[Study] Always Connected, Forever Uninterruptible: Using Native Video To Reach Gen Z

on The Future of Advertising

OVERVIEW


The younger sibling to the much covered Millennial generation, Generation Z is ready for its own close up.

The US Census puts the population of Generation Z at 69 million strong (22 percent of the US population), with a combined buying power of $43 Billion. Referring to people born after 1995, the bulk of this group is still in school.

Gen Z is perhaps most notable for having a remarkably different digital upbringing than any of its predecessors.



Millennials can reflect back on a time when smartphones, or even the Internet, weren’t part of day-to-day life. Gen Z has grown up in a world where their first phone was likely Internet-connected. As a result their identities have formed (and are forming) in lockstep with their relationship to their phones. It shapes who they are and is their primary means of escape.

A smartphone is not just a phone and a computer to them… but also a television. By virtue of having their phones with them at all times, they transcend the classic “lean back” home TV viewing behavior to a full day of watching and being entertained at school, work, waiting in line or hanging out at home. There is not a single “mobile” viewing style though: depending on where they are Gen Z show very different preferences for sound, full screen vs. in-feed viewing and reading.

Gen Z has grown up in a world where their first phone was likely Internet-connected. As a result their identities have formed (and are forming) in lockstep with their relationship to their phones. It shapes who they are and is their primary means of escape.

From an advertising perspective, Gen Z is both unique in that they are constantly reachable, while also being the hardest generation to guarantee attention for. They are comfortable giving partial amounts of their attention to whatever content appears in their mobile feeds, but also make near instant judgements about its potential value.

To break down this generational shift, Sharethrough set out to examine how Generation Z is engaging with and watching content on their phones, as well as their perception of native advertising and how it influences them. To do this, we surveyed 300 consumers in late June 2016 between the ages of 18 and 21 about their habits and attitudes toward content online, using Qualtrics.

KEY FINDINGS



For Gen Z, the smartphone is now the primary video viewing device, well beyond TV

  • Gen Z are more than one-third more likely to watch video on a phone each day than the TV: 71 percent report using their phone to watch video daily, compared to 52 percent on a TV and 45 percent on a computer.

  • It’s not just about frequency with Gen Z, it’s about volume, too. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of Gen Z watch more than 30 minutes of mobile video each day and 1-in-6 watch more than two hours.

  • 87 percent of Gen Z say that they use their phone all of the time to access content, while 51 percent say they use their computer as frequently.

YouTube and Facebook are major drivers of Gen Z mobile video consumption

  • 58 percent of Gen Z say they watch video on Facebook and YouTube each day.

  • 50 percent say they watch video on Snapchat each day, with 42 percent watching on Instagram. Twitter lags well behind, with just 24 percent of Gen Z watching video there each day.

Gen Z are watching video throughout the day, but how they watch depends on location

  • At home 87 percent of Gen Z say they watch video with sound on and 85 percent watch it in full screen.

  • When watching at school or work and commuting, Gen Z overwhelmingly say they prefer volume off (76 percent and 62 percent accordingly).

  • They are roughly split on their preference for full screen vs. in-feed viewing when waiting in line (50%) or when at school or work (44%).

Silent autoplay video gives brands an “attention audition” with Gen Z

Silent autoplay video gives brands an “attention audition” with Gen Z

Like Millennials, Gen Z relies on headlines as their own form of information

84 percent of Gen Z say that a headline has a strong impact on whether they watched an in-feed video ad. 26 percent of Gen Z say they have search a brand online or go to its website or social media account after reading a headline in-feed.

Gen Z like to be self-directed in how they engage with a brand

28 percent will search a brand online after reading a native ad headline. 25 percent will visit a brand’s website or social media page directly after reading an in-feed ad headline.

Gen Z has a strong aversion to ads that try to control their web behavior or clutter a site’s experience

Among Gen Z that said they had seen an in-feed ad in the last 90 days but had not clicked, 55 percent said that it was because they did not want be redirected to another site.

Among those in Gen Z that use Ad Blocking software, the top reason (56%) was because they found ads to be disruptive to their online experience.