YPulse’s exclusive youth brand tracker shows Gen Z scores these 17 brands higher than any others…
- YouTube is the top scoring brand among Gen Z, and is a brand they still see as cool and feel gets them
- TikTok far outranks any other social media brand, making the top 3 ranking and proving they’ve won Gen Z over completely
- But the top brands among this gen also contain some surprises
Gen Z is entering their twenties, the workplace, and many more brands’ target customer range. As this gen continues to age into their financial power any brand that wants to last into the future needs to be prepared for them. Their long-term brand preferences are being shaped now, and the brands that are succeeding with them help to provide a blueprint of what resonates with them. With all that in mind, our newest Gen Z and Brands Special Report gives a current snapshot of the top brands among this generation for each industry, and the stories of how some are winning them over.
Our brand tracker monitors the brand health of over 400 brands in North America on a weekly basis, revealing 13-39-year-olds’ affinity for brands across industries. The brand data looks at 20 youth-centric diagnostics, including which brands they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, reflect diversity, make the world better, get them, and more. All of these individual measures then roll up into YScore+; an overall snapshot of how your brand is performing among young consumers. Here are the 17 brands scoring highest among Gen Z:
Gen Z’s Top Brands
According to YScore+
- Cash App
- Bath & Body Works
YouTube is the top scoring brand among Gen Z, and their affinity for the platform is incredibly strong
Gen Z has grown up on YouTube and the platform has shaped their entertainment preferences, marketing expectations, and more. It has long been one of their top sources of content, and YPulse’s most recent media consumption survey shows that 54% are watching YouTube content weekly or more, compared to 15% who watch cable weekly or more. But our brand tracker data shows the depth of their affinity for the platform. Not only is YouTube the top scoring brand overall (moving up in the ranking from last year) but a closer look at our diagnostics shows that it’s the top brand they feel “gets them,” they “pay attention to,” “like to hear from,” “expresses who they are,” and even “makes the world better.” YouTube is seen as not just entertainment but a resource to Gen Z, who use it to learn, to discover music, to feel connected to communities, and to find representation. But all that said, the entertainment landscape has gotten more crowded as Gen Z has aged up, and their media consumption has expanded to include social content. Our data shows their TikTok video viewing is now rivaling their viewing of YouTube content. So while their affinity for YouTube is still sky high and it continues to influence them, their attention is not as concentrated on it as it once was. Which brings us to…
TikTok outpaces all other social media brands, and ranks as the third-highest scoring brand across all industries
Last year, TikTok was number six on Gen Z’s ranking–but it climbed even higher in Gen Z’s affinity. It’s momentum is clear in the diagnostics it’s scoring highest on, with TikTok topping the ranking of brands that Gen Z feels is “hot,” “popular,” and “talked about.” While YouTube’s YScore+ has actually fallen somewhat in the last year, TikTok’s has been increasing. We’ve closely tracked the app’s growth among Gen Z, and its influence extends far beyond just what they’re watching. Our ad/marketing effectiveness survey shows it is by far the top platform Gen Z last saw an advertisement that made them want to purchase something. (The power of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is real.) Our upcoming trend report about the impact of social media on Gen Z’s fashion found it’s the top platform that the generation says helps to create fashion trends. In short, it’s impacting their affinity for other brands as well–and TikTok is a recurring theme in our Gen Z and Brands report, with many of the brands resonating with them using the app to reach this audience.
Gen Z’s top brand list contains some surprises
It’s not a shock that brands like YouTube, Nike, and TikTok are scoring highly among this generation, but their top 17 YScore+ ranking isn’t just media brands and their fashion favorites. Educational tech brands Quizlet and Kahoot! Have won a lot of Gen Z’s brand love. While both made the ranking last year as well, their appearance next to brands like Netflix, Apple, and Doritos can be a surprise for some. But Gen Z is using these edtech brands to support their learning, with most still in school or college, and Quizlet scores highly on diagnostics like “trustworthy,” “recommended,” “makes the world better,” and even “is a brand that gets you.” Another potentially unexpected brand on the ranking is Bath and Body Works, which has a long history and might be remembered by some Xers and Boomers as a mall brand. But the retailer has been more than adept at keeping up with trends and they remain a favorite among young shoppers, even making the top 10 ranking on the “express who you are” diagnostic for this gen.
YPulse paid users can access the full Gen Z and Brands report here.
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