Social media now plays a crucial role in all successful digital marketing strategies, and can unlock the door to virtually every audience. However, businesses looking to target consumers that fall into Gen Z – otherwise known as Generation Z – must pay even greater attention, as the demographic of teens and young adults embrace digital technology with even greater enthusiasm than those before them.
A deeper understanding of the unique relationship between social media and Generation Z can give modern businesses a huge advantage as they look to connect, interact, and ultimately sell their products to this demographic.
Take a closer look at the impact social media can have on Gen Z, with particular emphasis on the business perspective, now.
May 2019 updates
Global Web Index produced a report about what marketers need to consider about teenagers and social media. The report suggests that separating people into generations is much too vague and focuses on 16-18 year olds for the report. This is both a positive and negative approach for marketers. On the one hand, it gives more on an accurate insight into a specific audience but on the other hand, gives brands with a broader target audience much more to think about and consider.
The report denotes that 45% of 13-17 year olds say they’re online on a near constant basis. This is an outstanding figure and suggests that teenagers and gen Z are consuming even more than we could have imagined.
68% of 16-18 year olds also say they use social media whilst watching TV. The phenonemon of double screen time is huge now and it raises a question of how engaging your content needs to be in order to capture the attention of Gen Z consumers.
There are three pieces of solid advice from the report on how to market to 16-18 year olds on social media. This includes:
- Interacting directly with teenagers
- Creating more relevant and shareable content
- Respecting young person’s privacy
You can read the full report here.
The importance of social media to Gen Z
Social media is a big deal in 2018 and is undoubtedly here to stay throughout the foreseeable future. Facebook alone has more than one billion active users, with Instagram sharing over 95 million photos and videos every single day. While those stats do cover all audiences, they underline the phenomenal growth of social media in general.
Despite a growing concern of the potentially negative impacts, Generation Z is still very active. Dozens of social media platforms can be accessed via browsers and downloadable Apps, but the most significant ones are;
Google+ and LinkedIn do attract big audiences, but studies have found Generation Z prefer alternative social media channels.
Studies show that Gen Z uses their devices more than millennials and consumers born in previous eras. In fact, 45% of the young demographic is “almost constantly” on social media while another 44% check their streams several times per day. Essentially, then nine in ten are active on a daily basis.
Furthermore, Generation Z feels the pressures more than any other generation. They only are they pressured into using social media, but they also need to think about appearances. After all, image is everything for the younger demographic, which is why social media is such an integral factor. Filters and features that portray a better version of life than reality are more common than ever, but the demographic is fully aware of this.
Digital trends of Generation Z
Generation Z boasts the greatest natural understanding of the online world, and this shows in their interaction with online brands on and off of social media.
While they are often the first to embrace new concepts such as VR or interactive content, they are also the demographic that is most likely to want the chance to skip adverts. Ads that do not offer this option are likely to cause an adverse effect.
Conversely, though, brands that offer rewards for interaction can be looked upon favourably by the Gen Z audience base. Appreciating those habits is a vital precursor to building a social media strategy.
How does Generation Z interact with various social media platforms?
While the relationship between Gen Z and social media is clear to see. However, it’s equally important to understand that users of this demographic interact with different platforms in different ways – this is why such a large percentage of the audience is active with several accounts across multiple platforms.
The fact that 85% of this audience learns about products and brands via social media is supported by the fact that they may use several platforms throughout the various stages of their interactions with the companies they love.
This is why it’s so important to understand the interactions enjoyed with each platform.
Gen Z and Facebook
Facebook is the greatest social phenomenon of all. Perhaps a little surprisingly, then, over one in three consider themselves to be selective with what they post. Meanwhile, functional activities such as connecting with family and organising events remain the most popular uses for Facebook with this demographic.
However, they are 59% more likely to interact with brands via Facebook than Generation Y and older demographics. Therefore, businesses can use paid ads and great content to promote the personality of the brand as well as the products themselves.
Gen Z and Instagram
Instagram is the one social media platform where members of Gen Z are most self-conscious and will take time to perfect their look as well as the timing of their posts. However, they are still keen to use it as a tool to gain a more authentic insight into the lives of celebs and brands as well as their friends.
Given that the younger generation have shorter attention spans than older users, Instagram is an ideal platform for businesses to interact with this demographic via eye-catching photographs that get the conversation started.
Gen Z and Snapchat
Members of Generation Z are most likely to use Snapchat to connect with friends. From sharing their latest updates from their daily activities to communicating with people through private Snaps, it is seen as the quickest and most entertaining way to interact with other people within their demographic.
This sense of capturing the moment may limit the opportunities regarding traditional marketing ideas. However, encouraging users to include your brand in their stories (through custom Snapchat filters or simply by having products and brand items that users wish to show off) can work wonders.
Gen Z and Twitter
Twitter users within Generation Z primarily use Twitter to follow celebrities and keep up to date with the latest trends. The public nature of posts often leads to teens and young adults taking greater responsibility with their own posts. However, they are still very active as readers even if they are not Tweeting as often as they publish updates elsewhere.
From a business perspective, this is still a fantastic platform to gain increased visibility. In addition to adverts, using polls and competitions can encourage a greater level of interaction to keep the brand fresh in the user’s mind.
Brands should appreciate the need to tailor content for each platform while also thinking about the time of day that content is posted. While image is important, businesses should embrace this in a positive fashion by aiming for fun rather than perfection.
Gen Z and it’s relationship with YouTube
Generation Z do use social media platforms to interact with friends, keep up to date with gossip, and post their own status updates. Nevertheless, this demographic is also the most likely to use social media as a way to fill time.
This is hardly surprising as they have more time to kill than older generations, but is still a noteworthy statistic for business owners and marketing teams alike, highlighting the need to give YouTube the attention it deserves.
YouTube has a huge influence on Generation Z, and the following statistics underline this perfectly;
- 85% of generation Z uses YouTube, making it the most popular platform by far.
- 54% of generation Z will talk about products they’ve seen mentioned by their favourite YouTubers.
- 42% of generation Z have purchased a product (at least partly) because of a YouTube endorsement.
- 35% of generation Z have visited a place based on YouTube content.
- Generation Z users spend an average of 23 hours per week streaming online content.
Social media usage on other platforms can vary between the sexes, but both boys and girls within the Generation Z category are fond of YouTube with 66% of females and 64% of males subscribing to their favourite channels.
While there are some noticeable differences in preferred content (beauty tutorials are enjoyed by 47% of girls and just 1% of boys), the fact that Generation Z actively uses YouTube on such a frequent basis cannot be ignored by marketers.
Tellingly, only 39% believe that there are too many adverts on the platform. Therefore, YouTube can be an ideal place to promote traditional PPC adverts. However, creative marketers will want to focus on creative content.
Adding YouTube content to the marketing strategy can be hugely beneficial for many reasons, especially when focused on the Gen Z demographic. The incentives include;
Visual media is easier to digest.
- Visual content is far more memorable.
- YouTube content gives a far greater insight into the brand, product, or service on offer.
- YouTube’s comments section encourages interaction, including shares and tagging.
- Fans are likely to subscribe and watch future videos.
Marketing teams can create their own content, or team up with content creators (influencers) that already boast a large following from the Gen Z audience. The latter option almost guarantees that the content will strike a chord with users while also saving the time and hassle of making videos and finding the audience.
Generation Z is perhaps more sceptical than any other demographic, though. After all, they have grown up on digital media and know the basics of how digital marketing works. So, it’s vital that any partnership with YouTube influencers is authentic. If users do not believe that the content creator uses the product in question, they will not be swayed by the promotion. Fact.
Still, when done well, YouTube is the perfect platform for reaching Generation Z time and time again.