Young people now view social media as a primary content consumption tool rather than a platform for keeping in touch with friends, according to new research published by GlobalWebIndex.
Almost half of Gen-Z teens say they use social sites to find and consume funny or engaging content, which suggests Facebook’s recent algorithm change to promote more posts from friends and family may be counterintuitive to young people’s wants and needs.
The finding is good news for marketers, who can now see themselves as central to the social journey rather than as a disruption or peripheral influence. A similar number of teens also said they use social to “fill up spare time”, so there is an emerging opportunity to serve up exciting blogs and videos to this audience.
“Above all, social media serves as a content consumption tool for this young generation,” GlobalWebIndex’s report says. “Our data shows an unexpected motivation for Gen Z – they are more likely to be using social media to fill up spare time and find entertainment, rather than to stay in touch with friends.”
While Gen-Z are eager for content, they still place a premium on authentic, editorial forms of content that are relevant and deliver some sort of value, either through education or entertainment. Simply posting an image is not enough. Brands must use media rich infographics, videos and blogs to cut through the noise and connect with teens.
Almost a third also said they use social to research and find products to buy, while 35% like to share photos and videos with other people.