While marketing to Millennials has been a hot topic for years now, their successors, Generation Z, are now entering adulthood. Generation Z is generally considered to be people born between 1996 and 2010. That means the oldest of them are in their early 20s as of this writing. As brands turn to marketing to this generation, it’s important to understand how Gen Z searches for content, because it has some key differences from the older folks, including Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers.
Trends in Online Search for Gen Z
- Gen Z searches on their mobile devices. These days, lots of people search for content on their phone or tablet. But Gen Z is well-known for round-the-clock smartphone use unlike any generation before them. They perform the majority of all their searches on their phones, even more than Millennials. This is one of the most critical things to cater to regarding how Gen Z searches for content. Having a responsive website and mobile-friendly content is absolutely essential for reaching Gen Z searchers and potential customers.
- Gen Z uses long-tail keyword searches. While older generations tend to search using four or fewer words, Gen Z reliably uses long-tail keywords, and their searches often include five or more words. They commonly enter an entire question, like “Where is the closest pizza restaurant?” Part of this is because Gen Z uses voice search much more than other generations, but they’ll also type all this out. Conveniently, Millennials are increasingly trending toward similar search patterns. Content, including keywording, headlines, subheadings, and other SEO factors, should be optimized for these types of lengthier search queries.
- Gen Z loves video content. If you’re not using video to market your brand, you’re missing out on the Gen Z demographic. YouTube is a big part of this, so it’s a smart place to publish branded video content if you want to reach young adults. In fact, according to Think with Google, 85% of Gen Z teens use YouTube, and 80% say they’ve used it to learn about something. Creating informative content in video format is a smart investment into building brand awareness and authority among today’s youngest adult (and soon-to-be adult) consumers.
- Gen Z likes to search with “best,” “cheap,” and “how to.” According to a recent Fractl study, more than half of Gen Z is likely to search with the word “best” when appropriate, as compared to half of Millennials and less than one-third of Gen X and Boomers. They’re also slightly more likely to use “cheap” in their searches, and considerably more likely to use “how to.” Use these terms in your keyword phrases when appropriate, but don’t be spammy or disingenuous about it; for example, if you title something as a “how to,” make sure it provides those instructions; if you call something cheap, but it obviously isn’t affordable relative to similar products or services from competitors, you’re just going to alienate visitors.
- Gen Z searches for brands on social media. When looking at how Gen Z searches for content, it’s important to understand just how plugged into social media they are. While using their smartphones all day, they’re generally logged on to multiple social media networks—especially Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. They search for information about brands on these platforms, and they follow their accounts when interested. To reach Gen Z consumers, brands need an active, engaging presence on these sites, and they need to deliver value to their followers.