What have Gen Z got to say about the social media apps they're using?


We conducted an insight study into the social media platforms Gen Z are using, how long they’re spending on them, and what their associations are with each one. We wanted to explore exactly where students are sharing their content, chatting with friends, or networking for their career. Here’s what they had to say…


A place to check in with your nearest and dearest in a spontaneous way. For the students we spoke to, BeReal is a place where (most) users are truly in the moment, sharing instantaneous content. Spending up to an hour a day on the app, our students fessed up that part of their love for BeReal came from their nosiness, being able to check in with friends across the country in a light-hearted way.


Gen Z predominantly associates Snapchat with messaging, tying in first place with WhatsApp for the main platform for friendship group chats. Interestingly, along with connecting and messaging friends, students noted they often become transfixed with the news and subscriptions feature on Snapchat, with targeted news stories and videos updating every day. Spending about 2-3 hours a day on the app in some cases, students are reluctant to move various chats across to other platforms due to the instant shareability of snaps with their nearest and dearest.


Students overwhelmingly agreed their use of Instagram is the most curated version of themselves, especially in comparison to other platforms. They carefully craft what they post, and seek to project the most favourable image of themselves to their followers. Alongside this, Gen Z are also using Instagram to look for inspiration, to re-watch sports clips, share content with friends and enjoy seeing what their friends are up to.


Despite a distinct drop in popularity amongst Gen Z compared to millennials, Facebook still enjoys huge usage with students, specifically for within societies, to promote events and work related news such as shifts. Students also noted they use Facebook to connect with their broader family who may not use other platforms such as Instagram, including grandparents, aunts and uncles.


Gen Z are largely using Twitter as an opinion sounding platform, following people who they find funny or interesting to keep up to date with various topical events and news. Interestingly, students use Twitter less to connect with friends, but instead to engage with a wider audience. Students can gauge and connect with people around the world with similar views, all through a single hashtag. From sports updates, celebrity announcements and news, all the way to the Love Island hashtag, it doesn’t look like Twitter will be going anywhere soon.


Similarly to Twitter, students felt the Reddit community gives off a very distinct community feel in contrast to other social media platforms. Through various subreddit’s, users can truly connect with like-minded people on their favourite topics. As the social media generation, almost all students have used Reddit at some point, from finding answers to graduate aptitude tests to how-to’s for almost anything, Reddit has stood true to its purpose, and it has paid off.


90% of the students surveyed said they often found themselves skipping through videos due to short attention spans, which they are largely putting down to the rise in short videos on Tik-Tok. However, for food and travel recommendations, students actually felt YouTube recommendations were more valuable than those on Tik-Tok which fall victim to becoming over-hyped and crazily busy. Overwhelmingly though, Gen Z still uses YouTube for how-to videos, tutorials, nostalgic vloggers or simply as background noise, and it doesn’t look like this will change in the near future.


By far the best performing social media, Gen Z confessed they spend hours and hours a day engaging with content. Students by far spend the majority of their time Tik-Tok compared with other social media platforms, agreeing “with so much content changing so frequently, you could go on forever”. From true crime documentaries in a 30 piece series, to workout videos and recipes, Gen Z consistently finds themselves getting lost in the algorithm for hours at a time.


Gen Z are more and more frequently turning to LinkedIn as they look to graduate, and are finding inspiration for campaigns, careers and commercial awareness on the newsfeed. Aside from a few sarcastic comments on the posts of their peers, students are understanding the importance of LinkedIn in a very digital job market. 

So what does this all mean for companies looking to target Gen Z?

There is no scientific formula for securing Gen Z and engaging them with content, as trends evolve and digress in unpredictable ways. What brands can do, however, is ensure their content is relevant to their target audience, allows room for expression, and is authentic in its nature. 


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