We are now seeing a new generation of people online and visiting our sites but what do we know about this generation? Is your marketing strategy aligned for this new wave of people? How do they differ from previous generations such as millennials and generation X? Well, ten to 15 years ago we had the same challenge and we will face it again in the next ten to 15 years, so we have to learn from the data we have and the behaviours we see.
First of all, we need to understand the difference between generation Z compared to the generations before them. In the next ten years, we are going to see more and more online activity from this generation. Unlike the generations before, gen Zs were born into a world of technology and have little or no idea of life before the internet.
Gen X and millennials have grown up with technology in their lives, more so for millennials and in 2004 we saw the birth of Facebook and by 2006 nearly every millennial was using it. Over the years we’ve seen this expand into gen X and then into to the baby boomers. Today, based on recent studies, Facebook’s highest percentage of users are baby boomers. Over the last 15 years, we have seen a big shift in generations using this platform, it has moved backwards in generations and now millennial parents are the main users of this platform. The question is, where will Facebook be in the next 15 years? Facebook saw that it was not the future and in 2012 created Instagram and the year after that it created Snapchat, both of which are highly used by generation Z.
In 2019 we saw a huge wave of gen Zs using TikTok, this platform is mainly used by the second wave of gen Zs. Over the next few years, we will learn more about this platform and how its audience grows.
Through Instagram, we’ve seen the birth of influencer marketing and the power it brought to the retail industry. When I was growing up it was all about being a football player or a sports player, today generation Z want to be either a YouTuber, Vlogger or an Instagram influencer. We have seen the affect influencers have on the retail industry from people like Kim Kardashian, with over 160 million followers, to micro-influencers who have 25k followers.
We know gen Z consume their information through mobile, spending on average five hours a day connected. For this generation speed is everything, they expect instant chat functions, fast-loading apps and websites otherwise they will leave. They have a shorter attention span than other generations, meaning we have less time to get their attention. They like to see real people rather than celebrities, this is why influencer marketing is a fast-growing market. They want to see real people using a product or doing a job, this is where trust is built. We see it all the time on YouTube, kids watching kids playing with toys or playing computer games, their opinion matters and it’s trusted.
So how can us as marketers use this information? We can see that gen Z consume information and interact online, using YouTube and Instagram, Snapchat, therefore, we must use this information to plan our campaigns and strategies.