A Download on Gen Z from L&S’ Gen Zers
- 5 Min Read
Generation Z recently took over the top spot for the highest generational population, beating Baby Boomers by about 20 million people. Although it’s a young generation (ranging from kids as young as eight to young adults as old as 24), it shouldn’t be overlooked by marketers, advertisers or business owners.
Gen Z is a unique cohort; it’s made up of tech-focused, financially driven people who have an even shorter attention span than Millennials. And Gen Z can’t be effectively targeted in the same way as older generations.
Want to understand Generation Z better? You have L&S’ team of (Gen Z) interns here to walk you through what you need to know about our generation, from how we use social media, buy products, consume media, prefer to work and more. Because what would be a better way to learn about Generation Z than getting the info firsthand from L&S’s own Gen Zers?
As we say, #1 in our hearts and our screen time. With aesthetically pleasing feed posts and real-time stories, Instagram is only increasing in usage among Gen Zers. Instagram is a part of our personal brand, but it’s also where we interact with the most businesses and advertisements. Most Gen Zers will interact with brands on Instagram, as long as it matches our feed aesthetic.
Basically, Snapchat is the new phone number. With the easy-to-use Snap code, we can instantly get people’s contact info with the click of a button. And the app makes it simple to add and remove people from seeing what we post. Since content disappears after 24 hours, this is where the day-to-day life experiences live. Gen Zers also appreciate the ability to save our snaps and access memories later.
We log onto Twitter to access a variety of content, whether it’s a funny, viral meme or quick news. It’s the best place for unfiltered content from our friends, brands or celebrities. We log onto Twitter when we need a good laugh. Twitter is the least used social platform by Gen Z, but 45% of our peeps are still actively using it.
Although our generation may like to complain about Facebook, we’re still using the platform. Gen Zers use Facebook to post life updates to friends and family and to store photos. From events, clubs and other organizations, it’s the best place for groups to communicate in an organized fashion. Social media “stalking” is also frequent on this platform, to “get the dirt” on people. And as thrifty shoppers, Facebook Marketplace has proven to be a prime spot to get the deals.
AKA, Visual Supply Company — the platform that is all about the artsy aesthetic, and one that’s a little more scandalous than other platforms. Although it is a social media platform, there are no numbers (no likes, comments, reposts, etc.) behind the posts. No clout to be gained from this app. It’s mostly used as an Instagram photo editing tool, but you can post the photo to your VSCO feed as well. Without a VSCO link in an Instagram bio, though, good luck finding anyone you know. The term “vsco girl” is given to girls that follow the most basic trends/styles on this app and avoid coming up with their own original content.
The newest platform and one Gen Z is spending a lot of time on. It can be a black hole thanks to the For You page that keeps users scrolling for hours. TikTok consists of fast-paced video content and is a mix between actual information and complete nonsense. TikTok opens the door to a lot of new trends. But since there are so many viral videos and people remaking them, this app isn’t as concerned with originality as other platforms.
This platform is strictly professional and the one we’re most unfamiliar with, or really the one you’ll find the least amount of Gen Zers using as the oldest part of our generation is just entering the workforce. Gen Z uses it to connect with potential employers/recruiters, so maintaining a good image on the platform is important.
Inside a store is where you’ll most likely find Gen Z shopping for the latest trends. The time spent shopping in a physical store is a way to disconnect from technology, something that is an extension of Gen Z’s life. Thrift stores and trendy fast-fashion clothing stores are popular among our generation because we would rather spend less money for pieces we love.
60% of Gen Z claims price as the highest driver of what brands we’ll purchase from. Because of this, brand loyalty doesn’t affect a lot of Gen Zers. If we do choose to support a brand, it’s because the company’s values match our own.
Subscription services are popular because, although we may want to go into a store to find our next clothing item, the convenience of subscription services is appealing. Subscriptions are personalized and interactive, something Gen Z appreciates when purchasing. But with so many services to choose from, Gen Z is picky about who we subscribe to and where our money goes.
Our main sources of entertainment, other than our phones and social media platforms, are Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. These supply us with trending shows, movies, how-to videos, etc. — all at our own convenience.
For music, a majority of Gen Z uses Apple Music or Spotify, mainly because these platforms allow us to choose our music and create playlists. Apple Music is good for those who want control over a personal library and like constantly adding to playlists. Spotify is playlist-orientated and delivers customized playlists based on listening habits. These features allow users to discover new music that is similar to what’s already in our libraries. Apple Music has made strides, but Spotify still remains supreme among Gen Z.
Podcasts are also becoming more popular with the Gen Z crowd. With the wide variety of options, between entertainment and educational, there’s truly a podcast out there for everyone.
Gen Z entering the workforce might be a scary thought for some employers, but it should be seen as an opportunity to gain fresh perspective and alternative thinking. Just as there was a shift in the workplace when Millennials entered, the same will go for Gen Z.
This shift will be more focused on work-life balance. The average 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday, chained to a desk job doesn’t appeal to our generation, and businesses should take note. Having a workspace where we feel we can roam around to collaborate with others yet have the option to sneak away to our own quiet space (work from a coffee shop) is what will help keep Gen Zers freshly motivated. In addition, a greater emphasis on retention efforts is something companies are going to have to look into. 61% of Gen Zers plan to leave current jobs in the next two years.
Even though it may seem Generation Z is asking a lot out of employers, we do work exceptionally hard, love a challenge and want the ability to take responsibility and ownership for the work we’re doing.
HOW TO MARKET TO US
Gen Z has grown up in two market shifts, the 2008 recession and the most recent COVID-19 pandemic. These changes in the market have made Gen Z more financially focused and practical when spending money.
Reaching a generation that has grown up with technology at our fingertips can be challenging. Gen Z is highly receptive to ads and can spot one a mile away, then we avoid them. We appreciate marketing that uses videos and influencers that make the brand and product relevant to us. Gen Z’s attention span is short, so you need to be interesting to be relevant.
More than 69% of Gen Z said we would share personal information with companies to get a better customer experience. We grew up with technology, so we’re more likely to interact with brands, companies and influencers to get a curated online experience that includes our likes and interests.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Now that we’ve given you a little background on our generation, what does it mean? And why is it important? Well to give a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): to effectively reach Generation Z, you need short content that’s engaging and personable to us. And it needs to fit into our feeds and timelines organically. We want ads that don’t feel like ads. This may mean getting a little innovative with your next marketing strategy. Step outside the box. Get to know us as an audience. If you try something new, we’ll not only likely notice but also appreciate it.