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The King of Data is Here to Help Us Understand the Elusive Gen Z

This topic is nothing new to marketers, and is much like the revolving glass door many of these same people walk through each day. How do you reach the young generation with the discretionary income? Ten years ago, this was about Millennials and today, it's about Gen Z. Thankfully, Google is here to provide insight into today’s teen while touching on the generation that paved the way through today's digital landscape.

Google has oodles of data and they’ve given some insight into the minds of the rising stars. I strongly suggest you check out Thinking With Google Dot Com as it is great brain food for marketers. Recently, they released some reports on Gen Z and what makes them tick.

The sample size was two thousand random people ages 13-24, and the survey was conducted via online panels by Ipsos. So, take it for what it is, but it does provide some insight into that demographic’s mindset and compares it to those who were just in their shoes - Millennials.

So what does 26 percent of the U.S. population think?

Imagery influences their buying decisions and they weigh the opinions of friends greater than others when choosing a brand. In other words, they are like every other U.S. consumer. If your neighbor likes his John Deere (and you like your neighbor), you’ll be influenced when the time comes for your new rig. It’s today's word-of-mouth. Nothing groundbreaking.

But when you start looking at how they consume information, that trend changes. For example, seven out of 10 teens spend more than three hours a day watching mobile video. Static imagery can be a bore to them unless it's really well done and personal to them. This is the demographic that has had a smartphone since 12 years old. It’s a milestone in their lives, third only to getting a driver’s license and graduating from school. If you want to reach this demographic, your website needs to be mobile-optimized, not just mobile-friendly.

Today, Gen Z represent $44 billion in purchasing power annually - and that doesn't account for their influence on parents and household purchases. So how do you look “cool” to this generation? Google took care of that too, although it might not be an exact science - it falls somewhere between a white paper and coffee table reading.

Just take a look at their It’s Lit: A Guide to What Teens Think is Cool and you can decide for yourself. There are some interesting metrics within, especially regarding social media consumption and their perspective of Google, so it is certainly worth a scan. If you are more of a creative type, the design is also worth a glance - 80s anyone?

They don’t know a life without global warming, terrorism, or smartphones. They are highly informed and, because of their online social lives, more empathetic than previous generations. They expect more from the brands they support because the competition is just a screen tap away and they know how companies conduct themselves thanks to sites such as Glassdoor and Better Business Bureau.

What this information tells me is that companies need to prepare to deliver a higher standard across the board as this generation is preparing to enter the workforce.They see brands as a driver for change and will support those that influence the world (well, maybe not Oreo or Chick-fil-a, but hey, everyone has their vice).

Take a peek at the entire report



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