Social Media Insights

Part
01
of three
Part
01

LA Social Media Consumption

While there is no publicly available information to fully answer your question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings: Generation Z, which is now 6 to 24 years old, is moving away from social media platforms which leave a "paper trail" of their lives and towards platforms, like Snapchat, which are more ephemeral. In fact, only 16% use Facebook to follow brands. Significantly more use Instagram to find new brands and YouTube to research them, but then share their experience with family and friends only on Snapchat. Consequently, it is more difficult to track their other online hangout and shopping preferences than those of prior generations. Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

METHODOLOGY

An initial search found that there was a dearth of studies on Generation Z and social media, particularly that operate at the city level. As noted in "The State of Gen Z" report, despite "the generation’s youthfulness and reliance on technology, relatively little has been uncovered about how they think, shop, work, feel, influence, and spend as the first true digital natives." We are, therefore, forced to make inferences from the limited information available.

The only possible exception to the lack of local data was the announcement of the so-called FOMO study ("Fear Of Missing Out") published by Beautycon Media, which surveyed Gen Zers who attended Beautycon in both Los Angeles and New York. However, since not all of those surveyed are necessarily from those cities (i.e., they may have traveled to the convention) and the survey was narrowly focused for the beauty industry, we will use that source advisedly along with national sources, supplementing them with insights taken from local media sources.

SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES

Compared to Millennials, Gen Zers are more realistic, independent, and--most critically to their social media use--private, preferring "timebound content sharing" over leaving a permanent "paper trail" on social media: 72% have Snapchat on their phone, compared to 66% for Instagram. Some social media stars have also taken advantage of "ephemeral content," showing things like behind-the-scenes footage for only a limited time, encouraging regular tuning in.
Gen Zers are almost literally addicted to YouTube, with 95% watching videos on the platform and 50% saying that they can't live without it. According to Google, 73% "feel a close relationship with at least one YouTuber," and 40% will go so far as to say that they "relate more to those YouTubers than their own [real life] friends."

Facebook is the most popular app for finding group events, though only 39% of Gen Zers use it for that purpose. Interestingly, Gen Z women are far more likely (47%) to use Facebook to check group events than men (33%). However, only 16% of Gen Zers use Facebook to follow brands, with 41% preferring Instagram.

As much as Gen Zers use social media, however, at least one study indicates that they're less interested in engaging with brands there. Instead, 65% prefer to use email to engage with brands. Having "grown up in a data-driven world with automation solutions, they like the personalization that email offers."
Gen Zers prefer mobile over tablets or laptops, with 80% of their social media time being spent on their phones. They use social media primarily to find entertainment and otherwise "fill up spare time." They are also more likely to switch channels frequently. For example, 45% will use Instagram to find new products, but then go to YouTube to research the product and share their experience on Snapchat after the purchase.

Interestingly, the vast majority (82%) view their physical and online identities as "one and the same." As FOMO points out, 57% see themselves "through a camera at least once per day," and most "feel social media heightens the diversity of aesthetic expression."

SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS

According to the FOMO survey, 92% of Gen Zers in Los Angeles and New York follow at least one social media influencer. Over half follow music influencers, followed at about 40% who follow beauty, food, and fashion influencers. Sports and tech influencers were at the bottom with about a third of Gen Zers. (However, as explained above, this survey took place at a beauty convention, and so these ratios may not hold true for the general population.) Nearly three-quarters (73%) say that they are more influenced by social media personas than "traditional" celebrities (27%), and 46% follow more than 10 influencers at a time.

GEN Z IN LOS ANGELES

In some respects, Generation Z is unusually politically conservative for their age, not to mention entrepreneurial. (Note that this conservatism does not extend into all social issues; most Gen Zers are supportive of LGBTQ rights and less than half (48%) of those below the age of 20 identified as "completely heterosexual.") However, those in the LA area appear to lean more politically left, according to the LA Times: "They strongly identify with the social movements of our time: Nearly half support Black Lives Matter and a majority back environmental activism and the fight for LGBTQ equality. Their top issues are income and housing ..." This may stem from the general political leanings of the city, but also from the fact that half of those age 18-24 in California are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
While we cannot find statistical data to fully back this up, we would hypothesize that the major difference between Gen Z's social media habits and those in the rest of the country would reflect their particular political stances. In fact, the LA Times specifically mentions that Californian Gen Zers will "boycott products for political reasons," so any attempt to market a brand to Gen Zers specifically in LA through social media should be sensitive to this.

LOCAL ONLINE HANGOUTS

The fact that Gen Z is far less active and likely to follow brands on Facebook and is virtually absent from Twitter makes it difficult to track their preferences on other sites. For example, Feedspot indicates that the top sites for LA's local social scene are LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Eater LA, Curbed LA, and We Like LA. (OverheardLA, specifically mentioned in the report criteria, does not appear in the top 50.) However, it bases these on their number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, meaning that it is likely that these preferences reflect those of Millennials and Gen Xers rather than Gen Z. That's not to say that Gen Z doesn't use these sites when looking for local stores, festivals, etc.--just that we cannot prove it from the existing public data.

Other web-tracking sites provide even less insight. For example, Alexa provides website popularity only at the state level and does not provide any demographic breakdown. Unsurprisingly, the greater portion of the most popular sites in California belongs to the many tech giants headquartered there.

Finally, we thoroughly checked local media sources like the LA Times to see if any had insights into Gen Zs online hangouts. These also proved to fall short on any quantitative analysis. We are forced to agree with "The State of Gen Z" that the necessary study of the newer generation's social habits and online hangouts simply has not been conducted yet.

CONCLUSION

At the national level, Generation Z's social media habits have been fairly well documented, particularly in how they differ from previous generations. However, the existing data lacks insights into their other online hangouts and habits at even the national level, and at least one study indicates that the necessary research simply hasn't been conducted. While we have tried to make some inferences from the existing public data, the fact that Gen Z is so reticent to leave a permanent record of their likes and dislikes on social media means that the existing means to track relative popularity--e.g., Facebook and Twitter followers--reflects more of the preferences of Millennials and Gen Xers.

Part
02
of three
Part
02

NYC Social Media Consumption

Although there was no publicly accessible information to fully address your question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings: Generation Z, which is comprised of people 6 to 24 years old, are moving away from social media platforms when it comes to following brands. Criteo research shows that about 55% have Facebook accounts, Snapchat (52%), and Instagram (52%). Only 16% use Facebook to follow brands; more use Instagram to find new brands and YouTube to research them, but then share their experience with family and friends only on Snapchat. Consequently, it is more difficult to track their other online hangout and shopping preferences than those of prior generations. Below you'll find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you've requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

Methodology

A thorough search found that there is a shortage of studies on Generation Z and social media. Despite this generation’s youthfulness and dependence on technology, relatively little has been revealed about how they think, shop, work, feel, influence, and spend, even on social media. We are, therefore, forced to make inferences from the limited information available.

The only possible exception to the lack of local data was the announcement of the so-called FOMO study ("Fear Of Missing Out") published by BeautyCon Media, which surveyed Gen Zers who attended BeautyCon in both Los Angeles and New York city. However, since not all of those surveyed are necessarily from those cities (i.e., they may have traveled to the convention) and the survey was narrowly focused for the beauty industry, we will use that source advisedly along with national sources, supplementing them with insights taken from local media sources.

SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES

Gen Zers are realistic, independent, and, most critically to their social media use, private, preferring "timebound content sharing" over leaving a permanent "paper trail" on social media. As an illustration of these characteristics, statistics show that 72% have Snapchat on their phone, compared to 66% for Instagram. Some social media stars have also taken advantage of "ephemeral content," showing things like behind-the-scenes footage for only a limited time, encouraging regular tuning in.
When it comes to generation Z, two genders (male and female) use various social platforms at different rates. About 1/3 of Gen Z males prefer to view a group event using Facebook compared to 47% of Gen Z females. Research shows that 42% of Gen Z females use Facebook to create a group event, whereas only 28% of Gen Z males do the equivalent. Sixteen percent prefer to use Facebook to follow a brand, while 36% would use Facebook to do the same. As much as Gen Zers use social media, however, at least one study indicates that they're less interested in engaging with brands there. Instead, 65% prefer to use email to engage with brands.

About 32% of Gen Z males use Snapchat to post or send a video of themselves, while 49% of Gen Z females use Instagram for the same purpose. Additionally, "while 36% of Gen Z males say Instagram is where they follow brands they like, 48% of Gen Z females say the same." Generally, 41% of Gen Z prefer to follow brands using Instagram, while 37% would use Instagram to learn about a company.

Gen Zers are almost literally addicted to YouTube, with 95% watching videos on the platform and 50% saying that they can't live without it. According to Google, 73% "feel a close relationship with at least one YouTuber," and 40% will go so far as to say that they "relate more to those YouTubers than their own [real life] friends." Forty-one percent of Gen Z would use YouTube to learn about a company, 31% would use Snapchat, 30% LinkedIn, and 27% Twitter.

Gen Zers prefer mobile over tablets or laptops, with 80% of their social media time being spent on their phones. They use social media primarily to find entertainment and otherwise "fill up spare time." They are also more likely to switch channels frequently. For example, 45% will use Instagram to find new products, but then go to YouTube to research the product and share their experience on Snapchat after the purchase.

SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS

Based on the FOMO poll, 92% of Gen Zers in New York follow at least one social media influencer. More than half follow music influencers, about 40% follow beauty, food, and fashion influencers. Sports and tech influencers were at the bottom, with about a third of Gen Zers (however, as explained above, this survey took place at a beauty convention, and so these ratios may not hold true for the general population). Nearly three-quarters (73%) say that they are more influenced by social media personas than "traditional" celebrities (27%), and 46% follow more than 10 influencers at a time.

GEN Z IN NEW YORK CITY

According to a study from Glassdoor, "New York is the city that receives the highest number of job applications" from members of Generation Z, or Gen. Z, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago. Gen Zers in New York City work for larger tech companies like Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Spotify (SPOT), and Square (SQ).

LOCAL ONLINE HANGOUTS

According to recent studies, Gen Zers crave face-to-face communication, and "many of the social media sites made popular by Millennials aren’t cutting it." The top social apps that this generation is using to meet new people include House Part, Bumble (an app for meeting new people), Monkey, Discord, HOLLA, Marco Polo, Skout, GroupMe and Airtime.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

GenZ Social Media By Platform (Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Quibi)

Available information suggests that, in the United States, Gen Zers have a preferred app or platform for certain interactions. Gen Zers prefer to use Instagram for following and learning more about the brands they like and for interacting with influencers, while Gen Zers prefer to use Snapchat for sending videos or selfies to friends and for sending snaps while shopping in-store. Gen Zers use TikTok, on the other hand, to interact with fellow TikTokers via duets, mash-ups, or challenges. They create duets and mash-ups with fellow users, and they encourage fellow users to participate in challenges. As can be seen below, Quibi is yet to launch, and therefore information on how Gen Zers use the platform to interact with influencers, brands, or each other is not yet available.

INSTAGRAM

Gen Zers in the United States mainly use Instagram to interact with brands, as The Center for Generational Kinetics's recent report on Gen Z suggests. According to this report, 41% of Gen Zers prefer to use Instagram when following brands. The preference is even stronger among female Gen Zers, with 48% of this cohort versus 36% of male Gen Zers indicating they prefer to use Instagram when following brands they like. Only 16% of Gen Zers prefer to use Facebook when following brands. When checking out a potential employer or determining whether they would like to be hired by a specific company, 37% of Gen Zers say they would use Instagram instead of other platforms. These findings were based on the center's poll of 1,000 Gen Zers ages 13-22 in the United States in April 2018.

VidMob's report on social video suggests that, on the platform, Gen Zers also interact with each other via the Stories feature. Seventy percent of Gen Zers in the country watch Stories on Instagram daily. On the platform, 70% of Gen Zers consume content, while 39% of Gen Zers create content. These findings were based on VidMob's survey of 1,000 Gen Zers ages 16-24 in the United States in May 2018. Gen Zers also use Instagram to learn about products and interact with their favorite influencers, including comedian Liza Koshy, Nickelodeon star Cree Cicchino, and musician Alex Aiono, according to an article published by Adweek.

SNAPCHAT

Based on the report of The Center for Generational Kinetics, GenZers in the United States interact with each other on Snapchat by posting or sending a video or a selfie. Gen Zers posting or sending a video or selfie prefer to do so via Snapchat. In the country, 40% of Gen Zers prefer to use Snapchat when posting or sending a video, while 36% of Gen Zers prefer to use Snapchat when posting or sending a selfie. To a lesser extent, Gen Zers interact with companies by using the platform to learn more about a company. Thirty-one percent of Gen Zers in the country would use Snapchat to learn more about a potential employer.

Gen Zers also interact with each other via Snapchat's My Story feature. Seventy-two percent of Gen Zers in the country watch stories on Snapchat daily. Fifty-four percent of Gen Zers do so for the laughs. On the platform, 73% of Gen Zers consume content, while 58% of Gen Zers create content. According to an article published by Adweek, 40% of Gen Zers use Snapchat when they go in-store shopping. They send snaps to friends to ask for their opinion or to share where they are shopping.

TIKTOK

An article published by Gen Z Insights suggests that, on TikTok, Gen Zers get to interact with fellow TikTokers via "duets." According to this article, TikTok "allows its users to post 15-second video skits of themselves lip-synching and dancing hilariously to karaoke tracks, dressing in weird costumes and otherwise having really, really awkward interactions (called “duets” in TikTok parlance) with their fellow TikTokers." As TikTok is a melting pot of various musical audiences, including hip hop heads, K-pop fanatics, indie rockers, and country purists, there are plenty of opportunities for Gen Zers to create mash-ups as well. Based on an article released by Mediakix, TikTok users also encourage each other to participate in funny or creative challenges such as the Hit or Miss challenge and the Haribo challenge. It appears Gen Zers are sending influencers digital gifts too as payment for their content, according to an article published by Consumer Clarity.

QUIBI

The manner by which Gen Zers in the United States use Quibi to interact with influencers, brands, or each other could not be ascertained, as the platform is yet to launch. The platform for premium, short-form content is scheduled to debut in April 2020. It is expected to publish over 100 pieces of original content each week. Among the original content to be published are a series retelling the founding of Snapchat, a pay-it-forward reality show featuring Jennifer Lopes, and a music contest produced by Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's manager. The plan of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi's founder, is to "make HBO-grade series at YouTube lengths — in other words, each show will cost millions to make, but individual episodes will run just a few minutes." Katzenberg recently announced that it has hired Tom Conrad to fill the position of Chief Product Officer. When it comes to Generation Z, Conrad may have a lot of knowledge about what works and what does not, as he was previously the vice president of product at Snapchat parent company Snap.

Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "The correct answer is TikTok, a social media app that allows its users to post 15-second video skits of themselves lip-synching and dancing hilariously to karaoke tracks, dressing in weird costumes and otherwise having really, really awkward interactions (called “duets” in TikTok parlance) with their fellow TikTokers."
Quotes
  • "TikTok challenges, including the aforementioned ‘Haribo challenge’ and ‘Hit or Miss challenge,’ have also become an integral part of the platform’s lexicon, whereby users encourage each other to record themselves taking part in creative or funny challenges. "
Quotes
  • "Gen Z influencers on TikTok get paid for their content by accepting digital gifts, like the way Millennials pay for programming through Patreon."
Quotes
  • "Over 70% of Instagram and Snapchat users watch Stories on both platforms daily. "
Quotes
  • "Gen Z uses Instagram to follow brands, Snapchat to post or send a video or a selfie, and Facebook to create or check a group event."
  • "While 32% of Gen Z males say Snapchat is the place to post or send a video of themselves, 49% of Gen Z females agree. And, while 36% of Gen Z males say Instagram is where they follow brands they like, 48% of Gen Z females say the same"
  • "The national study shows that 40% of Gen Z says they would use YouTube to determine if they want to work for a company while 37% would use Instagram and 36% would use Snapchat."
Quotes
  • "Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming mobile streaming service Quibi has added another notable name to its roster of executive talent. The company announced it has hired Tom Conrad, previously VP of product at Snap (maker of Snapchat), and a co-creator of Pandora, where he served as chief technology officer. At Quibi, Conrad will be chief product officer, which will see him leading product, user research and customer support."
  • "Conrad left Snap in 2018 at a critical time for the popular social app. Its massive redesign had just rolled out, and was destroyed by early user reviews, with the majority giving the update one or two stars when it hit. That experience may have given Conrad insight into what doesn’t work for the young Gen Z crowd, as much as what does."
Quotes
  • "Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-first media platform for high-end short-form content, will launch in April 2020 and publish more than 100 pieces of original content every week."
  • "Among those series will be “Frat Boy Genius” based on the 2018 Black List script described as “Social Network”-like story about the founding of Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP) and specifically founder Evan Spiegel."
  • "Other projects lined up include an origin series based on Telemundo’s hit show “El Señor de los Cielos”; a pay-it-forward reality show with Jennifer Lopez; and a music competition produced by Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun."
  • "Quibi aims to make HBO-grade series at YouTube lengths — in other words, each show will cost millions to make, but individual episodes will run just a few minutes."