Generation Z — those ages 10 to 25 — are the most tech-savvy, web-oriented and connected group of consumers ever. They increasingly drive consumer decisions and trends, and businesses take notice. Companies are constantly looking for ways to use technology to tap the interests of Gen Z and attract them.
Many of these trends are becoming apparent. Playing and eSports, for example, is quickly gaining traction among Gen Zers, not only as a way to have fun and enjoy entertainment but to connect with others and even make money. Companies are turning to gamification — the use of game-like mechanics to engage users — to take advantage of this trend.
Another way innovators are using technology to appeal to Gen Z is through interactive content. Recent research highlights that 90% of Gen Z using apps with interactive live video. Chat-based experiences, too, are becoming more popular.
To actually implement these types of interactive experiences, businesses are using tools like machine learning (ML) and augmented reality (AR).
ML creates competitive advantages
Recent years have seen explosive improvements in ML technology. With Gen Z acting as the “early adopters” of technology, companies looking to make their mark on younger generations must embrace it.
OpenAI has led advances in natural language and image processing, almost monopolizing the tech media landscape with its recent releases of ChatGPT.
OpenAI isn’t the only lab driving innovation, and businesses are turning to AutoML platforms from Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others to build their own models. Research shows that businesses using AI and ML outperform their peers and create competitive advantages.
One business that uses this ML technology is the stock photography and video platform ShutterStock. By using DALL-E 2, users can generate their own images and videos, turning their concept briefs into stunning visuals. Instead of going out and hiring a team of graphic designers, users will now be able to create visuals themselves, with the help of AI.
Another example comes from belief. Note-taking software is now using ML to make its service more intuitive and useful, allowing users to generate content faster, more accurately, and with fewer errors.
These AI use-cases only scratch the surface, and leading investor posit that AI could soon replace therapists, game makers and even companions for the lonely. It’s not the Baby Boomers or other older generations who will be leading this charge, but Gen Z, who are already comfortable with technology and excited to explore new possibilities.
AR enhances digital experiences
From Snapchat filters to Apple’s ARKit, augmented reality (AR) is also gaining popularity among Gen Z. With AR, users can interact with a digital environment in a way they cannot with traditional media.
This has led to businesses using AR to create new interactive experiences that appeal to Gen Z. An example is the beauty industry, where companies are using AR to let customers try on the makeup before buying it.
Gen Z is also driving the rise of metaverse — a shared digital universe where people can create and interact with digital environments — through increased use of VR, AR and gaming.
Businesses are already using the metaverse and creating their own virtual stores and events. For example, IKEA creates virtual stores where customers can browse their products, and Nike are creating virtual worlds to showcase their products.
Companies that don’t keep up with the rapidly changing technology landscape are at risk of losing out to those that do. Those looking to capture the attention of Gen Z need to stay on top of the latest technology and trends and consider how they can use them to their advantage. By doing so, businesses can create experiences that are interactive, engaging and tailored to Gen Z interests.
Eugene Lisovskiy is cofounder and CEO of Level Up.
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