Social Media Marketing and the Gen Z Attention Span

gen z man using ipad, phone, and laptop

Generation Z has become a prominent generation when marketing on social media. This is because it has always been surrounded by technology. However, this has played a significant role in the decrease of their attention span. The Gen Z attention span is a mere 8 seconds. Due to this decrease, social media platforms have adapted to maintain their attention. 

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z, sometimes referred to as the “iGeneration,” is the group of individuals born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. These individuals were born during the rise of the internet and have been surrounded by technology ever since. Gen Z is incredibly good at adapting to new devices and apps due to these being something that has been around their entire lives. 

This generation poses an immense opportunity for businesses to market. Most of Gen Z are graduates or have entered the workforce, meaning they will have an income to spend. Being a profitable group means they are a promising group for companies to market towards. In addition, because they are one of the most significant social media users, businesses can use social media for marketing their products. 

The Gen Z Attention Span

While Gen Z is a marketable generation, their attention span may challenge brands. As mentioned before, the average attention span of someone born into Gen Z is about 8 seconds. Why has this generation seen such a decrease in their average attention span over older generations? While many may argue that Millennials grew up around the same technology, their attention span is slightly longer, at about 12 seconds. This could be due to them not always having widespread access to technology in early childhood, like Gen Z has. Gen Z grew up in a highly stimulating environment. With technology constantly being a part of their upbringing, they became used to always seeing something new. Whether it was an advertisement for a new product or a new piece of technology, Gen Z was constantly introduced to new things. Growing up in the Digital Age, it became customary to have multiple devices in one household. Anything from smartphones to computers to gaming systems was a traditional thing to see. With multiple devices, this generation became used to multitasking and jumping between activities at a high rate. In addition, Gen Z grew up having any information they needed right at their fingertips. This accessibility eventually led to Gen Z individuals developing shorter attention spans. 

How Social Media Has Changed

The short attention span of Gen Z poses a major challenge for social media platforms and marketers. While Gen Z individuals are the highest daily social media users, platforms still need to adapt to keep up with their needs. Platforms like TikTok have quickly risen in popularity due to the short-form videos. With over 60 percent of TikTok’s users being from Gen Z, it is a popular platform among this age group. Short-form videos are easily digestible and only require a short amount of attention before moving on to the next. The nature of TikTok videos is most likely one of the primary reasons it works so well for Gen Z and continues to be one of the most used platforms of their generation. 

Other platforms have created versions of what TikTok offers to compete with the growing popularity of the short-form video platform. For example, Instagram launched Reels, similar to TikTok but is on Instagram. While many creators began posting their TikToks as Reels on their Instagram, new TikTok guidelines make it so the platform will take down anything it detects as an Instagram Reel. Youtube also launched Youtube Shorts, allowing users to post a video up to one minute long. 

How This Affects Marketing

While a shorter attention span among viewers may seem negative, this could benefit brands. Many brands have opted to use TikTok and Instagram reels to market to their target audiences. Because TikTok is a platform that provides users with a feed curated to what they interact with most, known as the “For You Page,” (FYP) brands have a unique opportunity to market to TikTok users. Additionally, due to the concise video options that TikTok provides, brands can use this to get the most critical information to users in a short period. While a longer 2-minute advertisement may not garner as much attention from Gen Z, a shorter TikTok video is more likely to keep the attention of these individuals. They will also most likely remember most of the video due to it being so short and having the most relevant information present. Brands that use videos that cut right to the point of their message in 8 seconds or less will be more likely to keep the full attention of their audience and warrant more actions from the video. Some examples of TikTok videos like these include Chipotle’s video about locally grown produce, or Croc’s Easter video. The main idea of these videos is shown within the first eight seconds of the video, ensuring that most viewers will understand what they need to know about the brand. 

Looking to Market Towards Gen Z?

Online Optimism has expertise in various platforms that can help you reach your desired audience. Our social media team is ready to take your brand to the next level and garner the results you are looking for. Contact us today to get started!