Gen Z and mobile advertising: Majority of Gen Z are more likely to engage with brands they already follow on social media

Generation Z smartphone owners are more likely to engage with content from brands which they already follow compared to new or unknown brands. That’s according to new research from agency Jaywing and YouGov, which questioned 1,000 UK 16 to 21-year-olds on their social media and brand priorities.

For advertisers, gaining an indepth understanding of their audience’s preferences is key to accurately targeting them.

With 97% of Gen Z consumers owning a smartphone, mobile is now a key advertising channel. Another 75% of Gen Z own a laptop and 42% also own a tablet.

Among the age group’s favourite social apps are WhatsApp (84%), Facebook (77%), YouTube (73%) and Snapchat (71%).

However, when it comes to the actual time spent within social media apps, YouTube leads, followed by Messaging apps, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Brands are thus advised to consolidate their media plans to focus in on the channels with the highest ROI and cater to channel behaviours e.g. entertainment on YouTube, and inspirational images on Instagram.

It’s still difficult to grab a Gen Z’s attention. As the results show, brands are more effective when they establish a relationship with consumers through social media as 65% of respondents are more likely to engage with content from brands they already follow. However, 73% of respondents also agree that they see too many ads in their social feeds.

Interestingly, the generation feels less negative about branded adverts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, compared to Snapchat and YouTube where ads are more disliked.

Respondents also value their privacy. 71% of female respondents and 61% of male respondents said that they had personalized their privacy settings and both genders were careful about sharing their personal information online.

Additionally, 75% of respondents only allow location sharing for apps which require it to function such as maps. When Snapchat originally launched its maps feature this summer, Gen Z shared privacy concerns with older consumers and 45% of them agree that the feature could cause issues with friends. 51% said that they did not think it was a good addition.

Interestingly, when communicating with brands, 54% of Gen Z say that speed is the most important element. However, just 16% feel that chatbots can deliver the correct answers to their queries, whilst a whopping 60% feel undervalued by brands when chatbots are used. Hence, human interaction is still a key element of good customer service.

What about next generation advertising technologies such as AR?

31% of Gen Z plan on buying a VR headset in the future, whilst 29% are interested in smartwatches. 73% already own a smart TV or are getting ready to buy one.

Whilst smartphones will continue to be most treasured device of Gen Z, AR is likely to play a bigger role in the mobile ads of the future.