Generation Z Lead The Way For Social Media’s Future

6 min read

Avatar Sophie Rizan

15th July, 2019

Content Marketing,Online marketing,Social Media

As the population grows, we label generations defined by their birth year. Regardless of your age, you will always belong to the generation you were born into. But what separates generation Y from X and what even is Gen Z? More importantly, how do we market to them and fill their digital needs?

2019 Generation Breakdown

  • Baby Boomers: baby boomers were born between 1944 and 1964. They’re currently between 55-75 years old
  • Gen X: Gen X was born between 1965 and 1979 and are currently between 40 and 54 years old
  • Gen Y: Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently between 25 and 39 years old
  • Gen Z: Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between 1995 and 2015. They are currently between 4 and 24 years old

How Are New Generational Cohorts Affecting Digital Marketing?

You’ve probably heard of a few Gen Z myths flying about the place. They don’t check their email, they have the attention span of a gnat and they’re killing any business that isn’t online. In fact, Gen Z consumers are one of the hardest cohorts to target. You’ll only have a few seconds to convince Gen Z consumers that your ad, blog post or social media carousel is worth their time.

Next time you come to plan your marketing strategy, have no fear. We’ve done a little research to demystify marketing to a new group of consumers.

By 2020, Gen Z is expected to account for 40% of all consumers on the planet. Some marketing experts even believe that Generation Z will be one of the most powerful consumer forces in the market, pushing buying decisions and changing the norm. Gen Zs are typically seen as more realistic and independent. They are privy to sharing more time-sensitive and private content.

Email Marketing For Generation Z

Before you decide which digital channel to invest the most marketing budget into, you should first understand how to best target your Generation Z consumers.

According to a recent study, 58% of Gen Z check their email notifications every day. 23% said they check them more than once a day and only over 12% check their email a couple of times a week. The majority of this generation receive 20 emails or less per day and compared to other generations, this statistic is significantly less, meaning you’ve got less noise to cut through.

What do they use email for? Surprisingly, most Gen Z consumers use email for personal communication, closely followed by work and school. Email marketing remains an effective way to engage with Gen Z and the number of email users will continue to increase as they get older and enter the workforce.

The bottom line is that email marketing is still respected in many ways. Businesses now use them as a layered platform, supporting their integrated digital marketing campaign. Email marketing allows brands to personally communicate with the consumer, adding to their relationship building journey.

Successful Gen Z Email Marketing Tactics

  • Personalisation
  • Interactivity
  • User-generated content to encourage conversation and relationship building
  • Eye-catching graphics, imagery, GIFs and video
  • Promotions, special offers and incentives
  • Company updates, blog posts, news articles and resources

Gen Z’s Favourite Social Media Platforms

Social media usage continues to evolve at a rapid rate. As Generation Z continues to flood into the working world, its applications for both users and brands who wish to take advantage of it come into much sharper focus.

  • 85% of Gen Z consumers say they use YouTube and 32% said they use it more than any other social platform
  • 69% of Gen Z consumers use Snapchat every day
  • 72% of Genz Z consumers use Instagram every day and 15% said they use it more than any other social media platform
  • 38% of Gen Z user Facebook and its instant messaging service

Whilst the use of Facebook amongst this generational cohort is declining, the ‘death’ of Facebook in the media has been greatly exaggerated. The post-millennial generation uses different social platforms in layers with greater purpose and with more specific intent, rather than binge-worthy social zombies.

Facebook Use Among Other Generations

Research shows that Facebook is still ever popular with under 30s when it comes to real-time updates or organising events. Older generations appreciate Facebook’s broad functionality and social features, including messaging, photo sharing and news updates.

For the younger demographic, the Cambridge Analytica scandal was a significant turning point for Facebook. Generation Z is becoming increasingly aware of how much their data is worth and there is a growing fear of how data is being used.

How is Facebook adapting to the change?As long as the consumer is developing, the giant social platform will also have to roll with the times. In April, Facebook launched its new desktop and app experiences called FB5. They are describing it a “fresh” design that is “simpler, faster, more immersive.”

Along with Facebook’s efforts to channel safety and privacy, the biggest development is in Groups. They are making it easier for users to discover new groups, participate in groups, and all sorts of other features. Additionally, a new opt in ‘Meet New Friends’ feature is coming, helping users meet new friends.

Marketing To Different Generations

The main differences between Generation Z and millennial generations are how they perceive social media.

  • Millennials love to share vs. Gen Z who prefer to be entertained
  • 79% of Millennials watch and respond to online ads vs. 59% of Gen Zs
  • Millennials have the average attention span of 12 seconds, rather than 8 seconds for Gen Z
  • Millennials are more price conscious than Gen Z, but also more brand loyal
  • Gen Z naturally has a much higher bounce rate as they are used to faster loading websites and technology
  • Gen Z is more open to experimentation as well as entrepreneurial with most having a “side hustle”
  • Millennials compare themselves more to peers and suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) culture whereas Gen Z values individuality

Latest And Greatest Gen Z Marketing Successes

How are big brands already tackling this new generation? Giants such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Gilette are adapting their digital marketing strategies with interactive storytelling, attempting to get their ads seen where it matters.

HBO And Netflix Test Interactive Storytelling

Netflix has recently released some interactive series on their streaming platform that allows you to essentially choose your own adventure. The latest DreamWorks production of Puss in Boots allows young consumers to select from different story making decisions to decide how the film develops. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is leading the way for interactive science fiction films, viewers make decisions for the main character and adapt the viewing to their fantasy.

“This kind of storytelling has been around for a long time, and keeps popping up every once in a while.” explains Michael Morowitz, Executive Technology Director, R/GA Chicago.

Boomf User Generated Content Marketing

This upcoming and popular brand specialises in exploding gift cards. Their marketing strategy is, of course, made up of consumer reactions. It’s a simple user-generated content strategy that involves their audience heavily, build brand relationships and trust online through social sharing.

Barcelona Football Club

Sports brands tend to rely heavily on user generated content from the passion of their loyal fans. Barcelona Football Club recently exploited this strategy and created a unique way that fans could share their experiences with the brand.

In partnership with messaging app Viber and consumer platform, Vivoom, Barcelona FC enabled fans to experience ‘signing a contract’ with the club, as well as what it is like to be in a press conference and walk out to adoring crowds. The campaign strengthened engagement and loyalty by giving fans that are unable to visit Camp Nou a slice of the action.

Need Our Help?

Gen-Z wants to see real and relatable people in marketing campaigns. The people in your ads need to share the same struggles or have the same beliefs as your Generation Z audience.

Whilst often lumped together as socially and mobility addicted generations, there are quite distinct differences between generation Z cohort and millennials. Knowing which platforms, messages and visuals they prefer goes a long way to help capture their attention on social media.

For more information on social media marketing, advice or consultancy, get in touch with our team at Digital Ethos for the latest data-driven insights and tactics.

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