How To: Gen Z survey engagement

Te Ngāngara
Surveys Completed
Over Engagement Target
Māori participants, outperforming traditional methods


Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington asked Aro Digital to run Te Ngāngara’s first-ever digital survey campaign. The engagement? Outstanding. We attained 1.6K completed survey responses in six weeks.

Prior, Te Ngāngara had a handful of responses via traditional methods like print media and school assemblies. They were also cold-calling potential focus group participants.

Aro Digital’s campaign motivated 1,600 rangatahi to complete the social media survey. Plus, the young survey-goers are now keen for future focus groups. 

Te Ngāngara’s team of academics flourished with our full suite of digital marketing action.


1. The goal was 1,000 survey engagements - and we got 2,999 survey starts!

2. Engaging young Māori Kiwis, aged 16-20 years old.

3. Resonating with Kiwi youth to inspire interest in future focus-group involvement.


What are Zoomers’ views on social media and marketing? That’s what Te Ngāngara wanted to discover. 

Aro Digital knows how to get responses from rangatahi, and we smashed the engagement target by 299%. Being attuned to Gen Z’s mindsets, Aro recruited 1,600 young survey-goers through digital marketing.

The goal? Recruit at least a thousand young survey-goers in six weeks. The Aro Digital team and Te Ngāngara worked together, and we far exceeded this target! 

Aro didn’t just stop at the digital survey. We provided end-to-end service across the journey:

• Motivating the academic team to get a media designer on board.

• Creating a social media page dedicated to the research. 

• Highlighting the benefits of a social media moderator.

• Providing UX advice on the website landing page, survey form, and feedback journey. 

Optimal User Experience

77% of website users visited via mobile devices, so designing from a mobile-first perspective is key. Aro Digital advised on responsive UX design for the landing page and survey. We kept on-the-go youth engaged.

We prompted salient call-to-action buttons at the top of the page, which resulted in an abundance of clicks. 

For future campaigns, our team suggested clarifying how long the survey will take, by making the progress bar more obvious. 

Key survey tip: Consolidate qualifying questions to one page. This way, potential survey-goers can identify themselves with minimal friction.  

Agile Social Media Tactics

We got Rangatahi pumped for the survey, through three approaches:

Have Your Say:

Welcoming young people to use their voice.

What’s The Answer?

Offering a vote via poll ads.

Answer To Win:

Incentivising Rangatahi to do the survey.

Polls in Instagram Story Ads

Aro created social proof of engagement, with Story polls. These ads extracted a few straightforward questions from the full survey:

• Have You Bought Something Online This Week?

• Curious About What Happens To Your Data?

• Does Your Phone Know How You Feel?

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Audience Targeting:

In true Aro fashion, this was not a set-and-forget campaign. Our workflow was dynamic, ensuring that we received the best quality data, with a good balance of genders, backgrounds and ages. 

Meta allows youth audience targeting via age, gender and location - but not interests, behaviours, or Lookalike Audiences. One of our approaches was to focus on the relevant regions. We started with a broad Facebook audience across New Zealand. After two weeks, we refined geo targeting to better reach our intended audience. 

We focused on the North Island, especially Northland and Gisborne, to give Māori youth more opportunities to get involved with the survey. Decisions were made based on EHINZ data. 

In the last two weeks, we identified that women completed their surveys more than men. The study looks for a balanced sample group of males and females, so we adjusted the advertising to target males specifically.

Google Display Ads:

We harnessed display ads to reach young people via their interests. The survey ads were served to youth through popular gaming apps, like Word Cookies! and Number Match

To give young tangata whenua more opportunity to get involved with Te Ngāngara’s study, EHINZ data helped us understand Māori rangatahis’ locations and trending habits. 

A roadblock was precise age targeting. We couldn’t target audiences under 18 based on exact age. So, we asked people to indicate their age via simple call-to-action buttons on the website. We had a different CTA for each age bracket. 

In future Aro can apply valuable insights and key learnings from this campaign, when communicating with young people.

Ethical Considerations:

We adhered to Victoria University of Wellington’s respect for user privacy and targeted audiences without using cookies. Without retargeting, we still exceeded the target number of surveys completed! The solid hook of epic tech prizes, plus our agile audience targeting, resulted in ample engagement across regions. 

What Gen Z really want:

Te Ngāngara is open to Aro’s new ideas. We had pivoted the survey prize from supermarket vouchers to UE booms and wireless earbuds. The best-performing ads visually featured these gadgets. Evidently, sweet tech incentives motivated youth to do the survey.

For future campaigns, we recommended TikTok as a prime place to actively communicate with Gen Z. Especially as it’s early days, so the ad opportunities on TikTok are less costly.

Our Impact:

• 1.6k Surveys Completed

• 27% Māori Participants

• Survey Goers Keen For Focus Group Activities

This is the first time the team behind the “Te Ngāngara: Social Media and Digital Marketing” study used digital marketing. And they’ve told us they will absolutely do it again! 

Beyond survey responses, we’ve also had a fantastic outcome for future research. Through the survey, the team introduced the issue of limbic capitalism across Aotearoa.  After engaging with the digital campaign, more youth want to be involved in focus group sessions.

This six-week tactical campaign was the first stage of Te Ngāngara’s research. And the survey was just the beginning! Watch this space. 

Who is Te Ngāngara?
A team of researchers from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, Te Ropu Whariki and the University of Queensland.

Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Marsden Grant gives researchers the capability to build a stronger future, through discovery and knowledge. The “Te Ngāngara: Social Media and Digital Marketing” study is funded by the Marsden Grant.


“We would work with Aro Digital again because we now know what they do and how they do it - the power of the digital marketing that they implement. Aro Digital knew what we needed to get to young people, and where they’re at. They’re good at speaking their language! 

Aro understood that academic research can happen slowly compared to corporate business. Aro gets why the ethics process is important.

We’re a large bicultural team with Māori researchers, and the Aro team were really responsive and helpful with the questions they were asking. They were accommodating to our uniqueness.”

Antonia Lyons

Project Lead

Case Studies