Gen Z, more commonly known as digital natives and those born between 1996 and 2010, are soon to become the biggest cohort on the planet. While they may still be in second place for the largest impact on global spending (until 2026…), Gen Z will be setting the social media trends for 2022.
Trust in experts
Gen Z aren’t known for giving out their trust freely. In a report by Imagen Insights, it was revealed that 45% of Gen Z trust experts and scientists to provide honest information within mainstream media and on social media. Although this isn’t drastically high, it is when considering 0% of Gen Z trust brands to be honest on social media. This means brands have to find an alternative way to earn Gen Z’s trust—perhaps through KOL marketing. Using an expert will give brands the social proof and consumer confidence they are missing from creating or promoting their own content.
Video that engages
Given the popularity of short-form video content, it’s unsurprising that video ads are more likely to capture Gen Z’s attention than any other media format. Gen Z are 16% more likely to find video ads appealing when shopping for new products, when compared to other generations. As attention spans continue to dwindle, brands need to get to the point and engage faster than ever before. Currently sitting at a miniscule 8 seconds, Gen Z need to be engaged with a call-to-action or given the WOW-factor in order to finish watching an ad or video.
Creators are the new celebrities
While the impact of influencer marketing has been recognised for the past few years, its impact continues to rise within Gen Z; influencers and creators are the new celebrities. For Gen Z, young creators drive communities online, regardless of the number of followers they have. The importance of popularity is out the window; Gen Z want to connect through exchanging interests, helping new trends emerge—1 in 4 Gen Z agree that micro influencers are the most important when creating new trends. 83% of Gen Z believe that influencers and creators have the same, or even more, influence as major public figures including actors, musicians and reality stars.
The curiosity to explore
While Gen Z is becoming increasingly aware and conscious of overconsumption, they are still prey to the temptation of newness. Gen Z are incredibly curious and are more than willing to explore product options, especially if they are one of the first to try the product. Previous generations have typically found the products they like and stuck with them, but Gen Z aren’t showing great amounts of loyalty to products or brands, unless they feel a brand represents and matches their own values authentically.
Considered social commerce
While Gen Z are willing to open their wallets to new products and new shopping channels, every purchase is considered. With social commerce being led predominantly by Gen Z, the digital natives have the opportunity to discover, research and purchase from brands within the same application. As Gen Z have grown up with digital, they tend to gravitate towards the most seamless but engaging shopping journeys. Their adoption of social commerce means brands need to focus on accurately showing their brand personality, ethics, values and messaging through social media. Gen Z are passionate about social and environmental issues—they want to know the charities you donate to, how you are sustainable, and what social movements you support.
The demand for social justice
Gen Z are highly active in social justice and environmental conversations. Whether it’s second-hand shopping, cruelty free and clean skincare, or eco-friendly products, Gen Z want to support brands that offer a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle. Rather than caring just for themselves, Gen Z want to make the world a better place. Gen Z demand social justice and actively revolt against discrimination in any form. As more Gen Z grow into adults and are of legal voting age, we can expect their fight for justice to ramp up. Brands need to show their support and be transparent and authentic about their standing on social, environmental and political issues in order to engage and maintain Gen Z as customers.
Gen Z want to stand out. Having grown up with social media, they have been exposed to different styles, “cores”, and cultures. Pair this with access to countless shopping channels and “buy now, pay later” schemes, Gen Z have been able to evolve their own styles to stand out from the crowd. In order to capture Gen Z’s attention, brands need to do the same. Brands need to show Gen Z how their products or services will help Gen Z continue to make their own mark on the world. Brands seeking to target Gen Z should keep this in mind when brainstorming creative ideas for social media ads and campaigns.
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