With Gen Z becoming a much bigger focus for marketers as younger audiences move into more lucrative spending brackets, platforms like Snapchat are well-placed to become key sources of insight into important trends and shifts that will ultimately define purchase behaviors.
Indeed, Snapchat claims that it reaches some 90% of 13-24 year-olds across the US, more than Facebook, Instagram and Messenger combined in this age bracket. That means that the platform can not only facilitate connection, but provide more knowledge as to what these consumers are looking for.
And this week, Snap, in partnership with Kantar, has shared some valuable new insights into evolving brand and content preferences, and how they're being defined by the next generation of consumers.
The study, which incorporates responses from over 12,000 participants across six countries (Australia, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) looks specifically at why Gen Z consumers choose certain brands, and how businesses can tap into those trends.
And brand preference is clearly important to younger consumers:
As you can see in these charts, younger consumers have clear alignment with 1-3 brands in each category, which can make it harder for new brands to break through and connect.
As per Snap:
"This could be because many Gen Zers express themselves through brand selection. We observe Gen Z saying that brands allow them to express themselves at rates higher than older generations in every market except Saudi Arabia; for example, in Australia, 65% of Gen Z say they use brands to express who they are, versus 40% for Gen X and Baby Boomers."
Brand preferences are tied to identity, which is an important consideration in your marketing approach when looking to appeal to younger audience segments.
So what, specifically, drives that brand alignment? Snapchat probed a little deeper, and formulated this comparison of brand preference factors, versus Gen X/Boomers.
Caring about customers, and the environment and broader community, are key considerations in brand affinity, providing some clear considerations for your marketing and outreach efforts.
Another important element is advocacy, with Gen Z relying on the opinions of friends and family more so than other generations.
Part of that, of course, is that such recommendations are now much easier to come by, as you can see what people like and advocate for via social media. Past generations didn't always have this as a reference point, so it makes sense that they're less instinctively reliant on the same.
But Gen Z has adapted to the modern communications environment, which underlines the importance of facilitating advocacy through influencers and regular customers on social networks.
In addition to this, the study also looked at the effectiveness of advertising on Gen Z, and how younger consumers respond to brand content.
And the data shows that Gen Z consumers are able to consume information faster than their older peers.
As explained by Snap:
"We observed Gen Z research participants spent less time with content than Millennial and Gen X/Baby Boomer participants, both for advertising and non-advertising content. Interestingly, despite this, we also observed that Gen Z participants correctly recalled the advertising and non-advertising content they saw at high rates."
It seems that we're evolving to filter the vast flood of information being sent towards us each day faster - which makes sense, but could also be an important consideration in assessing the impact of your ad efforts. Younger consumers spending less time with your content doesn't necessarily indicate lower interest.
The proliferation of Snaps, Stories, TikTok clips - what we're seeing with these trends is the acceleration of media. No longer do people need to sit down with a full, two-hour movie - because younger people are now used to being able to skip through and get the gist, they're increasingly attuned to shorter, denser content forms.
This, again, is an important consideration in your messaging - while storytelling is, and always will be, important, it's worth taking the time to note emerging trends in such, and how you can align your messaging to these more condensed, expressive formats.
Because you don't need to hold people's attention for as long as you used to - and with the poor reputation of interruptive ads, you're likely better off scaling back to the basics, and keeping your messaging as succinct as possible to maximize response.
That can be a hard shift to make, as we've been attuned to sharing information in certain ways through traditional best practices and learned behavior. But those behaviors are changing, which is important to note.