Social media platforms may be sprouting like weeds, but new research from Visual Objects, a global portfolio website that showcases work from top creative firms, reveals the OG social sites still rule for all ages—even if the hierarchical order tends to shift. The firm’s new report finds that all but some of the youngest consumers spend most of their social media time on Facebook, while YouTube is the favored platform for Generation Z.
Experts say Gen Z prefers YouTube because it offers a personalized, immersive, and video-centric user experience (UX) with fewer distractions than Facebook. Gen Z indeed prefers visual content over text because it is easier and more rewarding for them to consume—and they consume a lot of it. Nearly half (47 percent) of Gen Zers say they watch three or more hours of YouTube daily, according to data from GenHQ.
Because most were raised on digital media, Gen Zers confidently navigate visually-oriented digital interfaces, experts said.
“There are features in the YouTube app that are particularly intuitive for usability. If you’re [Gen Z], you’ve grown up with these gestural design patterns on phones that are just inherent,” said Jordan DeVries, director of UX at user experience design company Brave UX, in a news release.
Companies can successfully reach Gen Zers by investing in entertaining, emotional, and story-driven video content that depicts better living through their brand.
Older generations remain loyal to Facebook
Older generations use Facebook more. Over half a million users over 55 are expected to join Facebook this year, according to The Guardian.
Visual Objects found that the older the age group, the more likely members of that age group will report higher rates of Facebook use. Nearly half of users over 65 (47 percent) say they visit Facebook the most, compared to 15 percent of Gen Zers, the survey found.
Older generations appreciate Facebook’s broad functionality and social features, including messaging, photo sharing, and news updates.
Facebook represents many older users’ first introduction to social media, allowing them to connect with family and friends. The comfort these users have with Facebook may result in hesitation to try other, newer websites, according to DeVries.
All age groups admire Amazon’s UX
Users age 35 to 64 believe Amazon offers the best UX among popular websites. All other age groups cite Amazon as the second-most usable website.
This positive response is attributed to Amazon’s highly optimized online experience including a prominent search bar, easy-to-read results, extensive filtering, and heavy personalization.
Overall, users of all ages are becoming more skilled at navigating online, experts said. “We’re starting to see a simplification in user interface (UI). We don’t have to always denote a link or interactive content with an arrow or blue color,” said DeVries.
Visual Objects surveyed 612 people from the U.S. who visit at least five websites a day to analyze which websites they use and how they use them.