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25.08.2023 Search Engine Land

Who cares if Gen Z significantly prefers user-generated content?

Are generational labels becoming obsolete in marketing? Here's why you should reconsider your strategies to reach diverse, modern audiences. The post Who cares if Gen Z significantly prefers user-generated content? appeared first on Search Engine Land. - “Gen Z Significantly Prefers User-Generated Content, Older Millennials Lean Toward Streaming, InMobi Insights Survey Shows,” proclaims a press release I recently read. This headline almost drove me to start a loud, angry, uncontrolled rant, but I didn’t want to look like Abe Simpson in the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” meme. So, let me explain quietly, rationally, and unemotionally why marketers should think twice before continuing to use outdated demographic cliches and obsolete content descriptions. Before I do, let me provide InMobi Insights with equal time. What types of content do Gen Z, younger millennials, and older millennials prefer? InMobi surveyed more than 1,000 US consumers about their streaming subscription behavior and found: Gen Z (ages 18-24) enjoys user-generated content (UGC) more than other content types. UGC was followed by music/podcasts, gaming, and TV in that order. Younger millennials (ages 25-34) consume content across all formats equally. They don’t have a clear content preference. Older millennials (ages 35-44) enjoy TV the most. UGC was their second choice. In the press release, Justin Sparks, the Director of Vertical Strategy for North America at InMobi, said:  “The clear generational divide shows how the content vehicle of the time creates lasting habits and familiarity. To win over Gen Z as they come into purchasing power and boardroom and political influence, UGC will be the critical lever across the content ecosystem. You can see this with the NFL’s Sunday Ticket deal with YouTube that starts this year as they move away from a long-standing partnership with Dish TV to court Gen Z fans to the sport.” OK, equal time is over. Who is our target audience? Now, I believe that one of the questions that brands and agencies should continue asking is: “Who is our target audience?”  But I also think we should start asking, “Why are we still using Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers to segment the audiences we do or don’t want to target?” There are many ways to segment audiences. This includes specific interests and intents as well as demographics. So, why should we begin asking questions about our use of generations now? The Pew Research Center, which has been at the forefront of generational research over the years, decided to take a step back and reconsider how they approach generations going forward. Michael Dimock, the president of Pew Research Center, published “5 things to keep in mind when you hear about Gen Z, Millennials, Boomers and other generations.” This should be required reading for every marketer and executive at all brands and agencies in America. Dimock said: “At Pew Research Center, we think it can be useful to talk about generations. But there are some important considerations for readers to keep in mind whenever they come across a news story or research about generations.” These are: Generational categories are not scientifically defined. Generational labels can lead to stereotypes and oversimplification. Conversations about generations often focus on differences instead of similarities. Conventional views of generations can have an upper-class bias. People can change over time.” If you want to get a second option, then read Mark Ritson’s column in Marketing Week, “Eight out of 10 millennials know demographics are horseshit.”  Ritson concludes, “It’s time to leave this lazy approach to segmentation behind.” What can I add? What is user-generated content? While you’re reviewing your assumptions about market segmentation, you may also want to tackle another tough question: “What is user-generated content?” Is it the type of content created by James Donaldson, also known as MrBeast? He’s one of the most successful YouTube creators, with over 163 million subscribers.  But MrBeast also has a TikTok account with 84 million followers, an Instagram account with 38.5 million followers, an X account (formerly known as Twitter) with 21.3 million followers, and a Facebook account with 4.2 million followers.  MrBeast’s content features elaborate stunts, challenges, and giving away large sums of money. For example, his most-watched video is “Would You Fly To Paris For A Baguette?”  Uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 8, 2022, it now has 853 million views and 37.9 million engagements. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t a fluke. MrBeast has uploaded 89 videos to YouTube in the last three years, which now have 14.5 billion views and 502 million engagements.  After watching this “user-generated content” at your next marketing meeting, you might want to ask, “Why can’t we create content like this?”  If you work at a media and entertainment company, then you should pound the table and ask your team, “Why aren’t we creating content like this?” It’s also worth knowing that Donaldson isn’t the only YouTube creator to transform user-generated content into a rewarding career.  Oxford Economics estimates that YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported more than 390,000 full-time equivalent U.S. jobs and contributed over $35 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2022. Dig deeper: Video content guide: Why you should start creating videos now (plus examples) Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on. “> “> “> Processing…Please wait. SUBSCRIBE See terms. function getCookie(cname) { let name = cname + "="; let decodedCookie = decodeURIComponent(document.cookie); let ca = decodedCookie.split(';'); for(let i = 0; i

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