Why Generation Z Loves YouTube

By Rhonda Bradley / 22 January 2019

Find out why Generation Z prefers YouTube over all other social media platforms, and learn how to publish branded content that these consumers embrace.

According to a recent survey by Visual Objects, YouTube is the most-visited website by people age 18 to 24, referred to as “Generation Z.”

The first digital-native generation, Gen Z is more reliant on social media than any generation before it. And, unlike all other generations that prefer Facebook, Generation Z’s most-visited website is YouTube.

By 2020, Gen Z will make up 40% of online consumers

The good news for marketers is that over 90% of them are consuming branded content on social media. However, the way they consume content and the type of content they prefer is specific, so marketers must understand the unique demands of this generation to successfully connect with them.

In this article, we’ll explain why Generation Z prefers Youtube, how they use it, and what types of content they prefer. This will help you create effective social media marketing for Gen Z in 2019.

Why Generation Z Prefers YouTube

One definitive trait of Gen Z is the fact that there’s no clear line that divides its members' online and offline worlds. Digital and social media easily integrates with their in-person world, leaving no clear separation between the two.

The constant existence of social media in their lives allows them to stay connected, but at times also leaves them feeling depressed, low on self-esteem, or anxious. Many feel that it creates a standard that’s impossible to maintain, and that trying to live up to those expectations leaves them exhausted. 

In addition to the social issues, over 80% of them feel overwhelmed by the work and activities required of them. 

YouTube gives Generation Z a way to decompress and get their minds off of the things that are causing them stress.

Whether they’re watching “slime” videos, learning something new, or browsing product videos, this generation turns to YouTube for “feel good” content that offers an escape from the stress they deal with on a daily basis.

How Generation Z Uses YouTube

Generation Z watches an average of 68 videos per day across five social media platforms, according to one study. Like their social habits, they use YouTube differently than the generations before them. 

In this section, we take a look at the different ways Gen Z's members use YouTube in their daily lives.

YouTube Keeps Them Informed and Knowledgeable

Nearly 60% of Gen Z’ers prefer learning on YouTube to learning through apps, textbooks, or group activities, according to a study by Pearson.

However, it’s not just school subjects they’re studying on YouTube. 

According to a study by Ipsos, 80% of teens say YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable, and almost 70% say it has helped them gain skills that will be an asset to their future.

Not all learning-based videos are tutorials or training. For example, one popular video, called “Study with Me” shows a young teen studying for 2 ½ hours.

Study with Me YouTube screenshot
Source: TheStiveStudios on YouTube

The study video includes light background music and short breaks throughout the session. Users play the video while they’re doing homework and it helps them to stay on track and not feel so alone when studying.

Generation Z also embraces informational topics that expand on their knowledge of political issues and social change.

YouTube Offers Stress Relief

A glance at the top ten YouTube videos of 2018 offers insight about the types of videos Gen Z’ers enjoy when they want to decompress. 

For example, one video of a boy standing in Walmart yodeling for 2 minutes earned 60 million views.

Walmart yodeling video

2018’s “Yanny v. Laurel” debate was a viral social media audio recording in which some users heard the word “Yanny” while others heard “Laurel.” Nearly all social media users had fun theorizing why they heard a different word than someone else standing in the same room with them.

Asap Science published a YouTube video explaining the phenomenon, and that explainer video made the “top ten” of 2018 with over 50 million views.

Yanny vs. Laurel screenshot

Dima Kids TV earned nearly 340 million views with a video of a young boy fixing a real tractor with his play tool set. 

Dima Kids TV screenshot

Short, 2-4 minute videos with no goal and no marketing push are one way that Generation Z consumes YouTube content.

YouTube Branded Content Entertains

The digital-savvy Generation Z is aware when they’re viewing content that acts as advertising for brands, and it doesn’t bother them. 

However, since they’re quick to size up the value of your content, you must be aware of how to market to this group of consumers if you want to hold their attention.

Here are 3 tips to help you create brand content that Generation Z embraces.

  • Avoid content that feeds their already-existing insecurities. 

This type of social media is precisely what Gen Z’ers are trying to avoid, and they’re highly sensitive to content that does not make them feel good. 

They’re likely to turn off or away from sites and brands that directly feed their insecurities.

  • Publish reviews and unboxing videos.

Unboxing videos show people unpackaging products in front of a video camera and are some of Gen Z's favorite types of brand content. This generation has embraced online reviews and unboxings for a number of years.

For example, the Unbox Therapy YouTube channel offers an unboxing-style review of all the different types of iPhones.

Unboxing video screenshot

  • Create authentic, trustworthy, branded content that includes storytelling.

For example, TakeWorthy Pens and Stationary published a heartwarming video of one couple writing notes back and forth to each other throughout their 30 years of marriage.

Storytelling video screenshot

The video takes the viewer on a complete journey through the couple’s entire history, from the first night they met to the passing of one decades later. 

There’s no advertising or branding throughout the story, allowing the viewer to escape into a beautifully told 4-minute movie. The video closes with its theme, “There's love in notes,” followed by a one-liner company name and tagline.

Learn how to create a YouTube following for your brand.

How to Cater to Generation Z on YouTube

To attract the next big consumer generation, don’t try to hide the fact that your branded content is an ad for your company. However, be sure to offer viewers authentic content that’s not laden with logos or CTA’s. Instead, offer an entertaining moment or story that leaves them feeling good.

There’s a lot to learn about the new generation as they grow, but one thing we do know is that they’re good at identifying and avoiding content designed to agitate them. 

Avoid angry and negative content, and replace it with videos that offer information, entertainment, or the opportunity to make a difference through social causes.

owner