What are Generation Z’s Social Media Preferences?

Here is what we uncovered as part of our ongoing national quantitative Gen Z research

What are Generation Z’s Social Media Preferences?

For Generation Z, social media has always been a part of their lives. In fact, they don’t view it as media at all. For them, it’s how they connect, learn, debate, date, express themselves, and so much more. Social media connects Gen Z to the world around them, but it also connects the world to Gen Z.

Given that social media is so important this generation, we wanted to find the answers to some of the most popular questions people have about Gen Z and social media:

  • How do they prefer to use each of the main channels?
  • Are there any significant differences in how guys and girls use social media?
  • What kinds of content do they prefer to consume?

Here is what we uncovered as part of our ongoing national quantitative Gen Z research.

Social Media is Not One-Size-Fits-All for Gen Z 

There’s no one-stop shop. While certain platforms are more popular with Gen Z, they don’t exclusively prefer a single social media platform.

However, Gen Z is very particular about which platform they use for specific interactions and outcomes. For instance, Gen Z uses Facebook to create or check a group event, Snapchat to post or send a video or a selfie, and Instagram to follow brands.

Gen Z Guys Versus Girls: Differences in Social Media Usage

When you compare Gen Z guys and girls, the impact and importance of social media appears even more stunning. In every situation we described in the survey, girls outpace guys in social media usage—and many times by a considerable margin.

In fact, Gen Z girls average 12% more usage in all social media situations! Guys and girls almost always pick the same social media platforms for the same tasks, but they do so on different scales. When we separate the data by gender it still holds true that Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram have their specific uses; it’s simply that girls are using them far more frequently than guys.

What Type of Video Content Does Gen Z Want?

While we’ve focused on selfies, events, and brands, you cannot talk about Gen Z without also talking about video. Because Gen Z watches a lot of video.

To better understand the specific type of video content that Gen Z watches, we discovered that 85% of Gen Z have watched at least one online video in the last week to learn a new skill, solve a challenge, or answer a question.

Online videos are a consistent resource for this generation. When we asked Gen Z which type of brand sponsored videos preferred, how-to videos, customer testimonials, and funny prank videos were the favorites.

However, guys and girls are interested in different types of brand-sponsored videos. Girls are more interested in watching how-to videos and real customer testimonials, while guys are more interested in watching funny prank videos (no surprise there).

Gen Z Social Media Usage Now…and in the Future

Gen Z’s extensive social media usage—some might even call it a dependence—is an important trend to recognize, but those who truly want to understand this generation can’t stop there. The fact that the two genders use various social platforms at such different rates and prefer different types of videos is a big part of the Gen Z story.

A full 37% of Gen Z, more than any other generation in our ongoing national study, says that social media affects your happiness. Going further, 39% of Gen Z reports that social media affects your self-esteem.

And since girls are more immersed, they are also more likely susceptible to comparing themselves and their lives to what they see on social media—and gauging their happiness and self-worth accordingly.

The question is how Gen Z’s relationship with social media will evolve as they move further along the transition into adulthood. Will social media continue to be the through-line that connects every area of their lives, or will Gen Z choose to limit what they post on social media as they get older?

Want to Solve Your Gen Z Challenges?

We lead national and international Gen Z, Millennial, and generational studies for our clients every day. We also keynote events around the world, helping businesses better understand their customers and workforce.

Let us know how we can help you. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide a little information for you to review.

Keep the conversation going. Follow The Center on Instagram @TheGenHQ or on Twitter @GenHQ. We are passionate about sharing our latest generational discoveries!

Jared Boucher, CGK’s Lead Researcher, develops, analyzes, and builds custom generational research studies for a broad range of clients and their specific needs. 

iGen / Gen Z Research Findings Technology

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