It’s time to rethink our approach to Gen Z

Here’s why

An insightful new study by marketing specialists Jaywing has revealed that brands need to rethink how they interact with Gen Z on social media. The research highlights that Gen Z are highly evolved social media users who are astutely conscious about privacy and have high standards for the content they are prepared to share publicly.

  • Two-thirds (73 per cent) of 16 – 21-year-olds feel swamped by ads in their social feeds
  • More than half (63 per cent) prefer to only see ads from brands they already follow on social media
  • Less than one in five (16 per cent) of Gen Z think adverts they see on social media are relevant

The study finds that 63 per cent of Gen Z prefer to only see content or ads from brands they already follow on social media, highlighting the need to be more careful when marketing to new audiences. Content must be highly targeted and relevant, not just to the individual and to the moment, but also to the platform of delivery.

However, Gen Z value the role of brands on social when they are authentic and personalised, with more than half (60 per cent) of respondents saying they are more likely to share content they like or feel strongly about.

Two thirds of respondents (73 per cent) say they see too many adverts in their social feeds, and only 16 per cent feel that ads they see are relevant to them. This highlights the importance of context and relevancy for this generation and the fact that the overall targeting of ads and brand content needs a dedicated social plan. 

As well as valuing relevance, Gen Z prize their own personal right to privacy. Nearly two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents said they use privacy settings on social media, and value their privacy over ‘likes’ or post engagement from strangers. The study also finds that Gen Z update their dark social channels (such as Snapchat) more than twice as frequently as their broadcast channels (such as Twitter and Facebook). In addition, 55 per cent say they’re more likely to share content through a messaging app than on their newsfeeds.

Brian Taylor, Managing Director at Jaywing, said:“This research highlights the importance for brands to get their advertising right. It’s vital to tailor the approach for the channel, and create authentic content that users will want to share online both in public and private feeds.

“Being brought up in the digital age has made Gen Z less tolerant of irrelevant advertising, and far more precious about quality and honesty. If the content is good, the sharing will come naturally without the need for invasive adverts.”

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • 88 per cent of Gen Z think it is generally unacceptable to use a smartphone during family time.
  • 45 per cent feel like Snapchat could have negative implications for their and their friends’ relationships
  • Family remain the most constant influence throughout various Gen Z life decisions, present in the top three influences in all scenarios listed

Jaywing commissioned YouGov to conduct the research amongst 1,000 16 to 21-year-olds in July 2017 on brands, social media, their priorities in life and more. Access the full Jaywing Gen Z report here: www.jaywing.com/genz

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