Generation Z Wants to Be Entertained


Generation Z has never lived without the Internet. Born in 1996 or later, this generation is not only Internet savvy, it’s an integral part of their lives. If developers want to remain relevant for years to come, it’s important to understand what this generation wants from a website.

A study of over 1,200 people in the U.S. ages 14 – 59 conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics and commissioned by WP Engine, explores the mindset, preferences, and expectations of four generations of Americans (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers) for their current and future digital experiences. “The Future of Digital Experiences” study found that for Generation Z, the youngest generation surveyed, the digital experience is their human experience.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study is that 73 percent of Baby Boomers go online for information, but 72 percent of Generation Z uses the Internet for entertainment first. These digital natives expect to be entertained at all times, even while shopping or learning.

Creating unique, personalized digital experiences will keep you competitive with this age group.

Who makes up Generation Z?

Generation Z is made up of people born after 1996 and is about 25 percent of the population, meaning the oldest members of Gen Z are 21 years old and starting to enter the workforce. It’s been estimated that they control approximately $44B in purchasing power already. According to the study, 27 percent of Generation Z doesn’t feel comfortable going an hour without accessing the Internet.

While the majority of Baby Boomers use the Internet to find information, for Generation Z, it’s a way of life. For them, there is no “online” or “internet.” Gen Z doesn’t distinguish whether they are online, on an app, in a social network’s platform or walking around with their mobile phone. To this generation, the digital world is ubiquitous and blends seamlessly with the real world Appealing to this group will go a long way in the lasting power of your website and ultimately, business.

Do the Unexpected

When you think of sexy, entertaining content, you don’t typically think of banks. For the most part, bank websites are incredibly straightforward and serious. That’s not a bad approach, choosing where to keep your money is a serious thing. Klarna, one of Europe’s largest banks, is flipping the script. The Swedish institution has ditched straightforward and serious for something colorful and a bit strange.

The homepage is simply a gif of ice cream melting on a car with the tagline, “Smooth payments. Always.” It doesn’t say anything about being a bank. Just one stunning image and copy about easily making payments.

Scroll down and you’re met with dancing emojis boasting advantages to choosing Klarna.

Scroll even further, and there’s a photo of rollerskates and candy. Again, images that don’t immediately denote bank.

These images don’t necessarily teach you much about the bank itself, and they’re certainly not traditional, but they are entertaining. Even if you don’t feel like this bank is for you, you ran into something unexpected and had an experience with the website.

Though we can’t know for sure whether or not Klarna is making a purposeful attempt at Generation Z customers, they are working to be entertaining. Choosing unusual, and sometimes bizarre imagery sets Klarna apart from every other bank in Sweden, possibly Europe. No matter how you feel about the images themselves, that’s a pretty compelling thought. You’re going to remember the site.

In Action

Of course, not every site owner can recreate something of this magnitude. But you can implement changes to make something memorable, entertaining, and maybe a bit weird. Add fascinating images, or include a short and humorous video. Setting yourself apart and creating a specific voice will go a long way in the lasting power of your website. If you are able to maintain your existing customer base while also appealing to Generation Z, you’ll have a huge leg up on anyone that isn’t making these considerations.

While building your brand, consider the importance of informing through entertainment. The Internet is evolving just like the people who use it. Don’t get left behind.

Emily Schiola

Emily Schiola is the Editor of Torque. She loves good beer, bad movies, and cats.

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