Gen Z Goes to the 'Gram for New Products, Brand Engagement

But Instagram isn't the only platform they use

Snapchat might be tops with teens when it comes to their favorite social media platform, but this generation prefers to engage with brands on Instagram.

According to a spring 2019 report from investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray, 73% of Gen Zers (those ages 7 to 22 per the report) said they preferred brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat following as the preferred method at roughly 50%.

Instagram is quickly becoming the go-to channel for many brands to engage younger consumers because its shoppable features have turned conversion into an authentic part of the platform experience. The platform is also keen on providing consumers a frictionless shopping experience through its in-app checkout feature, including major brands such as Nike, the second most popular shopping website among teens, according to Piper Jaffray.

But Instagram isn't the only social platform marketers have to reach this generation. According to a November 2018 survey from video creation platform Wibbitz, an equal number of digital video viewers (13%) ages 18 to 22 said they follow their favorite brands on LinkedIn as well. Slightly fewer respondents noted the same for Twitter and Facebook.

While these figures aren’t huge, a greater number of respondents (29%) noted using Instagram to follow celebrities or influencers, giving retailers and brands yet another avenue to connect with this cohort.

And more substantially, a March 2019 report from market research company GlobalWebIndex found that worldwide, 42% of those in the 16-to-24 age range followed brands they like on social media platforms, and 25% of those said that seeing a brand or product that has a lot of "likes" would encourage them to buy something.

Knowing where this generation wants to engage with brands is important, because according to Piper Jaffray, teens’ overall retail spending will reach about $830 billion this year, up 6% over 2018. And without the help of their parents, this generation spends an estimated $143 billion a year, according to a 2018 report from integrated ad agency Barkley, which defined the cohort as those ages 7 to 21.