What Influences: Gen Z & Millennials

A VizSense Consumer Survey

INDUSTRY|May 17, 2022

Gen Z & Millennials may appear easy to reach as MOST of them are online (84% of Gen Z and 81% of millennials according to the Pew Research Center) and active on social media. But understanding how to best target these two (very different) groups, especially through the fastest growing form of online shopping (via Social Influencers), is the hard part.

They each have their own stereotypes that marketers lean on to reach these audiences, but many brands are missing out on essential details to truly engage and convert consumers through influencer marketing. Yes, everyone knows Gen Z loves TikTok, and Millennial’s Facebook. But beyond that, where is the analysis of HOW they make purchases, WHO they trust, WHY they feel a need to buy a product/follow an influencer and WHAT types of content they engage with the most?

Luckily, we did the firsthand research for you, so you don’t have to.

We surveyed over 600 consumers in the Gen Z generation (18-26-year-olds) and Millennial generation (27-40-year-olds). Both groups are daily/weekly social media users. We wanted to learn more about how to influence them through influencer marketing, better understand their preferences on social media, and help our clients BEST reach their target markets through influencer marketing strategies.

So, let’s dig in.

First, an overview of some similarities and differences between the two groups:

Image showing Gen Z prefers Lifestyle influencers, Instagram as their social media of choice, interacting on social media with likes, Instagram as their purchasing platform, and authentic content VS Millenials who prefer Lifestyle influencers, Facebook as their social media of choice, interacting on social media with likes, Facebook as their purchasing platform, and authentic content.

We found it important to ask consumers who they trusted most when it came to influencers and their follower count. We found that both Gen Z (36%) and Millennials (43%) are most trusting of micro-influencers (1-50k). Both groups mentioned they felt micro-influencers were more relatable to them, increasing their likelihood of interactions with content.

When we asked both groups what “trust” looks like to them regarding following an influencer, our findings were interesting. Gen Z says unbiased reviews and influencers sharing their personal life is important to them. Millennials say unbiased reviews and interacting with followers are important to them.

Image showing that both Millennials (63%) and Gen Z (70%) consumers care more about authentic and relatable content than follower count on Social Media.

At VizSense, we prioritize micro-influencers in our campaigns, as they are an essential part of reaching and interacting with Gen Z and Millennials. Our firsthand data further validates this strategy – we have witnessed the highest engagement and impact through executing micro-influencer programs in the past 7 years (in contrast to macro-influencer or celebrity dominated campaigns).

Engagement is a marketing metric widely used across social media marketing initiatives - so it is important to understand how Gen Z and Millennials choose to engage with content they gravitate towards across social platforms. We found Millennials are more likely to comment, click links, and share posts over Gen Z. While Gen Z is more likely to save and screenshot posts over Millennials. This data not only helps predict KPI’s for social campaigns targeting these two groups but also helps curate content strategies that will likely lead to key engagements from both Gen Z and Millennials.

Image showing that both Millennials (54%) and Gen Z (61%) overwhelmingly prefer to interact on social media using likes vs comments, saves, screenshots, link clicks, and shares.

One of the most interesting findings between groups is that the majority of Gen Z (55%) and Millennials (60%) search for products promoted by influencers outside of the influencer's affiliate link. Within the influencer marketing industry, affiliate marketing has been said to be cost-effective, as brands only compensate influencers based on sales through their affiliate tracked link. But, knowing the younger consumer is intentionally seeking other methods to convert, is this marketing tactic the most powerful (for brands and consumers) on its own?

Image that has 'The majority of Gen Z (55%) and Millenials (60%) search for products promoted by influencers outside of the influencer's affiliate link' inside of a Google like search bar.

Once we discovered this, we did more research to see what other reputable sources had to say on affiliate marketing’s effectiveness these days. We found that younger consumers trust the influencers they follow - but they still tend to make purchase decisions on their own terms. Affiliate marketing conversion rates average between 0.5% to 1%, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.

This is why affiliate marketing is not a strong standalone tactic. With Gen Z and Millennials staying away from affiliate links, it is important for brands to interact directly with target audiences through engaging and authentic content that tells the story of their brand.

In Conclusion

Gen Z will soon become the largest cohort of consumers, but Millennials still hold the most purchasing power (for now!) (Business Insider). Engaging Gen Z and Millennials in a relatable, authentic way can be hard but it is important to do this tactfully to generate results. If you are looking for new influencer strategies to best engage these groups, get in touch with our team!

Find even MORE stats and data on how to best engage Gen Z & Millennials with influencer marketing, by downloading our survey results.


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