New research from creative agency Impero today reveals that Gen Z consumers are moving away from traditional social media in favour of inward facing community platforms. In fact, over two thirds (65%) said they feel more confident online when using community focused social apps like Discord or Twitch over feed apps like Instagram and Twitter. Additionally, some 41% of the data and privacy-minded generation think of closed community platforms as private spaces.
Uniqueness as a priority
As part of its latest report into Community, the research surveyed 350 Gen Z consumers and interviewed 10 community founders, leaders and members from Impero’s newly launched business offering - a real-time Gen Z platform called ‘The Move’. The research explored how Gen Z envision the internet and how the world is moving from a creator economy to a participatory economy.
The research found that uniqueness is a priority for Gen Z. Concerned with progress rather than success, they crave community and connection. Furthermore, 70% of respondents joined a community for a feeling of ‘belonging’, followed by ‘voice’ (66%) and privacy (61%).
By using social media, they have been able to form micro-online communities to help mobilise support for new causes and issues. Some 81% say they rely on online communities to inform and teach them about real world issues and what they can do to help. While a further 62% agreed that they would only feel comfortable calling out something they knew to be wrong if their peers did it too.
What does this mean for brands?
The report also finds that the brands that stand out are ones that are inclusive to Gen Z and allow them to join in rather than simply purchase products. 83% of Impero’s Gen Z audience agreed that brands should allow fans to use their IP to create content online.
These findings clearly show that to begin building digital communities, brands must determine what they are willing to do to engage with communities. How will they contribute? Brands must be willing to be vulnerable, transparent and open to learning.
Alex, 25, a member of The Move community said: “Using music, films and TV shows is such a big part of the way we communicate on the internet that if brands want to claim ownership and start shutting down creators they will definitely face backlash - I would definitely stop supporting them!”
Zuhur Mohamed, Research + Next Gen Culture Insights at Impero added: “Brands can make community a big part of their marketing strategy by shifting their mindset from “ownership” to “participation” and engaging with consumers in genuine ways that help uplift them and their voices. Our report found that Gen Z is a force of creativity, and brands should tap into their potential instead of viewing them as an audience to market to.”