Gen Y vs. Gen Z: All About Technology

Generation Y and generation Z have a lot in common. So what’s the real difference here and why is it important? To start, here are come characteristics of each.

Gen Y (1980s- early 1990s):

  • Tech and web savvy
  • Family oriented
  • Team players
  • Crave attention (and feedback/ guidance)
  • Don’t expect to work for the same company their whole lives

Gen Z (mid 1990s-mid 2000s):

  • Digital natives
  • Immersed in social media
  • Multitaskers
  • Have “acquired ADD” and short attention spans
  • Prefer interactive media
  • Emotionally attached to technology

Some sources argue that Gen Y extends into the late 90s but for this purpose we’ll assume that Gen Z takes over at that point. The main difference that I find to be important is their connection to technology and digital media. Although both are familiar and adept at using various forms of technology, Gen Z has a noticeably stronger emotional attachment to their gadgets.

How does this relate to advertising and how does the method need to change for reaching Gen Y vs. Gen Z? For Gen Y, advertisers use technology to advertise but don’t need to rely on it. The narrative can be told and understood through print, TV, online, or any other media that Gen Y is familiar with, which is a lot.

For Gen Z, advertisers will need to emphasize technology more. By keying in on this emotional relationship, Gen Z will be able to understand the message more easily. The only tricky part is going to be holding their attention. Advertisements can’t just shock and wow, they have to hold the interest and deliver the message.

Sources:  Jason Dorsey, Ryan Gibson, Jennifer Mueller, Adam Renfro