6 Things Marketers Need to Know about Generation Z

By Kaylynn Chong


Image via StockSnap under CC0 1.0

Who is Generation Z? Anyone born between roughly 1995 and 2010.

You’ve likely already heard that this tech-savvy group has an attention span of eight seconds, but here are six more Gen Z statistics that might inform how you market to the cohort on social media.

1. Gen Z makes up around 26% of the U.S. population

Take a seat, Gen Y. Millennials might be the most researched generation to date, but Gen Z is here and they also have buying power. In fact, some of them are already old enough to be in college. Soon it won’t be long until they start career, families, and spending even more money.

2. Gen Z prefers social networks like Snapchat and Whisper over Facebook

Marketers are used to targeting Millennials on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It turns out their successors gravitate towards disappearing content platforms like Snapchat, and anonymous messaging networks like Whisper. According to the 2014 Facebook Demographic Report, 25 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds left Facebook in 2014.

This means that marketers who want to reach a younger audience will have to adapt their social strategy to include new networks.

Companies like Dove are already targeting Generation Z with ad campaigns on Whisper. Unlike a promoted ad or sponsored post, Whisper gives brands ownership of keywords—these are called ”brandwords.” Every time a user punches in words like “hair” and “hairstyle,” they are served Dove-branded backgrounds to use for their Whisper post.

3. The majority of Generation Z, 52%, uses social media for research assignments

A Pew Research Centre study shows that Gen Z is using social media to learn online. Now—more than simply a discovery tool for products and memes—Generation Z uses social media for working with classmates and as an education resource.

As more of Generation Z uses social media as a learning tool, brands can engage them by offering educational content. This works in favor of dedicated online learning organizations like Udacity, who partner with industry leaders to provide degree certification on topics like digital advertising and social media platform proficiency.

This is also good news for brands who are coming out with their own education tools and certifications—like Twitter Flight School or Pinterest Propel.

4. Generation Z is entrepreneurial. About 72% of the cohort hopes to own their own businesses, and 76% want to turn their hobbies into careers

A study released by Internships.com and research and consulting firm Millennial Branding shows that Generation Z prefers to be their own boss. Similar to Millennials, Gen Z won’t settle for anything less than doing what they love as a full-time gig.

Brands can support these budding entrepreneurs by offering tools, online certifications, or sponsorship programs like TOMS Social Enterprise and the Tory Burch Foundation.

Take Hootsuite’s CEO, Ryan Holmes, for example. He supports entrepreneurship with a program called The League of Innovations (LOI), created to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build the businesses of tomorrow.

5. YouTube is the most-used social media platform by 84% of Gen Zers

New research from strategy consulting firm Accenture points out that the next generation is watching a ton of video. And according to a report from Cisco, video will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019.

Obviously there’s huge potential for brands who have a social video strategy.

The good news is that even if you’re a small business owner with an iPhone, there’s a way to make video work for you. Nearly all major networks have adapted to providing video, live video, and looping video somehow—jumping on the social video train doesn’t have to be a high-production undertaking.

Want to take advantage of the popularity and effectiveness of social video? Here are a few resources to get you started.

6. In the U.S., 77% of Gen Zers say that brick-and-mortar stores is their preferred way to shop

According to a report from Accenture, the majority of Generation Z still enjoy visiting stores in-person.

Retailers can’t neglect physical stores or focus too heavily on ecommerce. But that also means brands should understand that the shopping experience is now a multi-channel event.

The retail experience now involves both online and offline. It can include several touch points—like a social media channel, online store, shopping app, email subscription, and then finally a storefront.

How can businesses make the best of both worlds? Some brands are already enhancing the physical shopping experience by reaching Generation Z through apps and other digital features while they shop in-store. For example, Sephora’s mobile app lets customers scan any item in-store. You can also use the app to book Sephora makeup consultations before visiting the retailer.

Gen Z is the next big thing. If brands want to keep up, they’ll have to revamp their marketing strategy, like collaborating with Gen Z across multiple—and potentially new—channels and devices. Brands will also have to offer new services—like online learning, crowd-sourcing, and retail apps to reach a generation that will continue to reshape the retail and marketing industry.

Connect with Generation Z—or whoever your target audience—using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can easily manage all your social channels, collect real-time data, and engage with your audience across networks.

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