Meet Gen Z: How to Effectively Conduct Research with Gen Z

In June 2021, HubUX launched a qualitative study with a subset of our Gen Z panel with the main focus of the study being on research and communication preferences. Gen Z’s impact on our global economy is growing and will represent 30% of the global workforce by 2030.

This qualitative study was recruited through our Gen Z panel and additionally through Instagram and TikTok. All research was handled internally by HubUX.

Executive summary

As digital natives – the first generation that can truly make this claim – Gen Z requires authenticity first and foremost. Given their sophistication with tools, brands that don’t walk the talk will find themselves shunned or outed as disingenuous.

  • Ensure that any claims or requests you make of Gen Z are backed-up by your entire digital presence. For example, if you only fly LGBT colors for a day, a week, or a month, Gen Z will notice that your brand seems to be taking advantage of a popular topic, versus being an ally.
  • Also, Gen Z responds more favorably to people of their own generation. If brands use channels that Gen Z tends to use, and have GenZ people carrying brand messages, it will clearly be more well-received. 

Part of obtaining trust from Gen Z includes understanding how they prefer to receive various types of communications. Like a bullseye target, members of Gen Z have levels of acceptance for the types of communications they’ll tolerate on which channels.

  • Sending a blind SMS to a Gen Z prospect, just because you have their mobile number, is in danger of breaching their communications preferences. If vague or hidden permissions are part of obtaining mobile information, you will be seen as predatory.

Don’t trivialize your brand’s digital presence

Gen X & Millennials grew up with this instruction from mom: “Be home by dark”. They have had to adapt to technology and have been dubbed “Digital Adopters”.

Gen Z has had the unique experience of growing up with a phone in their hand. They are “Digital Natives”. Consequently, they experience deep connections in a digital context.

Question: Did you NOT grow up with a cell phone? Then you fall into the classification of digital adopters.

In preparation for this post, I did one-on-one interviews with Gen Zers.

What immediately stood out to me was how native digital interactions actually are. For this first clip, you’ll hear how our participant hosted a Zoom event talking about college prep and he had so many attendees he maxed out the total number Zoom’s free account allows and people were logging out so their friends could join.

Video: HubUX


IMPACT: Gen Z uniquely understands and connects through technology. They have had to turn to technology to create new and deep connections through the pandemic, and they expect brands to have the same skills.

Gen Z uses digital authenticity to determine if they will participate in research

Gen Z has a greater awareness of digital scams because of their increased exposure to digital deception.

You likely have heard of, and likely seen, Deepfake videos. These videos are so good that they can fool most consumers. Additionally, technology now makes them easy enough for anyone to create them.

Here is an example of President Obama being controlled by a 3rd party. Please note, this video does not necessarily represent my political point of view. It is simply a good example of how Deepfake technology can be used.

But digital deception isn’t limited to the political arena. It is part of every Gen Zer’s life. From dating to issues around the environment and economy, bad actors are trying to steal Gen Z’s hearts, minds, time, and money.

Consequently, they utilize existing tools to easily identify if someone is trying to take advantage of them or not:

  • Google Images
  • Social Account Age & Activity 
  • Use of Native Language 

Video: HubUX


IMPACT: Invest time and treasure in your online presence. View digital as real and invest accordingly. Your brand needs to convey your ethics and core values equally well everywhere consumers can experience your brand.

Header Image: Artem Podrez, Pexels

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below and never miss the latest news.