How Gen Z’s Social Media Evolution Challenges Marketers
When social media was first popularized, new users flocked to these sites where they found groups of people with whom to share their interests, ideas, and experiences. The ability to find likeminded people has been the lure of social media thus far in society. However, in the recent years of Gen Z’s coming of age, social media sites and apps have taken on new identities to attract fresher audiences.
Over time brands have been able to utilize the platforms’ features to be able to connect with users and market their products successfully. Because of this, users now see regularly customized advertisements for brands and products when they view the site or app. These ads have been a part of the social media culture for many years now, and Gen Z has become accustomed to viewing them and interacting with the brands through social media
The growing number of users on social media has created pressure on brands to become very creative in the content they produce in order to attract attention fro
m users. Entertaining users has been the standard of excellence for creators for many years now, and Gen Z has become attuned to judge content based on that quality almost exclusively. Content that is inherently information often gets passed on in favor of content that is more overtly attractive. Brands that don’t live up to Gen Z’s entertainment standards don’t receive much attention from them. When they scroll through social media, they expect to be entertained. If they are not, they move on to another platform.
This tendency is different from other generations, particularly Millennials, which still largely stick to the social aspect of social media. Instead of entertainment, they seek to know what is happening within their communities of friends and followers. An article from WeAreSocial.com asserts that “While Millennial teenagers used social media to update their statuses and to see what their friends were up to, social media is more of a time-filler and content consumption hub for Gen Zers.” Gen Z has been groomed to view content differently because of the natural evolution that social media has experienced during their formative years. All platforms are now accessible from smartphones instead of just laptops or desktops as they were when social media was first invented. Users log on to social media apps several times a day with just a tap on their phone screen and can find themselves passively scrolling through social media to be entertained as a way to pass the time. The volume of content that Gen Z consumes has increased due to this accessibility which makes standing out from the crowd more challenging for creators.
In order to reach and interact with Gen Z, brands have to create content that will be able to grab their attention quickly to avoid them scrolling past, but they also must retain their attention long enough so that they are called to action. When Gen Z engages with brands, they will be able to click on their profile and view their entire catalog of content. Brands not only need to make sure that they are being innovative in their new advertising content but that their profile will display a history of quality content that will inform the user of all the features and benefits of choosing that brand over another. On sites where everyone has a voice, it is important that brands learn to cut through the noise with their unique sound and get users to start singing their tune.