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Gen Z Consumers Favor YouTube Over Facebook When it Comes to What Influences Them

Gen Z consumers are influenced by online platforms, but Facebook is far from the top of their list.

A report released this week by Lab42 Research highlighted the different social media habits of baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z users, and the latter group is deviating from the patterns established by its older counterparts.

“Social media is not one size fits all,” said Athos Maimarides, VP of research and managing partner at Lab42. “Our research shows that Gen Z social media consumers have very different allegiances than their predecessors.”

YouTube is Gen Z’s No. 1 platform for social media engagement, with 87 percent of respondents saying they use the video sharing platform. Instagram comes in second at 68 percent, while Snapchat captures a little under half (48 percent) of respondents. Only 36 percent of Gen Z social media users cite Facebook as a favored platform.

Zebra IQ, a data analysis firm that assesses trends in marketing and branding among Gen Z and millennial consumers, added TikTok, Imgur, Reddit, Twitch and more to its list of platforms that are growing in influence for the younger demographic.

The firm’s report, titled “The State of Gen Z,” points to user-generated content as the most compelling influence on Gen Z consumers, followed by micro-influencer content. The consumer group appears to be more wary of polished ads and slick social media stars hawking product than their millennial counterparts, gravitating instead toward content that appears more organic and authentic.

Gen Z consumers also expect an unprecedented level of influence over the products they want to buy, according to the report.

The group looks for near-constant two-way communication with brands on social platforms, and expects to be asked for feedback on products. Exclusivity and instant gratification also come into play with Gen Z consumers, who have fueled the craze around buzzy product “drops.” Marketing tools like pre-launch sales are also compelling for the group, according to the Zebra IQ report.

“Social media trends can be unpredictable—one day you are the undisputed king of the land, the next day, a scandal brings you tumbling down,” said Lab42’s Maimarides.

She predicts that YouTube’s net momentum is highest of all social platforms, with 23 percent of the survey’s Gen Z respondents saying they plan to use the site more over the coming year. By contrast, Facebook has a net momentum of 11 percent growth with Gen Z consumers.