Gen Z and the Rise of “Dark Social”

In Vogue Business, Lucy Maguire writes, “Gen Z is reinventing social media marketing.” Maguire suggests that “brands should evolve their marketing strategies and reconsider platforms to reach younger audiences.”

“smiles,” © 2009 Alex, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

“Young people aged 16 to 24 spent an average of seven hours per day online in 2019, three of which were spent exclusively on social media, according to GlobalWebIndex,” writes Maguire. “But in markets like the US, growth on platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook is slowing, while newcomer TikTok grew rapidly in 2019.”

So, how do we reach Gen Z, “who account for 40 per cent of global consumers as of this year”?

Below, we highlight one of Maguire’s examples. You can read the rest here.

The rise of dark social

Due to concerns over cancel culture and privacy, Gen Z is moving away from open and exposed networks to more private platforms to share content. “Dark social” networking sees users sharing content via private messaging apps or encrypted channels like WhatsApp and Telegram. It is difficult for brands to trace traffic that comes from such social networks.

‘The reality is, there’s probably a lot more brand advocates for a company than they first realised because they can’t trace a lot of the traffic to where the discussions are taking place,’ says GlobalWebIndex trends manager Chase Buckle. This could mean brands need to both invest their digital media dollars in larger-scale awareness campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, as well as in ‘below-the-line’ campaigns: easily shareable digital content that leads to traction on private messaging apps … “

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