Generation Z dominates YouTube (while other generations prefer Facebook)

Jan 21, 2019 | Facebook marketing, Online advertising, Online video

One in three ‘Gen-Zers’ (31%) visit YouTube the most, according to a new survey from Visual Objects.

The study shows that Facebook is aging with its user base. It is still the most-visited website for older generations, but fails to satisfy Gen Z’s desire for an immersive, video-centric experience.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Only 15% of Gen Z users report Facebook is their most-visited website, compared to 47% of users 65+.
  • 24% of Gen Z internet users say pop-ups are the most frustrating website feature.
  • Amazon’s user experience (UX) ranks highest among baby boomers (29%), but users of all ages still rank Amazon’s UX highly.

Experts say Generation Z prefers YouTube because it offers a personalized, immersive, and video-centric user experience (UX) with fewer distractions than Facebook.

Generation Z 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%) 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 the user experience design company, Brave UX.

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 Are 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%) say they visit Facebook the most, compared to 15% 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.

Read the full survey report:

All topics

Previous editions

Get email edition