A Marketer's Guide To Generation Z


As a Millennial, I can firmly state that I am ready for the next generation to enter into the public spotlight. I’m sure this is true of each young age, but I am tired of being treated as a walking, talking buzzword. This brings up the question of who is next? As Gen Z starts to acquire purchasing power, they are not drawing the type of attention that has long been bestowed on Millennials.

What do real estate professionals need to know about Generation Z and their behavior? Let’s focus on the trends we’re noticing, specifically with social media usage. Keep this information in mind when planning marketing strategies.

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z or Gen Z are considered people born from 1995 to 2012. This generation has a smaller range of ages compared to the Millennial generation, which spans from 1980 to 1994. According to Nielsen’s new Total Audience Report, Gen Z is now considered the most significant demographic in the United States, making up 26 percent of the population. Technology has shaped this Generation; it shapes their daily lives as well as their worldview. Due to constant connectivity, they have limitless interests and avenues for learning. They tend to take in information instantaneously and lose it just as fast. Gen Z is shaped by social media, smartphones, a post 9/11 world and a massive recession. Despite being so close in age to the Millennial generation, there are some critical differences in their characters.

Differences Compared to Millennials

1. Realism vs. Optimism
Due to encouraging Baby Boomer parents, as well as prosperous economic times, many Millennials are considered an optimistic generation. Those in Gen Z are considered more pragmatic thanks to their skeptical Generation X parents and growing up in a recession. Most in Gen Z are concerned with long-term value as well as smart investments.

2. Online vs. In-Person
Seventy-four percent of those in Gen Z prefer communicating face-to-face vs. online. The Millennial generation, in many ways, were the ones who popularized digital communication tools making work more efficient, yet not as personable. Perhaps having smartphones in your hand for your whole life has taught Gen Z the value of a human connection and having a real conversation.

3. Independent vs. Collaborative
Seventy-one percent of Generation Z said that they believe in the slogan “if you want it done right, then do it yourself.” Gen Z has mostly experienced childhood on a schedule, from soccer meets, to piano practice to a grueling college admissions process. All of this results in a generation that craves independence. Many see entrepreneurship as attractive because it allows self-management as well as autonomy from a higher authority. For this generation, the thought of being the boss of themselves is very empowering.

Generation Z and Social Media:

What Marketers Should Know

Now that we understand some of the fundamental differences between these two generations, let’s take a look at how they use social media and interact with brands:

  • Typically, Millennials have used social media to update their statuses and to keep in contact with friends. Teens of Gen Z tend to use social media as more of a time-filler, consuming social media regularly. It’s more used for entertainment than communication.
  • Brand interruptions are not well tolerated with those of this generation. It’s vital that brands keep this generation entertained rather than create ads. Create compelling content that entertains and cuts through. A great example of this today is Red Bull.
  • They are much more likely to click on sponsored posts than click on online ads. They also like transparency in advertising.
  • Video is king with Gen Z, according to a study by Adweek, 95 percent of teens today watch YouTube, they also watch an average of 68 videos in a day.
  • Generation Z uses fewer social media platforms but spends longer on them, their favorites being Instagram and Snapchat.
  • Their social media preferences have a lot to do with privacy. As digital pioneers, the Millennial generation quickly grew many of these new social media platforms by hyper-sharing. Now today’s teens realize just how important protecting your online reputations is. Once again this goes back to their long-term thinking approach.
  • Gen Z-ers also tend to prefer social media platforms that run off of expiring content, such as Snapchat and Instagram (stories). They can share what they want, but the content does not live forever as it does on Facebook. Another reason they prefer Snapchat and Instagram is that it’s much less time consuming than posting on Facebook.
  • They expect brands to treat them like a valuable customer. They expect a two-way, personalized conversation on social channels, similar to how they interact with friends.

Real Estate and Generation Z

How can real estate professionals reach out to this soon-to-be influential group of potential customers? One thing that comes to mind is entertainment. Brokerages and sales associates who want to reach this demographic should use Snapchat and Instagram stories to entertain and communicate. Add your Snapcode to your business card, create a fun Snapchat geo filter for an open house, take pictures of a listing and post them on Instagram stories. Brokers and agents need to become content marketers and let their authenticity shine through to reach this hyper-connected generation of the future.

What have you been doing to reach the next generation?

This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2018.

To read more from this newsletter, please visit our Real Trends page online.


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