Looking for Gen Z? Check the group chat

Young people are losing interest in social media, but private communities prevail.

Yep, it’s another article about Gen Z.

Four young people all standing and smiling at their smartphones while texting in front of the faded outlines of iPhones in the background.

Stick with us: It’s because that generation will have a real sway on the future of the market — Gen Z holds $450B+ in spending power.

And brands have already been vying for a piece of that pie with targeted ads and influencer marketing.

The problem?

Gen Zers are sick of scrolling through a barrage of advertisements on their feeds.

Now, young people are flocking to private online spaces — like the humble group chat — to communicate without the roar of marketing campaigns, per Digiday.

But that leaves brands scrambling to find creative ways to reach their target consumers. Some are experimenting with other private communities:

  • Discord, a chat app for gamers with 196.2m monthly active users, has been used by brands like Wendy’s, Gucci, and Sephora to create communities.
  • Smaller group chat app Geneva launched in 2021 and has raised $22m in funding. Brands like Mejuri and Rare Beauty, as well as individual creators, have set up shop.

This trend is pretty retro — let’s not forget our collective obsession with Facebook Groups in the early 2000s, and the following explosion of brand-created groups.

Plus, it makes sense for a generation that gravitates toward simpler times. We’ve covered Gen Z’s love for outdated tech and its desire to get offline.

The next iteration of this trend…

… will likely be about herding users into ad-supported, brand-friendly communities that are easier to infiltrate.

Many already exist, like Fortnite, Roblox, and the metaverse, joined by newcomers like RTRO — a ChatGPT-powered messaging app for Gen Z.

These online spaces allow brands to advertise more naturally without disrupting users or, worse, losing customers.

Whatever you do, just don’t you dare send Gen Z a green text.

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