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The Creators of Tomorrow: How Gen Z Woke Up Woke

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At SMWLDN, joint heads of the social content division at MOFILM revealed what Generation Z thinks about the future of social content and discovered how it’s out with the old, in with the new.

Facebook is dying.

In fact, it’s already dead for Gen Z. The forward-thinking generation that grew up entirely online has already shut the lid on Likes.

Millennials are becoming less and less relevant when it comes social media and marketing. Brands are looking to target and engage the digitally native under 24-year-olds and are battling for their heads as well as their hearts.

At Social Media Week London 2018, MOFILM went beyond data and curated their own case study that shone a light on Gen Z’s attitude towards all things tech and split their answers up into three sections:

The Pros and Cons

MOFILM’s study found that the benefits of social media for Gen Z were mainly linked to building portfolios and careers. They loved how platforms provided them with the opportunity to express themselves both personally and professionally and showcase their work. It found that they were more likely to want to build a business than their millennial counterparts. The negatives included how isolating social media can be. Arnott mentioned how, even though Gen Z thought that selfies were more so in caption as opposed to the image nowadays, there’s still an element of isolation to them and pressure to maintain expectations set by pre-constructed narratives.

Overall though, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Gen Z are extremely politically active and social media has leveled the playing field.

The Preferred Platform

Instagram was overwhelmingly the preferred platform, closely followed by YouTube. Instagram acts as a trampoline and offers exposure, whereas YouTube is a tailor-made TV substitute, featuring short videos for short attention spans. Facebook was seen for the older generation – an external study conducted by The American Trends Panel Survey Methodology, Pew Research Centre (2018) found that 44% of Gen Z deleted the app off phone entirely versus only 20% of those aged 50 plus. Snapchat is also slowly becoming outdated. One interviewee in the case study noted how Instagram had taken all the good features of Snapchat and incorporated them into Instagram as a “crazy power move.”

How Can Brands Connect in the Future?

In a nutshell, the answer was to refrain from spamming and to hire more Gen Z in the workplace.

Sincerity in campaigns is important when it’s natural for this generation to be watching and learning around the clock. Arnott suggested that brands should work smartly, collaboratively and value exchange. It was concluded that money would be wasted on frequency targeting and better spent on understanding how audiences worked. Mass exposure’s irrelevant when Gen Z will help expose a product if they believe in it as they have the tools to do so on demand.

It’s incredible how much impact one generation will have on the world; how much-unwarranted power is in young hands. As Arnott and Dixon’s presentation came to an end, an abundance of questions were asked, highlighting the degree of value Gen Z hold. Turns out it’s more than just the brands that want to know what they’re thinking.

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