YouTube: A Key Resource for Generation Z

YouTube can be a powerful means to gain brand awareness with Generation Z.

Digital natives

Generation Z.  They’re the world’s “digital natives,” and rightfully so. Born in the mid-1990s and early 2010s, they don’t remember a time without cellphones. iPhones entered their worlds during their late childhood years. How we learn and connect profoundly changed following the release of smartphones and social media.

The birth of YouTube was right behind the release of the first iPhone. Since then, video consumption has dominated the online space. Video is anticipated to account for 83% of global internet traffic by 2022.

Most social media sites have experienced little growth since 2019, except for YouTube,According to Pew Research Center.With the platform’s growth, YouTube can be a powerful means to gain brand awareness with Generation Z.

Breaking it down on YouTube

Generation Z, or Gen Z, learns differently than generations before them. They engage with more online visual content than Millennials, many of whom still prefer books to learn. Both Millennials and Gen Z prefer visual-oriented platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok. However, when it comes to gaining knowledge or making decisions, YouTube comes out on top for Gen Z.

YouTube is saturated with easy-to-digest tutorials and instructional videos. These videos typically have a “break-down” approach. Videos are organized in a categorical or numerical format. There are graphics or visual cues when transitioning from one topic to the next. Whether they’re product reviews or how-to’s, common YouTube videos are titled along the lines of “five reasons I bought this product” to “three steps to accomplish this goal.”

For Gen Z, video is something that’s easier to follow. It gets to the point quickly. Time is of the essence to Gen Z. Their attention spans are short, but they’re adept at absorbing information quickly to determine a video’s worthiness. They want the bottom line immediately. They’re also very practical and expect real-world applications in their content.

All about face

There’s another key characteristic that draws Gen Z to YouTube videos: the influencer. An influencer is a person who has a following within a certain niche. This person possesses a level of expertise, raw talent, or entertainment value pertaining to that niche. Many of the educational videos on YouTube are led by a trusted vlogger or an attractive personality.

Influencers are key to getting the attention and trust of young consumers. This generation desires authentic connections to relatable people. Large companies are now collaborating with influencers to spread awareness on their brand and products. Traditional advertising methods don’t work as well with Gen Z. They love the messy, the informal, and content that feels user-generated. Influencers create these spaces on social media.

Time to escape

It isn’t always about learning on YouTube. Gen Z also gravitates towards YouTube to decompress. There are a variety of videos, polished and unpolished, that provide a feeling of entertainment and escapism. Social media often comes with feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Thus, uplifting videos that generate positive feelings are often sought.

Finally, they love seeing themselves represented in video content. In other words, seeing other Gen Zers. The rise of Reels and TikToks provides the experience of living vicariously through others. They want to experience the everyday life of fellow peers or influencers.

YouTube both deepens real-life connections and provides an escape from everyday stress. In an article by Think with Google, YouTube was the number one response for platforms used to relax and cheer up.

A final note on technical details

The tips discussed so far can guide strategies on how to formulate content from YouTube. We know it’s beneficial to create content that either informs or entertains. There’s both a practical use and a therapeutic one.

However, all of this planning won’t matter if your content isn’t optimized for YouTube search. Use words in YouTube titles that will likely be searched in your niche. Include these highly searched terms in your description.

Finally, since influencers and characters play such a key role in drawing in younger audiences, be sure to include their faces in the thumbnail. YouTube channels are branded by personalities. Blasting their faces on thumbnails helps with that. Use bold text to accompany their faces.

Video is here to stay in the coming years. With all of this in mind, it’s time to invest in content for YouTube that’s specifically geared for Gen Z. This generation is one that is uniquely converted through YouTube. With the right personality and style, videos can be the gateway to gaining the trust of the next generation of consumers and brand fans.