Brand BFFs: Fullscreen Research Reveals Gen Z Actually Wants Your Branded Content

New Report Finds Gen Z More Likely to Befriend Brands on Social than Millennials; Prefer Long Form Video and Influencers

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - May 23, 2017) - Fullscreen, a social-first marketing group specializing in youth audiences, today unveiled new research that dives into social media habits of millennials and Gen Z. Featuring research conducted by Leflein Associates* on behalf of Fullscreen, the new report unveils insights into generational social media practices -- including Gen Z's openness to engaging with branded content -- as long as it is smart, entertaining, and transparent. Additional findings include details on what platforms are used for what activities, what type of content is most viewed, and how can brands best act on these findings to build stronger relationships with their key demographics.

"Gen Z, the first generation born into a post-Google and social media world, is not only the most diverse generation yet, but also the generation with the greatest global perspective," said Pete Stein, General Manager, Fullscreen. "Their continued inclination towards social content on their mobile phones -- first seen in millennials -- is changing the way that content is consumed, shared, and even the way it's created. Growing up in a completely digital world, they expect to be able to have direct access to friends, celebrities and brands."

For brands trying to reach Gen Z, there are a few key strategies to take away from this data. Follow this next gen to social, where they are already actively engaged. Identify and connect with their passion points, and tap into Gen Z's unique relationship with influencers for a brand halo effect. Finally, develop your brand's voice on social platforms and learn to show its humanity.

Mind the Generational Gaps
Youth audiences are a popular target audience for many brands, but not many have begun to recognize that there are actually two very different generations within that umbrella -- millennials (18-34) and Gen Z (13-17) -- with very different two sets of social media habits. Brands should not assume they can target both groups in the same way.

  • Millennials are still pretty old school, preferring to consume content on traditional platforms more than they did one year ago, compared to their Gen Z counterparts, respectively:
    • Regular TV (7% vs. -10%)
    • Publisher sites (6% vs. -11%)
    • Blogs (5% vs. -22%)
  • …but lag behind Gen Z when it comes to adopting newer content viewing platforms:
    • Short online video (33% vs. 49%)
    • Social media sites/apps (33% vs. 46%)
    • Full-length shows/movies streamed online (39% vs. 44%)

Generation Brand Engagement
While the conversation around how brands can reach young people has previously focused on millennials, it turns out that Gen Z are actually the ones who are super receptive to brands across categories.

  • Top brand activities include (Gen Z vs. Millennials, respectively):
    • View brand photos (44% vs. 31%)
    • Like/share brand content (42% vs. 39%)
    • Read product reviews (40% vs. 37%)
    • Invite friend to like a page (30% vs. 18%)
    • Tag friends in brand content (25% vs. 19%)

"In an era of increased media fragmentation, brands are finding that the best way to market their products is to create entertainment that consumers actively seek out," said Maude Standish, Vice President of Programming Strategy, Fullscreen. "This is particularly true when marketing to Gen Z, who grew up with the internet and are not only demanding that all brands entertain them, but also that entertainment shifts to behave like a friend -- it's also why influencers are so effective in selling to this generation."

Influencers: The Voices of a Generation
Influencers play a significant role in defining what youth audiences like, view, and buy.

  • The majority of both Gen Z'ers and millennials follow social media stars on YouTube (72% and 71%, respectively), Facebook (57% and 71%, respectively), and Instagram (52% and 57%, respectively).
  • More than half of teens (54%) would choose to advertise their favorite brand with influencers, over TV commercials (51%), pre-roll video ads (43%), sponsored articles/posts (27%), or banner ads (19%).
  • Gen Z spends 40% of their time on YouTube watching user-generated content.

TL;DR: Video Rules
Gen Z prefers to watch, rather than read. They view digital video and short form clips almost six times as much as traditional digital publishers/blogs. It's important to note the dramatic rise in short-form video, a new format evolved alongside social platforms. While longer-form formats are still preferred for traditional entertainment genres like sports, comedy, and film), short-form plays a pivotal role for beauty, fashion, and how-to's.

  • Comedy: 79% long form video; 57% digital video clips/social; 12% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Entertainment: 63% long form video; 73% digital video clips/social; 33% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Music: 28% long form video; 70% digital video clips/social; 22% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Current Events: 67% long form video; 55% digital video clips/social; 32% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Beauty: 28% long form video; 82% digital video clips/social; 39% traditional digital publishers/blogs
  • Food/Cooking: 69% long form video; 59% digital video clips/social; 27% traditional digital publishers/blogs

Facebook: Still an Oldie but a Goodie
One size does not fit all when it comes to social platforms. Despite its reputation as a social home for older folks, Facebook still dominates for entertainment, socializing and utility for Gen Z. For socializing, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram take center stage. And for utility, more niche, limited capability platforms like Twitter and Pinterest come into play.

  • Top platforms for entertainment:
    • Facebook and YouTube
  • Top platforms for socializing:
    • Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram
  • Top platforms for utility
    • Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest

*Nearly 1,200 members of these youth audiences were surveyed online by Leflein Associates on behalf of Fullscreen during March 2017.

About Fullscreen
Fullscreen is a next generation entertainment company that creates experiences people love. We work with both creators and brands to serve fans producing social-first strategies and content for clients including Fortune 500 brands, media companies, and entertainment properties.

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