Generation Z More Likely To Share Branded Content Than Millennials, Loves Influencers

By 05/23/2017
Generation Z More Likely To Share Branded Content Than Millennials, Loves Influencers

One day after we shared the results of a Defy Media survey that elucidated the branded content habits of Generation Z, another digital media company has offered some insights of its own regarding that same topic. Fullscreen has served up the major findings from a study comparing Gen Z to millennials. One key takeaway: Gen Zers are more likely to like or share branded content than millennials.

To gather data for its study, Fullscreen turned to Leflein Associates, which conducted research on the media company’s behalf with over 1,200 participants during March 2017. The result, as far as branded content is concerned, was clear: Gen Z respondents, which the study defined as those between 13 and 17 years old, were more likely than millennials to view branded photos, like or share branded content, read product reviews, and tag friends in branded content.

The difference between Gen Z and millennials when it came to liking or sharing branded content was just 3% (42% to 39%), but Fullscreen believes that number is notable given that “millennial” remains such a strong buzzword when advertisers talk about reaching young people on the internet. “While the conversation around how brands can reach young people has previously focused on millennials, it turns out that Gen Z are actually the ones who are super receptive to brands across categories,” reads Fullscreen’s report.


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Additional findings in the report offered statistics about influencers, online video platforms, and preferred video formats among young people. Notably, surveyed teens said they would choose to advertise their favorite brand through influencer marketing rather than any other method.

You can check out all the statistics and findings from the report below:

Mind the Generational Gaps

Youth audiences are a popular target audience for many brands, but not many have begun to recognize that there are actually two very different generations within that umbrella ––– millennials (18-34) and Gen Z (13-17 –– with very different two sets of social media habits. Brands should not assume they can target both groups in the same way.

  • Millennials are still pretty old school, preferring to consume content on traditional platforms more than they did one year ago, compared to their Gen Z counterparts, respectively:
    • Regular TV (7% vs. -10%)
    • Publisher sites (6% vs. -11%)
    • Blogs (5% vs. -22%)
  • …but lag behind Gen Z when it comes to adopting newer content viewing platforms:
    • Short online video (33% vs. 49%)
    • Social media sites/apps (33% vs. 46%)
    • Full-length shows/movies streamed online (39% vs. 44%)

Generation Brand Engagement

While the conversation around how brands can reach young people has previously focused on millennials, it turns out that Gen Z are actually the ones who are super receptive to brands across categories.

  • Top brand activities include (Gen Z vs. Millennials, respectively):
  • View brand photos (44% vs. 31%)
  • Like/share brand content (42% vs. 39%)
      • Read product reviews (40% vs. 37%)
      • Invite friend to like a page (30% vs. 18%)
  • Tag friends in brand content (25% vs. 19%)

Influencers: The Voices of a Generation

Influencers play a significant role in defining what youth audiences like, view, and buy.

  • The majority of both Gen Z’ers and millennials follow social media stars on YouTube (72% and 71%, respectively), Facebook (57% and 71%, respectively), and Instagram (52% and 57%, respectively).
  • More than half of teens (54%) would choose to advertise their favorite brand with influencers, over TV commercials (51%), pre-roll video ads (43%), sponsored articles/posts (27%), or banner ads (19%).
  • Gen Z spends 40% of their time on YouTube watching user-generated content. 

TL;DR: Video Rules 

Gen Z prefers to watch, rather than read. They view digital video and short form clips almost six times as much as traditional digital publishers/blogs. It’s important to note the dramatic rise in short-form video, a new format evolved alongside social platforms. While longer-form formats are still preferred for traditional entertainment genres like sports, comedy, and film), short-form plays a pivotal role for beauty, fashion, and how-to’s.

  • Comedy: 79% long form video; 57% digital video clips/social; 12% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Entertainment: 63% long form video; 73% digital video clips/social; 33% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Music: 28% long form video; 70% digital video clips/social; 22% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Current Events: 67% long form video; 55% digital video clips/social; 32% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Beauty: 28% long form video; 82% digital video clips/social; 39% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Food/Cooking: 69% long form video; 59% digital video clips/social; 27% traditional digital publishers/blogs

Facebook: Still an Oldie but a Goodie

One size does not fit all when it comes to social platforms. Despite its reputation as a social home for older folks, Facebook still dominates for entertainment, socializing and utility for Gen Z. For socializing, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram take center stage. And for utility, more niche, limited capability platforms like Twitter and Pinterest come into play.

  • Top platforms for entertainment:
    • Facebook and YouTube
  • Top platforms for socializing:
    • Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram
  • Top platforms for utility
    • Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest

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