Gen Z is coming. Gen Z is here.
Millennials have been a big challenge to employers, just as every new generation is. We are still grappling with that, and now Gen Z is coming right behind them.
Who are they? How are they different?
I don’t want to make the mistake with Gen Z many made with Millennials.
It took a decade to overcome bad Millennial stereotypes and accept that everyone is unique.
Let’s stick to the facts and treat everyone like a real person.
Also, Gen Z is young (anyone born from 1997 on), and when looking at any generation in their youth, we should always consider:
- How much of what they’re doing is what young people do, and how much is truly characteristic of their generation?
- How much of their behavior will change as they adapt to other generations, the workforce and mainstream society?
- How much will change as they age and their priorities change due to work, marriage, children and family?
We can look at Gen Z’s 18-21 year olds, the ones in the workforce.
As you can see from those age ranges, a lot of Gen Z have not even had a chance to finish college yet.
A lot will change for them over the next 5-10 years.
Facebook Insights & Facebook Ad Manager Data on Gen Z
This data comes from the Facebook Audience Insights and the Facebook Ad Manager. The reason I use this is that it’s freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users.
A lot of it comes from their regular life and online activity, not from an artificial survey with all the usual flaws of market research.
The Facebook Ad Manager data includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.
Gen Z Job Titles
There are above average numbers of Gen Z working in these job areas:
- Food and restaurants
- Farming, fishing and forestry
- Protective services
- Personal and home care services
- Transportation and moving
- Administrative services
There are below average numbers of Gen Z in these job areas:
- Computation and math
- IT and tech
- Business and finance
- Community and social service
- Architecture and engineering
In this particular list, you see mostly jobs that require a college degree, for which Gen Z is currently too young. These likely will change a lot within 5 years when a they’re out of college.
Gen Z Social Media Behavior
Gen Z share posts at the same rate as other generations. Sharing is a positive action that says, “I accept your lifestyle or attitude or idea and want to affirm and spread it.”
Something that’s interesting about Gen Z social media behavior is that they’re less likely to write text comments on posts than other generations. This may be related to a desire for privacy.
Gen Z and Advertisements
Gen Z like fewer posts and click on fewer ads than previous generations.
It’s possible that advertisers aren’t advertising much to Gen Z and haven’t learned how to do it well.
Advertisers tend to advertise to people with money, or influencers of the sale- there has been hesitation to advertise even to Millennials, since Gen X and Boomers still have most of the money- let alone Gen Z, who is barely entering the workforce. Millennials sometimes say they don’t like to “be targeted,” and Gen Z may feel the same way.
This is going to require clever marketing content and adaptation to a new generation. I doubt this has been addressed yet, because most companies are still struggling to fully adapt their marketing to Millennials, let alone to Gen Z.
Gen Z Device Usage, Smartphone Usage and Computer Usage
In terms of device preferences, as you might expects, they prefer smartphones over computers or iPads. Even more interesting, the Gen Z on Facebook prefer iPhones over Androids.
If we look at Facebook vs Instagram users, we can look at ages 13-21.
- There are 22 million on Facebook
- There are 20 million on Instagram
- So, the numbers are fairly equal, with a slight edge to Facebook. Gen Z is the only generation this close. When you look at 18-24 year olds, there are 35 million on FB and 29 million on IG. There are 55 million 25-34 year olds on FB and 40 million on IG. The gap widens with age.
The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with Gen Z.