That Moment When You Realize You’re Old…
I’m 28 years old and identified by marketers as “a millennial,” but I identify myself as “an old soul.” Yes, Robin Williams will always be Mork in my eyes. Carol Burnett gave me a whole new appreciation for Gone with the Wind and Lionel Richie is more than just the guy who adopted Nicole Richie — he’s a founding member of the Commodores. OK, and later became the solo artist who released that one single we all know and love.
All that considered, one thing that I had going for me in advertising was that I was able to strategically think about how to reach multiple audiences. I was living as a millennial, but I also understood and appreciated what it would take to reach Generation X.
And then I came across this headline — Move over, Millennials: Generation Z is stealing the spotlight in 2018
That’s when it hit me — I really AM getting old.
Who is Generation Z?
How do you talk to them? Does this mean the whole time they’ve been commenting “I’m dead” on Facebook, they mean “You just said something really funny and I can’t believe it” and not “Look for me in the obituaries tomorrow?”
Heck, does Generation Z even USE Facebook anymore??
Naturally, I put on a pair of my best Keds, turned on TV Land for some background noise and did my research. Here’s what I found:
Gen Z is Living in the World that Millennials Helped Create
Generation Z (or iGen) is a demographic that marketers are identifying as those born after 1995. They’re a group of about 60 million and outnumber us millennials by a solid million.
It’s interesting to think that I grew up during a time when the United States elected its first African-American president. We fought for the legalization of same-sex marriage and lived through the development of an entire online culture called “Facebook,” where we began to share everything about ourselves, online.
The iGen population was born into that world and has accepted it all as the social norm. They are the most ethnically diverse population, more tolerant of others and would rather spend time sharing experiences on Instagram or Snapchat than worry about products.
Generation Z Hates TV
OK, I won’t be so dramatic with the word hate. Young people (ahem, Generation Z) still watch television, but streaming services (i.e., Netflix) or online video channels such as YouTube serve as the primary media by which this generation gets their TV time.
According to Variety, based on a study conducted by Defy Media, they watch “12.1 hours of videos per week on YouTube, social media and other free online sources. Another 8.8 hours weekly on Netflix and other subscription-video services. That’s more than two and a half times the 8.2 hours weekly they spend watching television.”
Generation Z Wants to be Engaged
No I’m not talking matrimony — I’m talking social engagement. The days of “let’s make a Facebook page” might be slightly over if we’re trying to reach Generation Z.
Now there’s no argument Generation Z loves digital media. I mean, c’mon, most of them are watching Netflix and have their phone open, scrolling through Instagram and checking their Snapchat.
Generation Z is constantly looking for more information. They want conversation and want to be engaged with others, and 34 percent want brands to engage with them. So sitting and watching TV with no interaction seems like a foreign concept to the iGen.
So there it is — and I’ve just scratched the surface of what makes Generation Z tick. They’re a group of strong, independent, entrepreneurial-spirited individuals and they will truly (as Apple once encouraged us) “think different.”
Heck, I’ll have to start researching Generation Alpha soon.
Alright, logging off. Looks like an episode of Golden Girls is about to start.
– Carlos Perez, Account Manager