun, humour and escapism during the lockdown, and there’s no sign of that going away.

More than half of Gen Z now use TikTok and almost 40% of Millennials. Interestingly, 71% of 15-29 year-olds use Instagram. Not only that, but 90% of Instagram users follow a business, so it’s absolutely a no-brainer to us.

Brands that create short and engaging video content can potentially attract youth consumers to new products and styles.

Long Term Partnerships

Rather than using influencers and other well-known figures in one-off campaigns, we’ve noticed that brands are forming longer-term partnerships instead. It’s a more secure way of fostering longer-term engagement with younger audiences with similar values and belief systems.

By seeing influencers working with brands that embrace the same values, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to partner with those brands. In addition, it’s another way for brands to establish trust and authenticity with their chosen target audience.

That doesn’t mean we think one-off campaigns are a bad idea, they too can generate great engagement and results, and it’s something to ask your youth marketing agency about.

Take a look at some of our work that highlights this trend.

Cause-led Marketing

Youth consumers continue to be more socially conscious, hungry for change, and aware of social issues, particularly the environment, education, police brutality, racial inequality, homelessness, sexual harassment, and mental health.

Gen Z and Millennials are vastly well-informed and look to align their brand loyalty with their own beliefs. So if they think your brand is making a positive impact upon social issues they care about, they’ll stick around.

Not only that, but Gen Z and Millennials want brands they follow to be involved in issues that matter to them. The real difficulty brands face is authenticity. If you’re just paying lip service to a cause, your target audience will smell it a mile off and run for the hills.

We have access to SELFHOOD, our own global U30 cohort, a great sounding board for brands. It’s how we can tell you what they really think about brands and their place in youth culture.

Millennials and Technology

Older millennials are hitting 40. They have or aspire to have their own homes, kids, and a whole new set of aspirations. However, they are also keeping up with the latest advances in technology while still embracing established ones such as home broadband.

While older millennials may have a whole new set of worries about economics, health and so on, they are still embracing tech through their social media usage, be it by tablet or mobile.

In other words, older millennials are keen not to be left behind, and brands looking to retain their loyalty need to stay abreast of how older millennial spending habits, hopes and dreams may change.

We’re a youth marketing agency in London. Take a look at what we do and say hello.