Social Media Marketing

10 Weird Media Facts About Gen Z and Millennials (Part 1)

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on media habits among Millennials and Gen Zs.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on media habits among Millennials and Gen Zs – if you have already read this and want to read part 2, click here. How do Millennials use social media? How can we reach Gen Zs? Who are Gen Zs?

Photo of a three people outside a fence

Millennials and Gen Zs are two of the most baffling yet valuable audiences to reach. They form the next generation of most businesses’ revenue and survival. They’re not the same – especially in the way they consume media. The media owners know this – and that is why Facebook allowed targeting of users as young as 13 years old as of 2017. We covered how they are different in our article about Gen Z vs Millennials, but for easy reference, it is commonly agreed that Millennials are born between 1981 and 1996 while Gen Zs are born between 1997 until today. It is important to note that a consensus has not been reached on the ending birth year of Gen Zs. That in mind, we’ve researched the most interesting media habits about Millennials and Gen Zs to share with you. After taking a short survey in the office, it seemed that everyone wants to find out more about Gen Zs, so we’ll start with them.

Gen Zs Acknowledge the Negative Side of Social Media

Black and white photo of a man using his phone

“They’re always on their phones” – sound familiar? It’s not wrong, Gen Zs are always on their phones, but for some reason, we’ve equated that to indulge in social media. While this decade has seen the advent of social media from Instagram, Snapchat, Vine (#rip) to TikTok, Origin has found that up to 41% of Gen Zs experience negative emotions simply by being on this platform. In fact, 1 in 5 feel like they were missing out while almost 2 in 5 have had their self-esteem hurt or felt insecure. It’s not just a self-reflection, 70% say people their age are too distracted by social media. Is this the end of social media? Not by a long shot. Gen Zs still believe that the pros (such as making it easier to connect with their friends) outweigh the cons. This just means that they are aware of the negatives and marketers should let Gen Zs know that we know too.

Short Attention Span ≠ Lazy

Gen Zs have an attention span of 8 seconds compared to Millennials’ 12s. While both numbers are short, that’s a 33% decrease! It’s easy for us to conclude that Gen Zs are lazy based on that statistic –  when in fact they simply process digital information very fast. Gen Zs grew up with digital devices. While we spend time trying to figure out the functions of a new application, they have already begun scrutinising the benefits. The same goes for media, thumb-stopping content is more essential than ever. It’s no surprise that TikTok grew 188 million new users (or 70%) in just Q1 of 2019.

Don’t be fooled by their disdain for long-form content. The short attention span of Gen Zs are merely a challenge for marketers to create better, more impactful content for the right platform. Need some inspiration on how to make great insta-stories? Have a look at this list compiled by Buffer which includes brands such as NASA, GoPro and even the Olympics.

Gen Z Prefers Watching TV than Using Their Laptops

Photo of a TV display

This isn’t so much an anecdote as much it is a startling piece of data. According to VisionCritical, Gen Zs average 13.2 hours of TV usage a week compared to 10.6 hours on the laptop. While it is not surprising that this is less than Millennials who average 14.8 hours of TV a week, it was surprising that Gen Zs used their laptops less than Gen Xs and Millennials. Does this mean marketers should pour their money into expensive TV spots? No. But this means 2 things. 1) Marketers should view Gen Zs as more than single medium individuals. 2) Marketers should take into consideration the lack of laptop/desktop usage when creating user experiences. (P.S. Gen Zs spent 15.4 hours on mobile a week)

Gen Zs Share More on Dark Social

For definition – “dark social” is any media form that cannot be tracked accurately. Think WhatsApp, Telegram or even Facebook Messenger. Now think about the last time you shared something through those channels versus your Facebook or Instagram feed. Can’t remember? Neither can Gen Zs. Dark social is the new currency of shareability, with Gen Zs posting twice as much on dark social channels versus public socials. Many digital publications have acknowledged this, incorporating dark social sharing buttons into their interface. Programmatic media company RadiumOne estimates that 69% of sharing globally is now done on dark social. What about Gen Zs? We think receiving an average of 3000 text messages a day is sign enough to show that dark social is prevalent among them. The implication of this is simple: marketers need to create content that sparks conversations. From writing to design, a piece of content that yells to the reader: “my friend needs to know this” will only yield you positive results.

Offline Is Queen (OOH to be exact…)

“Offline is dead, let’s go digital” – that is not always the case. 84% of Gen Zs pay attention to out-of-home advertising (OOH) because they find it relaxing according to to Kantar Millward Brown. Interestingly, the key uniqueness of digital – tracking, is the exact reason why Gen Zs love OOH. Gen Zs feel that unlike digital ads where they are being tracked, viewing OOH is fully under their control. This is why globally Netflix has invested more in OOH advertising over the years.

It’s not just the preference for OOH, Neilsen has found out that Gen Zs who view OOH ads are 48% more likely to click on a digital ad when they see it at home. Not convinced? Then check out why the #1 OOH player in the world Clear Channel built a partnership with TAPTAP 2 years ago to enable retargeting of digital ads to those who have seen their OOH ones.

Both Millennials and Gen Zs have media habits that go against the grain, click here to read on about Millennials.

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