Content Across Generations, Close-up on Gen Z and SnapChat
With more than 25 years of marketing under my belt, a thriving blog, a successful business and a book, I'd like to think that I've got this marketing thing down. Even though my marketing career started before my daughter was born, recently that same daughter — Kait — began teaching me about SnapChat. If you read the post — you’ll see she even rubs it in quite a bit!
Before we begin, here’s how I define generations: Generation X was born 1966 to 1976; Generation Y was born 1977 to 1994 (Millennials); and Generation Z was born 1995 to 2012.
1. Demographics of Social Platforms. The Pew Research Center released its "Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms" in January. The age breakdown is as follows:
- While Facebook has attracted everyone, Gen Z is solidly onboard, Gen Y is slipping and Gen X has shifted focus.
- Twitter tends to skew younger, being especially popular among those aged 50 and below.
- Instagram is growing across the board.
- Pinterest continues its popularity with Gens Y and Z.
- LinkedIn increases in adoption once students are complete college and prepare for employment.
ComScore also provides a breakdown, with the overwhelming winner of Generation X being on SnapChat.
2. Hint: It's Not the Platform. While reports like these tend to treat them equally, social platforms do not all work the same.
- Facebook has evolved into a networking space widely adopted by all age groups. The discussion is plentiful, and privacy is minimal. The mobile applications also target discussion — just in an optimized platform built for the small screen.
- Twitter continues to be a fast-paced stream where activity is quickly shared and forgotten, and the user experience between desktop and mobile is practically indistinguishable. While it might be frustrating for older generations who wish to dive into a meaningful dialogue, it's attractive to young people for its speed and ease of sharing. It's still in the public eye, though.
- Instagram, much like Twitter, is a visual stream that's being adopted across the board. Dialogue is secondary, and sharing is key.
- LinkedIn is the professional network and largely ignored by Generation Z, heavily penetrated by Generation Y and a primary business resource for Generation X.
- SnapChat becomes the perfect trifecta of mobile, image sharing and privacy ... exploding its growth and usage. Released in 2011, it already exceeds 200 million active users who are sharing 400 million snaps per day.
3. Mobile, Visual, Privacy. My daughter's experience and expertise aren't anecdotal; Kait's a model of her generation. Kait grew up with a mobile device and has adapted the small screen around all of her daily activity. Her mobile device is her lifeline and connection to everyone she knows. Her mobile device is with her everywhere — from the gym to the classroom, to the car, to the club. And her dad is only a text message away when she needs some gas money transferred into her account!
Her camera is her window into her world and how she shares stories with her friends. Kait doesn't have a desk and a keyboard on-the-go to write her story, but she does have a camera to express herself wherever and whenever she'd like. The camera is quick, simple and worth a thousand words.
But not all of her photos go public. Kait's grandparents and parents are monitoring social platforms like Facebook and responding to virtually every update.
SnapChat is the bedroom door closing behind her. Generation Z wants a safe place to share and explore its path into adulthood with its friends. And Gen Z wants to do it without judgment and without impairing future reputations.
SnapChat isn't just friends, it's also creative brands that are doing an amazing job at connecting in “Stories” and “Snaps.” Their investment is paying off.
Related story: Choosing the Right Content to Appeal to Multiple Generations