Recent social media trends have gotten some to wondering if social media is on its way out. Meta’s metaverse efforts have cost billions; TikTok is encroaching on Instagram’s performance; TikTok has decreased its global revenue goals and may be in for legal and regulatory challenges; and Twitter is a whole different story.
Not so fast, says Jasmine Enberg from eMarketer. She says social media is evolving, not dying. And the evolution is being driven by Gen Z. Analyst Debra Aho Williamson, also from eMarketer, says that Gen Z is not leaving social media – rather, they are moving to more interaction, seeking to be informed and entertained, while also engaging with their friends.
While TikTok is still the primary app for teens, there are competitors emerging for this audience:
- About one-third of teens are now on BeReal since its launch three years ago, which is more users than Instagram had after three years and about even with Snapchat after two years.
- Gen Z will leave the older social platforms and head to new platforms such as Fizz, Gas and Geneva in the coming year.
- eMarketer’s Enberg says that the new platforms return to the original premise of social networking by connecting people in smaller groups. Williamson says that the new platforms are more focused on authentic communication in small groups, similar to how Facebook started.
So why should marketers care about these new platforms?
- They meet Gen Z’s desire for a “welcome and safe” environment, as they are less interested in speaking freely online.
- They connect users in smaller, more intimate groups, which is what Gen Z is seeking.
- The primary revenue source is not necessarily ads. The new platforms are expected to base their revenue on commerce, subscriptions and paid features.
The take-away message? Social media is in flux and marketers need to look to Gen Z for indicators of where it’s headed.