Say hello

Don’t be basic and find out what your besties are on the lookout for. Did you understand that lingo? If you didn’t, this list was meant for you. Gen Z is changing the way we communicate and how we portray social media in the marketing industry. As Gen Z becomes the next generation to dominate the future of digital marketing, we must understand their behavior.

  1. Privacy is important for Gen
  • Gen Z is no longer using your basic public social media platforms, they’re heading to more digital campfire platforms and dark social where’s it more private and intimate. These platforms exploded during COVID as they gave Gen Z a place to connect with others online.
    • Digital campfire platforms: more closed off & intimate platforms (often have micro-communities within them)
      • Gaming platforms, Discord/Reddit
  • Dark social: private messaging platforms where brands have a hard time tracking traffic
    • Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram, & other messaging platforms 
  • Why is Gen Z using these types of platforms?
    • Years of Gen Z constructing online personalities have now translated into young people wanting privacy, safety, and friends they can truly connect with. Privacy scares and “cancel culture” have made the younger generation move away from exposed networks to share content more privately.
  • Here are some considered digital campfire/dark social platforms:
    • Discord/WhatsApp
    • Reddit
    • TikTok
    • Twitch
    • Fortnite

2. Gen Z isn’t easily convinced

  • It will probably take a whole decade for Gen Z to decide what stance they take because they’re not loyal, which includes the brands they follow. Gen Z tends to follow brands and companies that advocate and follow a cause rather than choosing one that doesn’t voice their opinions.
    • Ex: A prime example would be when the NFL released its statement urging others to take action during the Black Lives Matter Movement. However, this statement was not well received once people brought to light the NFL’s unfair treatment of former NFL Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who took a stand against racism and the social injustices that are happening towards African-Americans. Gen Z strongly supports and believes in true social causes that will invoke change, not performative activism like we see in this example with the NFL. Gen Z loses their loyalty and trust to these types of organizations and brands knowing it will hurt their business financially.
  • Gen Z is reluctant to listen to the advice of celebrities and popular influencers. Instead, they care about authentic reviews, opinions, and advice from real people who aren’t sponsored.
    • What does this mean?
      • Micro-Influencers are on the rise, which will lead them to taking over social media.
      • A recent study from the Morning Consult found that 52% of Gen Z trust the influencers they follow.
      • Gen Z wants authenticity and finds micro-influencers that interact and engage to be more trustworthy. Brands should utilize micro-influencers since they are the future of marketing.

3. TikTok does not rule the world, video does. 

  • What is TikTok?
    • TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to create, watch, and share 15-second videos shot on cell phones.
    • With its personalized feeds of quirky short videos set to music and sound effects, the app is notable for its addictive quality and high levels of engagement. 
  • How and why did TikTok gain its popularity? 
    • Main Reasons why TikTok Rose to Fame:
      • Celebrity Endorsements: The app is liked and used by several celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon, who helped drive the app’s popularity. The app has paid partnerships with several celebrities, in various regions, who promote the app to local audiences. These celebrities not only post content on TikTok, but also promote TikTok on other social media channels.
    • Localized Content: Another key driving factor in TikTok app’s popularity is the fact that despite being a global app, it has a strong focus on localized content.
    • Easy Content Creation, Sharing, and Viewing: This short-form video content is played as soon as a user opens the app. The videos start playing one by one and a viewer gets lost in a sea of fun, entertaining, and addictive video content. Due to the addictive nature of this type of content, it is very easy for people to keep watching random videos for hours on end.
  • Why will TikTok eventually die off?
    • Introduction of Sponsored Posts
    • Celebrities and influencers are raiding TikTok
    • The algorithm becoming more complex
  • Whether it’s TikTok,  Instagram, or some new social platform, the truth is that video content is taking over the field of marketing and so will entertainment. Gen Z wants more power on what they get to view and how they get their entertainment whether that be video clips on Youtube or even 30-second dances on TikTok, video content is what’s ruling the world.

I hope that you got all that down because the future of digital marketing will start shifting to more intimate and private social platforms where micro-influencers are ruling the industry, and videos will eventually be the only type of content needed. As digital natives take over how brands tell their stories, it’s up to future marketers to understand these trends to build the bridge between brands and Gen Z.

Jessie Hoang