By the numbers: How Gen Z uses AI, social media

Their motivations for using social media may not be what you think.

How and why Gen Z uses social media, AI

Gen Z, currently ages 13-26, are quickly becoming the most coveted target demographic in the United States. They’re trendsetters in high school, college and even in the workplace. And everyone wants to better understand how to reach these up-and-comers and what makes them tick.

A new analyst report from Morning Consult polled 1,000 people from this generation and delivered insights that PR pros should know. From what they’re looking for on social media to how often they use generative AI tools, this information can help you form your campaigns and content in the year ahead. 



Here we are now, entertain us 

Gen Z is a generation raised on social media. Many have never known a world without social media; even the oldest were only seven years old when Facebook was launched. Morning Consult’s survey found that 53% of this cohort use these apps for four hours or more daily, while only 3% use them for less than an hour. It’s a staggering amount of time and means that social media is a nearly surefire way to reach Gen Z. 

But which networks? 

Which social networks Gen Z uses

If you really want to get in touch with Gen Z, you need to be thinking video in a big way, as that content feeds their social platforms of choice: YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. The survey also found that 65% of Gen Z prefer to learn things via video, with only 19% leaning toward the written word. Only 45% of the adult population at large wants to learn via video, while 35% of them want to read an article, the survey found.  

If you seek to appeal to Gen Z and don’t have a video strategy, you’re already far, far behind. 

But interestingly, Gen Z isn’t necessarily interested in making their own videos — or social media content in general, for that matter. 

Why Gen Z uses social media

Only 6% see posting on social media as their primary purpose on the platforms. Sixty-eight percent use it as older generations might view TV: a way to tune in and tune out. And 19% use these tools as a means of interpersonal communication rather than broader content posting. This is a major shift and one that brands can take advantage of. Gone are the days when social media users were primarily looking to connect with friends and family. Now, if it’s interesting, the content can come from anywhere — including from you. 

From AI to Z 

As you might expect, more members of Gen Z used generative AI in the last month (58%). But as you might not expect, Millennials use AI more frequently, with 19% of this elder cohort using the tools daily compared to just 10% of Gen Z. Is this because Millennials are firmly in the workplace and are incorporating the tools into their workflow?  

How Gen Z uses AI


More than 30% of Gen Z who are in the workplace do use AI as part of their employment, a strong number and a sign that we can expect more automation in the future as this generation rises and gains power. At the moment, however, Gen Z favors using generative AI to complete schoolwork, spur creativity, feed their hobbies or even help them find song recommendations. 

Look for innovative uses of AI both inside and outside the workplace. Talk to young people about how they’re making use of these tools, and you could find an application you’d never considered before. But also know that Gen Z will need training, guidance and ethics training to come up to speed on these tools as well. 

No matter what your generation is, be curious about how others are using the same tools you use, from social media to AI and beyond. More ideas are always better.  


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