Unlike any generational cohort before them, Gen Z -- young adults born after 1997 -- eschew the kind of media knowns for mass reach and scale, especially TV, print and out-of-home, according to a Horizon Media analysis released Monday.
Not surprisingly, the report -- Horizon Media's "Gen Z Field Guide" -- finds they over-index on hyper-targeted digital media, especially social media platforms.
"Sure, social media is the primary channel for Gen Z, but it's not just YouTube, Snap, TikTok and Instagram," the report notes, adding, "They're spreading their fingers wide across smaller apps that serve distinct functions."
In fact, the report shows Gen Zers utilize a wide variety of apps based on function and personal needs, including "discovery" (Reddit, Spotify, Pinterest, etc.), "privacy" (Discord and Telegram), "intimacy" (BeReal and Geneva), and "live streaming/gaming" (Twitch, YouTube Live).
"As Gen Z's influence on commerce and culture continues to grow, brands that learn to connect with these subcultures will thrive," states Maxine Gurevich, senior vice president-cultural intelligence in Horizon's Why Group. "To drive critical mass and conversion, niche and relevancy at scale will trump traditional reach and frequency tactics. Capturing Gen Z's attention requires breaking conventions to develop brand experiences that authentically suit their algorithms. There's a lot of noise when it comes to influencer content, and Gen Z is looking for more intimate spaces to connect on a personal level."
The five categories and emerging subcultures identified by Horizon include: