Gen-Z social media trends

February 25, 2021

It’s no secret that Gen Z and social media have become one and the same. Many young people turn to social media to express their individuality, check out the latest news, and connect with like-minded people. The pandemic has bolstered the use of social media, with Gen Z relying on these platforms to ease the effects of loneliness. Gen Z’s increased usage of social media compared to previous generations has also spurred different trends in terms of how these platforms are used.

1. The rise of TikTok

TikTok has seen a huge spike in terms of its active users. With 33 times more users than its closest competitors, TikTok’s user base has been continuously on the rise. TikTok’s growth can be attributed to its convenience, ease of use, and Gen Z’s preference for video content. 

TikTok’s short, comedic clips resonate with Gen Zers, who are often bored and stuck at home. TikTok’s algorithm adapts to users’ preferences based on videos they like or spend time watching. This creates a cycle: the more time users spend on the app, the more personalized their For You page becomes. This makes TikTok a more appealing platform the more it’s used.

2. Shifting influencer content

The influencer phenomenon has been on the rise, with Instagram catalyzing influencers’ status as a marketing tool. 

The current pandemic has shifted the influencer paradigm in terms of content as well as engagement. Although some tags of influencers (e.g. “plantfluencers,” fitness gurus) have grown more exponentially than others, influencer marketing has still been impactful.

With people bound to their homes, TikTok and Instagram have seen an increase in ad impressions and engagement with influencers—yet product-centered posts haven’t been too appreciated. Brands are now focused on promoting brand values and establishing relationship-based influencer marketing.

3. Social media as a discovery tool

Social media’s purpose has shifted beyond connecting users. These platforms have increasingly established themselves as product discovery tools. Customers are now purchasing products they’ve first discovered on social media––with a threefold percentage jump from 2016 to 2019. Consequently, multiple social media apps (e.g. Instagram, Facebook) have added a “shop” functionality to their platform. 

Social media can now target both the top and bottom of the marketing funnel. Because of this, some social media platforms serve as a 2-in-1 marketing tool; platforms can be used to increase brand awareness as well as facilitate conversions.

Brands can now use social media to make users aware of their products, while current social media trends––as a consequence of the pandemic––go beyond amplified social media usage. Digital marketing strategies should therefore account for Gen Z’s approach to social media for more impactful content. This means emphasizing short videos, reaching out to engaging influencers, and offering visible product displays.

Is your business looking for Youth creatives or Generation Z directors? Contact our Gen Z advertising agency in Los Angeles today so our team can help!