Here’s What Motivates Gen Zers to Engage with New Brands on Social

July 25, 2022

Some 57% of US adults say that they use social media as a way of finding new brands, but that figure rises to 82% among Gen Z adults ages 18-22, according to a report [download page] from Smartly.io.

The results follows research last year indicating that a majority of consumers were turning to social media more to discover new products and brands.

Learning about new brands is one thing, but engaging with them is another. So what motivates Gen Z consumers in particular to engage with a new brand via social media? In surveying 1,000 adults ages 18-22, Smartly.io found that the top reason given for engaging with a new brand is due to discounts being offered, as cited by half of the respondents.

Close behind, almost half of Gen Zers will engage with a new brand if it has products/services they need (46%) and if the brand appears trustworthy and transparent (45%).

Interestingly, far fewer say that influencer promotion/validation (18%) is a key reason for engaging with a new brand (despite the appeal of review content from influencers). Belief in the brand’s values and mission (16%) also appears to not be a key factor.

As it stands, then, it seems that when younger consumers are engaging with new brands they do so on largely transactional terms (discounts, needed products from a seemingly trustworthy brand).

Ad Preferences

The survey reveals that 87% of Gen Zers are open to seeing ads from new brands on social media.

When they see ads from brands on social media, the style that Gen Zers prefer the most is the Story/Reels/TikTok style, with 40% of respondents choosing this as their top option of the 5 listed. Coming in next is the photo carousel (multiple photos to swipe through in a single post), the preferred ad type for 27% share of respondents.

Overall, three-quarters of Gen Zers surveyed said they had clicked on an ad on social media in the previous 30 days. However, these haven’t always led to purchases, as a majority (55%) said they had not made a purchase based on social media ads during that timeframe.

About the Data: The results are based on two surveys conducted in May: the first of 1,000 US adults (18+); and the second of 1,000 Gen Z adults (18-22).

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