How Should Marketers Prepare for Generation Z's Social Media Habits?

Sep 10, 2019 - 5 min read
How Should Marketers Prepare for Generation Z's Social Media Habits?
Generation Z /jeh·nuh·rei·shn zed/

The generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century, perceived as being familiar with the Internet from a very young age.

Brands targeting Gen Z need to look beyond the confines of traditional segmentation; the ultimate priority always has to be on alignment that helps us cultivate relationships with youth culture - not just organize it. - Gregg L. Witt


Born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, generation of the children of Millennials make up the 13-21 age group and almost one-third of the population today, and they will become the largest living generation very soon. This means that they are no longer the consumers or employees of the future. Generation Z (Gen Z) has entered the marketing arena. They are already in the game!

To know Generation Z better, you can check our article, Gen Z Persona Analysis: Who are they? where we talked about the characteristics, demographics, and interests of Gen Z. Today, we’ll be concentrating on their social media habits, why these habits are crucial for marketers, and the ways to use them for better marketing strategies.

Why is it Essential to Know Gen Z’s Social Media Habits?

Unlike the previous generations, Gen Z is born into the digital world. This means that they can’t remember a time before social media. For them, there is no difference between a “real life” and a “digital life.” Their identity, characteristics, self-worth, and spending habits are influenced heavily by social media. The extent of this influence is quite shocking, according to a national study by The Center for Generational Kinetics.

The research shows that 42% of Gen Z admits that social media has a direct impact on how they feel about themselves. There’s no other generation that is influenced this much by the digital world. The same percentage of Gen Z also thinks that social media affects how others see them. 37% of them admit that social media has a direct impact on their happiness, and 39% of them say that their self-esteem relies heavily on what’s been happening in the digital world.

What are Gen Z’s Social Media Habits?

Now that we understand why it is essential to know Gen Z's social media habits, let's talk about what these habits are.

  • 51% of Gen Z says they use social media almost constantly. They are the generation that spends more time on social media than any others. 
  • The primary function of social media for Gen Z is content consumption, not connecting with friends. 
  • More than 90% of Gen Z consumes brand content. And almost 60% of them admit to buying a product just because they saw an influencer or a celebrity using it.
  • Paid advertising has more effect on Gen Z than organic advertising. More than half of Gen Z admits to having bought a product they first saw through paid advertising. They say paid ads influence their perception of what product is cool.
  • Their top-3 social media channels are YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram. 57% of Gen Z still uses Facebook daily. However, most of them rarely post on Facebook. Instead, they use it to connect with other generations. Their parents and grandparents, for example.
  • They think YouTube, Google, Netflix, Xbox, and Oreo are “cool.”
  • Their favorite brands on social media are Apple, Nike, Adidas, Forever 21, Gucci, and Fashion Nova.
  • Although seeming addicted heavily to social media, Gen Z is aware of its adverse effects. They are willing to take a break from the digital world if their emotional well-being is damaged because of it. Gen Z is also aware that the most significant negative effects of social media on them are fear of missing out, insecurity, and low self-esteem. On the other hand, they do know that social media can also increase their self-esteem by allowing them to make new friends.

What to Do and What to Avoid When Marketing to Generation Z?

1. Be inspiring, but not overwhelming

The habits we’ve just talked about should be enough to steer your marketing strategy for Gen Z. Keep in mind that Gen Z is aware that social media can be both inspiring and overwhelming, though. When marketing to them, you should be positive in your messages but deliver your content in bite-sized portions. To inspire Gen Z, you should keep in mind that they are activists, travel-lovers, animal-lovers, LGBTQ+ friendly, entrepreneurs -mainly YouTubers- and into fashion. These are their main characteristics. Just keep in mind that they value their time, so keep your content (preferably video) short.

2. Be careful about data collection

41% of Gen Z are against their data being collected online. It’s no surprise that Facebook and many other companies started to have legal problems with institutions in the US, and in Europe recently, although they have been doing it for a long time. Since Gen Z is more conscious about this, you should consider trying anonymous profiling tools. For example, Kimola’s AI-based Customer Research Platform is a perfect help if you are marketing to Gen Z. It’s a data analytics platform that profiles thousands of people anonymously in real-time through their social media activity and helps you understand your customers better.

3. Don’t rely on old data

Everything changes very fast in the digital world. This makes data to age fast. Since social media heavily influences Gen Z, data on them age even quicker. This means that when marketing to Gen Z, you should keep your data up to date. Kimola's AI-based Customer Research Platform not only allows you to know more about Gen Z's social media habits but also to keep up with them since it uses real-time profiling.

If you have further questions, you can always reach us via Contact Sales Page, or you can book a call via Calendly.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

We gather global consumer research news and share them with 3,000+ marketing and research professionals worldwide.