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What Young Europeans Want to See From Brands on Social, In 2 Charts

Brands wanting to connect with young people in Western Europe need to know what the ways to best interact with them on social media are


  • Young Europeans want brands to entertain them on social media
  • Short videos and personalized ads are the best ways to reach these gens
  • Brands should communicate their innovations and new products to young people via social

Young people are using social media for pretty much everything: from online shopping to seeking financial advice, and of course to find inspos for their next outfit. One might think that young consumers do not want to see brands on social media, but our study shows the opposite. Only a minority (7%) of young Europeans say they do not want to see brands on social media. In fact, young people expect to interact with brands and are open to brand advertising on their feeds.

But it comes with the caveat that brands must offer entertaining content: 67% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe agree with the statement, “I don’t mind seeing ads on social media as long as they’re entertaining.” The bottom line is that brands have the responsibility to entertain young consumers. If posts are perceived as boring, young consumers will turn away from brands and will not hesitate to unfollow them. Boring posts” is the number one reason Gen Z and Millennials decide to unfollow a brand—and it’s been the top reason for years!

But what are the best ways brands can keep them entertained? In YPulse’s recent Social and Mobile Marketing Preferences Report, we asked young people in Western Europe to tell us more about the type of advertising that catches their attention on social media. Here are their answers:

Short videos are by far the top way that brands can capture their attention on social

There’s a reason that TikTok has become mecca for brands trying to reach these gens: The majority of young Europeans love short videos and say it’s the type of advertising they pay attention to the most on social media. This is especially true for Gen Z, who is increasingly wanting to see short videos from brands. The number of Gen Z who say short videos is the type of advertising they’re most likely pay attention to on social media increased from 51% in 2021 to 58% this year, a seven point increase. Gen Z is also less likely than Millennials to say they are most likely to pay attention to static image ads.

Online creators beat out traditional celebs in social ads

Though it’s lower down on the ranking, it’s important to note that Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe are more likely to say that posts from influencers/creators are what they’ll pay attention to than posts from Hollywood actors/actresses or musicians. It’s yet another sign that the definition of fame and celebrity has shifted among young people today. We’ve told you that half of Gen Z and Millennials and Western Europe have purchased a product recommended by an online celeb, and here we see that they’re more likely to pay attention to online celebs than others.

Remember, the question was what type of advertising they’re most likely to pay attention to, so this ranking is not saying these other types of ads are not successful with these gens (of course we know just how influential posts from creators can be), but instead what has the greatest chance of capturing their eyes.

Posts about new products and innovations are the most likely to break through

Now let’s turn to the type of content young Europeans want to hear from brands. We asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe what they want to see from a brand’s social media, and gave them a range of post types that cover some of the biggest social marketing go-tos. But one kind of content was a clear winner:

Half of young people in Western Europe want to see content that mentions a brand’s latest products and innovations, quite far from the #2 reason listed (“pure / wholesome content”). The good news is that brands can achieve this simply by sharing who they are. Creating memes and viral content—which 30% of Gen Z tells us they want to see from a brand’s social media—is more difficult to achieve. The best way to pull in these gens is by constantly sending them videos with something new to chew on: a feature, an update, or even a new way to use a brand’s product. Of course, this too needs to be done in an entertaining way.

Brands can also tap into young consumers’ craving for new products by tapping into TikTok content

Among the recent successful marketing campaigns in WE that we’ve already unpacked for you, L’Oreal x TikTok is probably one of the best examples. The French beauty care company developed a “TikTok Made Me Buy It” box with all the latest beauty products trending on TikTok that young consumers can get delivered straight to their homes. By interacting with users of their products in such a way, brands do more than post static social media content—which many young Europeans do not find interesting anyway—they make them feel they’re discovering something different.

Finally, brands should remember to make the shopping experience for young people super easy and accessible on social media. Three quarters of young consumers who use social media agree: “If you are posting a social media ad there should be a direct link to purchase.” Once again, young Europeans are open to brands making their way to their feed to sell products, if the content is personalized, easily accessible, and—you guessed it!—entertaining.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Social and Mobile Marketing Preferences Behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Western Europe Business account? Find out more here.