• Cascade Team

8 in 10 Gen Z Consumers Say Social Media Offers More Brand Authenticity

About 80% of GenZ uses social media to discover new brands, making them more reliant on it than generations before.


New research from marketing-focused social advertising automation platform Smartly.io examines the role social media plays in how consumers connect and engage with brands and how the Gen Z mindset differs from the generations before it when it comes to interacting with social ads. The data collected provides brands with insight into Gen Z’s social media usage and engagement, which is critical as they define and reach target audiences across platforms.

It shouldn't seem surprising that a generation that has always known tablets, ipads and Facebook should so heavily reliant on social media. Although the generations ahead of them relied more on peer social groups for information, GenZ finds that same support on social media channels. And, they are less likely to browse for media stories online but to see adds or shares of friends and "friends".

So why does this matter? It's important for a few reasons but the most important is that social media is driving this generation's decisions more than the others before.

How do we embrace social media in a way that engages this generation? It must be authentic and offer a great customer experience. This means, be thoughtful about the experience a customer has with your brand - website, social, ads - but don't be as intentional and polished as to make it feel inauthentic.

Highlights from the survey data include:

  • Gen Z favors variety and is active across more social platforms than other age demographics

  • Gen Z adults are regularly active on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat, among others (Facebook and YouTube rank high across general consumers)

  • 82 percent of Gen Z consumers use social media as a way of finding new brands, compared to 57 percent of general consumers

  • 87 percent of Gen Z is open to seeing advertising from brands they like or have purchased from before as well as from new brands

  • 40 percent of Gen Z consumers prefer Stories, Reels or TikTok videos when seeing ads from brands on social media

Read more and download the study here.

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