Generation Z are growing up, and their digital profile is changing rapidly. Are you aware of what’s trendy to chat on?
My experience as a 16-year-old developer has been an odd one. I’ve met many people my age, and many older people in the business world. One thing that I’ve noticed is the differences between how everyone communicates. While many – including millennials – are well versed in apps such as Facebook and Twitter, Generation Z instead opt to utilise apps such as Discord and Snapchat.
This is a trend that has been acknowledged for quite a while, with Facebook focusing a lot of its efforts on Instagram to remain relevant. But this begs the question – why is there this change? Facebook contains a lot of the same features as other platforms that are popular with Gen Z, and yet has far smaller numbers.
I strongly believe (from experience, too) that the primary reason is preventing a direct communication channel with parents that is shared with their friends. Independence is something that a lot of teens strive for, and having your parents “involved” in your friend group is a little embarrassing.
In fact, teenagers of today mentally place themselves above the adults on other social media platforms. One recent display of this is the “Ok, Boomer” meme which is targeted at parents looking at “typical Facebook memes”.
Where are they going to?
Emerging are new platforms. Discord is a primary example. While starting in 2015 as a gaming-communication platform, I’ve seen teenagers use it frequently as a way to communicate in groups. I even operate a Discord server for my school, which has over 500 teenagers in it.
The Growing Ad Crisis
The problems with these new platforms for advertisers are twofold. Firstly, some of them – including Discord – incorporate no-intrusive ad policies. This comes as the side-effect of teenagers getting smarter with their technology. Most use ad blockers for their web browsing, and some even have apps installed on their phone to block all advertising networking traffic. This removes adverts from some of the remaining apps that utilise them.
Teenagers don’t like advertising. And they are armed with the tools to stop it.
Content providers are being forced to become smarter in their methodology of advertising. One way that has shown successful in doing this is influencers. Influencers allow you to display content more personally, but the problem that is now being evident is it’s lacking trust. For a lot of teenagers, it’s pretty obvious when someone is being directly told what to do, and can appear out of character.
It’s what I call inline advertising. Directly integrating content in a fashion that matches the style of the content producer. While to the advertiser this may just be loosening the specification for the advert, it allows the content producer a lot more freedom in terms of how it is expressed. One recent example was the partnership between Riot Games and Louis Vuitton for the League of Legends Worlds 2019.
Teenagers are on platforms you most likely haven’t heard of or don’t personally use. People are becoming smarter, and advertising needs to evolve to not only new platforms but new, more personalised approaches.