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Stella Intelligence: The Gen Z Report Part II | Media Habits

23 Aug 2022 Elizabeth McHugh

in Strategy, Glimmer, Trending

For our first post in this new series on Gen Z, we focused on shopping habits in the beauty, personal care, and food and beverage categories. Now we’ll turn to digital media habits, unveiling our new research to help clarify how Gen Zs are spending their digital time and why certain messaging will resonate with them.


The percentage of Gen Zers who visit each platform daily:













While 100% of Gen Zers use social media; we wanted to understand which platform they use the most. YouTube defies the “social media platform” category in many ways, but it is, notably, the top platform for daily use. Instagram came in just ahead of TikTok—though we don’t expect it will again next year.

Daily amount of time spent on platform gets interesting: 35% of Gen Zers spend more than three hours a day with YouTube, while 31% spend more than three hours a day on TikTok. YouTube and TikTok see far and away the most time spent. Meanwhile, nearly one-third spend 30 minutes or less a day with Snapchat, while 27% report the same of Instagram; Reddit has its passionate users but overall, 44% say they don’t use the platform at all.

TikTok leads with product discovery: 35% of Gen Zers rely on TikTok the most for discovery, followed by Instagram, at 25%. Instagram is still highly relevant with Gen Z, but TikTok—which continues to skyrocket in prominence—is critical for brands to get right (and from campaign setup to creative best practices, you can access our guide to TikTok here).



Since the beginning of COVID we have stressed, “what are you saying to Gen Z?” The pandemic pushed Gen Z to realign their priorities—like it did with so many of us—and those revised priorities require care and attention. 61% of Gen Zers say that saving money is more important to them now—and 61% also say that taking care of their mental health is more important to them now. A few lessons to discern from that:

    • This generation, which is still young and in a formative phase—only 32% work full-time—are concerned about finances. Brands should support them as they learn about budgeting and as they strive to reach their financial goals.
    • As has been well documented, Gen Z will not respond well to inauthenticity. In support of their mental health, they will turn away from platforms and brands that sell lifestyles that are too glossy or perfect. Gen Z’s top request from advertisers is to see more people whose lives are not perfect: 51% say they would feel better represented if advertising moved in that direction, compared to 44% of the full population. And Gen Z women would really like the pressure to emulate perfection removed, with 57% reporting they would feel better represented in advertising with less perfection.

Brands should focus on messaging that is supportive, real, and helpful to Gen Z as they move through the turbulence of their teens and twenties. That messaging should certainly be delivered via social channels—which are clearly such a huge part of this generation’s life. And, while it will take time for Gen Z to accrue real spending power, they are closely watching brands now. Brands with an interest in reaching Gen Z long-term should market themselves accordingly, sparking lifelong loyalty. Those brands should also be adventurous with new platforms—like BeReal. Correct messaging, combined with early adopter cool points, will strike a chord with this generation as they push brands to engage in new, more transparent ways.


Continue reading about Gen Z and the social media landscape:

Blog Post: Stella Intelligence—The Gen Z Report Part I | Shopping Habits

Blog Post: BeReal | Not Just Another Social Media Network

Infographic: Gen Z | Growing Up Amidst the Pandemic

White Paper: Social Media Now

White Paper: TikTok Performance Marketing Playbook


Notes and Sources:

Our Glimmer research includes those 18 and over

Glimmer Survey 2022, eMarketer, “Millennials and Gen Z Consumers Hold Brands to a High Standard,” 2 August 2022, Mintel, Marketing to Gen Z, U.S.,” July 2022

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