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Will Discord become the go-to social media channel for Gen Z?

Younger audiences are changing the way they use social media, with community making a comeback and deeper connections being sought on their terms, rather than on the basis of algorithms or paid placement.

Communications agency M&C Saatchi TALK’s recent study, in collaboration with Generation Z expert Chloe Combi, spoke to 500 members of Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) to draw quantitative and qualitative understanding of their relationship with social media and in particular, Discord - a platform gaining huge traction amongst this audience.

The insights shed a light on Gen Z’s use of Discord and also surfaced a number of observations indicating a shift in behaviour and attitude to social in general - in a way that should really interest ‘earned-first’ thinkers.

As audiences look to take back ownership of social conversation to share experiences, build knowledge and collaborate, brands that value authentic connections with this generation need to think about how they earn their place in those communities - especially as many take place in spaces that cannot be bought into.

Key findings

  1. The social is back in social - this audience are looking to be part of communities and conversations based on shared passions and substance. They want to talk, learn and collaborate at a deeper level. If brands can enter these conversations in the right way, there is huge potential to drive relevance and connection.
  2. They want to be part of something - this audience are looking to be let into the inside of brands and products. Being able to have a more meaningful experience with a brand, be that a two-way conversation, a behind the scenes experience, or being given a role in a brand community, is something that they value and enhances connection - and provides the additional brands benefit of amazing insight, ideas and feedback from a passionate audience.
  3. The want to turn what they love into work they love - they look to build their own communities to support their own passion-driven ambitions. There’s huge opportunity for brands to earn hearts and minds by supporting this, using community conversations to provide inspiration, guidance and access.
  4. They want to own their own experience - with spaces like Discord driven by community, not platform or algorithm, this audience are more able to shape their experience as they see fit.

After a shift away from doing so in the evolution of social, the opportunity could now lie (once again) in earning a place in this audience’s interest through community conversation, rather than paying for eyeballs.

Article written by Shelley Portet, head of content and social at M&C Saatchi TALK 

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