The keys to reaching Gen Z on social media, streaming platforms

Gen Z will make up 20% of the US population this year, about the same percentage as millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers, per the US Census Bureau. Marketers must recognize that what works for older demographics won’t necessarily work for the first digitally native generation.

Social butterfly: Gen Z consumers worldwide spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on their smartphones, with social media being one of the prime uses, according to data from Adobe and Gen Z-focused research firm Knit.

Gen Z uses social platforms in different ways. For example:

  • YouTube allows Gen Zers to keep up with their favorite content creators, watch music videos, and learn new things.
  • TikTok surfaces funny or entertaining videos and fills up Gen Zers’ spare time.
  • Gen Zers use Instagram to stay up-to-date with fashion trends, though they say the platform can get boring or feel overly curated.
  • Though they feel Facebook is outdated, many Gen Zers use it to connect with family and friends and stay on top of current events.
  • Snapchat is the go-to messaging app for Gen Zers, used as a way to document their lives.

Put into action, a typical Gen Z consumer might use these platforms like this:

“Let’s say [a Gen Z consumer] is going to a Taylor Swift concert on Friday,” Aneesh Dhawan, co-founder and CEO of Knit, said during a recent Tech Talk Webinar. “Throughout the week, they might be listening to their favorite Taylor Swift album on YouTube as they’re working, studying, hanging out with their friends. Then they’ll switch over to Snapchat as they’re getting ready for the concert, TikTok while they’re in the Uber on the way to the concert, and then taking Snapchat stories and Instagram stories to document their favorite portions of the concert. The next morning, they’ll go through their camera roll and curate their pictures and share that on Instagram.”

Understanding these platforms’ use cases will help marketers reach Gen Z by offering a different and personalized experience for each channel, Dhawan said.

Against the stream: Content quality and cost are the two most important factors for Gen Z when choosing a streaming service, said Dhawan. Other top considerations include frequent new releases, an easy-to-use interface, use on unlimited devices, and niche content.

Streaming platforms looking to engage Gen Z consumers should prioritize two things: personalization and the digital experience.

“At the end of the day, streaming is a personal thing [for] Gen Zers; they’re more likely to watch it on personal devices [and] they’re more likely to watch it alone,” said Dhawan. “They really want content tailored to what they’re looking for at that moment.”

Watch the full webinar.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

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