Understand Generation Z: A New Generation of Citizen Influencers

Most companies are just getting used to the rise of Millennials (those aged 20 – 37). Millennials in the workforce, in management roles, launching startups, as consumers and homeowners. But watch out, another generation is on the ascent: Generation Z.

Those aged 19 and younger constitute 25.9% of the US population and have a combined spending power of $44 billion. They were born with smartphones in their hands, are the worlds most tech savvy generation, and its time modern marketers got to know them better. They have the power to shape the world and marketing campaigns alike as digital citizen influencers.

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Compared to rebellious post-war baby boomers, optimistic Gen Y boomerangs, Gen Z grew up in the shadow of the 9/11, in a bleak economic landscape. They are resourceful, hard working, self sufficient and mature, for their age.

Ambitious and Entrepreneurial

  • 76% want their hobbies and interests to turn into full time jobs in the future
  • 80% of high school students believe they are more ambitious than previous generations
  • 72% want to start their own business.

Takeaway: Tap into this hard working entrepreneurial spirit, especially if it resonates with your brand image. It would be an effective way to unlock the Gen Z power as digitally savvy citizen influencers.

Make A Difference

  • 60% want their careers to have a positive impact on the world
  • Already 25% of 16 to 19 year olds volunteer
  • 76% actively care about what humanity is doing to the environment

Takeaway: Highlight socially responsible activities. Show you care. Provide volunteer opportunities, working with high schools to help younger people make a difference.


Born Digital

  • Gen Z operates across 5 screens (most Gen Y’ers prefer two); making them true natives of a multi-channel digital world
  • Facebook isn’t for them however: 25% of 13 to 17 year olds abandoned it in 2014. Gen Z now makes up only 23% of their user-base
  • They prefer Instagram, having gone up from 12% to 23% of Instagram users
  • They also favour more discreet channels: Snapchat, Secret and Whisper
  • 41% spend over 3 hours per-day on their computers

Takeaways: Adapt your social media marketing to where your audience is: in this case, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.


  • Focused on success
  • Realists
  • Want to make a difference
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Have a more innate fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Prefer images over text
  • 90% are optimistic about their own futures

With an average $16.90 allowance per week they have an impressive $44 billion worth of disposable income. As they graduate from college and enter the workforce this spending power will only grow.

How to connect with this digital army of citizen influencers?

  • Make them feel empowered
  • Present them with choices
  • Create bite size, visual content
  • Think multi-channel
  • Educate and support their natural curiosity
  • Don’t talk down to them
  • Appeal to their sense of value (financial, moral, social)

Ready to create your own influencer powered campaign?  Download our guide to Identify and Engage your Influencer.

Attentive.ly drives engagement with your campaigns by turning your supporters into advocates.

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