19th May 2019

Gen Z & Social Media- should Digital Marketers be worried?

First off, we should define what a member of ‘Generation Z’ is. According to Forbes, “it is a person born between 1995 and 2010” (Forbes), meaning that gradually, over the next few years, Generation Z will start to enter the workforce. Typically, they are known as being a tech savvy generation, having grown up with huge technological developments, as well as the creation and growth of social media.

Which Platforms do Gen Z prefer?

In the context of social media, a report was published that featured a poll undertaken by members of Gen Z, detailing the social media platforms that they use. Instagram was the most popular with 80% of those polled using the platform regularly. Snapchat came second with 71%, followed by WhatsApp (68%), Facebook messenger (60%), and then Facebook polled very poorly at only 58%.

This report should highlight real concerns for Facebook as it indicates that younger generations are moving away from the platform, into more visually stimulating platforms, i.e. Instagram and Snapchat. So, what does this mean for digital marketers wanting to target Gen Z?

Firstly, and most importantly, it proves without a doubt that Facebook isn’t the platform of choice for Generation Z and therefore, any advertising spend on this platform is highly ineffective if trying to target younger generations. The move toward visually stimulating platforms also gives digital marketers an insight into how to target Gen Z effectively and what is mostly likely to capture and hold their attention.

Instagram Shopping

As Gen Zers start to enter the workforce, their disposable income is increasing as they tend to be living at home, saving the money they would have spent on rent, food or bills. This results in more luxury purchases i.e. expensive technology, clothes and other personal items. Combined with the growing presence of Instagram influencers, means that Generation Z are more likely to turn to social media to shop. The graph below shows the percentage of each generation who use social media to shop. It shows that Gen Z, more than any other generation, are far more likely to turn to social media platforms.

This is being facilitated by a new feature on Instagram that turns the social media platform into a personalised digital mall. Brands and influencers are able to tag their clothes, meaning purchases can be made through the platform. As this is a fairly new feature, we as digital marketers are unable to say with certainty how successful this platform will be however, a further report revealed that 92% of Gen Z have some sort of digital footprint. Therefore, with Instagram being the most popular of platforms for Gen Z, we can have a certain level of confidence in its success rate as a marketing platform for targeting younger generations.

The graph above shows where Gen Z consumers have shopped over the past 6 months and social platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram have more than double the traffic of a physical store, confirming the influence and significance of social media for Gen Z.

Overall, as preferences and influences change with each generation, it is imperative for digital marketers to target each generation on their preferred platforms. This means that the development of Instagram marketing and visually focused adverts is central, if not key, to successful Gen Z marketing. Therefore, Social Media is not a concern for digital marketers, but rather a tool to be used meaning, it might be time to take to take the camera out!

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