GenZ & The Rise Of Online Communities

March 25, 2021

GenZ is a resilient audience driven by high expectations, self-actualization, and quick learning. Ranging in age from 9 to 24 this cohort is unique in its preference for micro-communities as a gateway for intimate online experiences. Smaller online communities have become the norm for GenZ to connect and shape culture at large. 

Online behavior for GenZ tends to range from nihilism to humor. As a group, they are instinctively driven to be part of something bigger than the ego–craving the security of being needed, that something with purpose is ahead to work for.

For GenZ purpose is what creates true happiness

Purpose is central to GenZ’s sense of being. However, it isn’t enough to create a sense of purpose for yourself, purpose is also something GenZ wants to create for others. This sensitive cohort has high morals especially when trying to solve challenges facing the world. Embracing a deeper sense of purpose is empowering GenZ to evaluate choices and move forward. 

Every generation that came before has had its defining moment. For example, over 300,000 people worked together to put humans on the moon. Thousands of volunteers are working together today to combat against Covid-19. GenZ will have challenges in the future that have to be dealt with beyond the pandemic. They will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs being replaced by automation such as self-driving cars, but there is potential for doing more together.

Has GenZ become anti-social? 

Traditional social media has no appeal for GenZ. Being aspirational in nature, it’s no surprise they would rather be proactively involved in an online community playing a game or connecting with their peers about pressing social issues such as poverty or disease than sharing likes on Facebook.

This is especially true during the span of the pandemic when the appeal of social media is greatest, GenZ have altered the digital playbook by avoiding social media. The younger ones in the demographic are connecting through digital gaming. 

Games like Fortnite have garnered a massive following of 15.3 million players, most of them from this cohort. GenZ also enjoys watching events such as musicians on YouTube, funny videos on TikTok, and interactive games on Twitch.

According to the Harvard Business Review, Fortnite is a pioneer in the world of branded interactions for GenZ. By establishing a relationship with gaming partners such as Marvel and Nike, Fortnite is providing younger players with customized skins, weapons, and in-game avatars. Such in-game promotion is a tool for game developers to add more in-product brand opportunities. By building unique experiences within games, companies can build brand loyalty from this hard-to-reach audience.

Another popular destination is Roblox where nearly two-thirds of GenZ can be found playing in the USA. Tami Bhaumik, vice president of marketing for Roblox is quite aware of in app marketing opportunities. “We are aging up and turning more brands away,” she says. Her team gets regular feedback from the GenZ community about which brands to include on the popular platform. “They don’t have tolerance for what they see as a cumbersome experience.” 

As GenZ comes of age, it’s the generation that is challenging contemporary ways of thinking about climate change, opting to cure diseases through a better understanding of genome data, and improving how people can vote online. Most want to change the world by personalizing education so everyone can learn and find solutions for society that can be fixed.

In a survey asking GenZ what defines their identity, the popular answer wasn’t nationality, religion, or ethnicity, it was “citizen of the world.” GenZ believe the greatest opportunities are now global. This is the generation that is serious about ending poverty and disease.  

Although GenZ are concerned about larger questions such as stopping climate change, or finding cures for diseases, or modernizing democracy so everyone can vote–they are also enterprising. Since many of GenZ parents had stable jobs, GenZ are trying to be entrepreneurial in finding purpose in work. 

Entrepreneurial purpose comes from building a community

GenZ believes that the greatest opportunities are now global. No country can fight climate change alone or prevent pandemics. Progress now requires GenZ coming together to start companies or movements–not just as the youthful generation in a city or nation, but as a global community concerned with profoundly changing what they buy and consume.

Increasingly, GenZ is openly embracing the concept of conscious commerce. They are changing how they consume. In all, GenZ makes up 40% of today’s consumer population. Because of their moral compass, they spend differently. Most prefer to avoid conspicuous consumption altogether. 

GenZ want brands that have values similar to their own

Brands have to be a reflection of their personal beliefs and tastes to be considered for consumption. GenZ wants to see that a brand or products are improving society. Marketers and brands should experiment in creative ways to cultivate a relationship that will be meaningful to both sides in years to come.

According to PEW research, some of the topics GenZ care about include:

  • Diversity: 60% say ethnic diversity is good for society
  • Social responsibility: 70% of GenZ purchase from companies they consider ethical
  • LGBTQ rights: 60% of GenZ think same-sex couples should be able to adopt children

Brands have to be transparent and accountable

GenZ is open to researching a brand. They will spend hours on a brand website, scroll through social media platforms, and read comments or reviews. Here are GenZ values:

  1. Brand trust is critical to GenZ
  2. Brands have to hold up the high standard both internally and externally
  3. Brands have to be bold, have a strong voice, and personality

For your brand to truly engage and connect with GenZ, you have to show the brand’s charm and personality in an entertaining way. 

Three ways community marketing can be an effective brand strategy

  1. Use FrontAd to reach GenZ through special events with celebrity guests and superfans, through a Zoom or YouTube event
  2. Have GenZ creatives or thought leaders serve as brand extensions to tap into the GenZ desire for larger purpose in a way that feels less transactional and more authentic
  3. If you are bringing a product specifically for GenZ, consider getting feedback from GenZ during product development

Brands have to create connection through a culture of inclusion

GenZ is ethnically more diverse than previous generations. According to PEW research, 6% are children of immigrants, or have at least one immigrant parent. 

As GenZ are seeking semi-private interactive forums where they can gather with friends around interests, beliefs, or passions–brands can build a bridge with FrontAd to give GenZ exclusive content in alignment with their interests. GenZ are also spending time on the FrontAd platform learning about the latest changes in immigration while on their mobile device. 

FrontAd can give your brand tailored exposure to online platforms pertaining to GenZ interests for immigration and finance.

Create custom experiences for GenZ with FrontAd