What does digital etiquette look like?

03 April 2018 / Brían Taylor

The generations preceding Z had a relatively tech-light and unconnected childhood (apart from gaming consoles and fad tech like Tamagotchis – designed for entertainment, not for connectivity). Gen Z have been born into a world of instant technology gratification. The way in which they socially govern themselves, and how “acceptable” technology usage is, continues to evolve as a new generation of attitudes gains influential power. It’s traditionally been seen as impolite to interact with tech during a direct interaction with another person or in certain scenarios; but how do Z, the generation who have never been without instant connection tech, feel about this?

Z are surprisingly considerate and aware of when’s inappropriate to use tech. Whether this is learned from their Gen X parents, or it’s natural to prioritise people over technology, it’s difficult to confidently say. They make a clear differentiation between solo and social situations. Over 84% of respondents say it’s acceptable to use a smartphone all or most of the time when commuting; 74% say it’s fine all or most of the time when at the gym. During this time, they’re primarily browsing the web, checking social, and watching videos. However, this acceptability drops to only 17% when spending time with friends, and down to just 7% during ‘family time’ (such as at the dinner table (Figure 13).

When Z were using their smartphones in company of friends and family, they were most likely to be checking in with mates using social media and messenger apps. Gen Z are using their phones as a way of extending their socialising – blurring physical and interactive connections and sharing their experiences as they do so with their mates. They generally aren’t just scrolling aimlessly through their Facebook feed because they’re bored - they’re using their phones because it’s become an extension of themselves.

The importance of “capturing a moment” for Z is also evident, with users being almost 3 times more likely to be taking a photo when with friends than in any of the other defined scenarios (Figure 13).

Key brand points

1. Understand what moments you can capitalise on, as a brand, for the biggest gain. Making content relevant in the moment is as important as the content’s relevancy in the feed.

2. Personas play a role in content strategies: Defining audience mind state, moment and motivation to increase relevancy is key to targeted success. Jaywing’s recent campaign with Naked Juice saw highly targeted content aimed at audience, moment and motivation which helped it achieve extremely high ad recall rates (top 25%) on YouTube.