Best Gen Z Apps: What Marketers Can Learn from Gen Z’s Favourite Apps

What are the best Gen Z apps? We’ve got the ultimate list of top apps and why marketers should know about them.
Fanbytes | Gen Z apps

In 30 seconds:

  • Gen Z are digital natives, which means they’re extra fussy when it comes to apps.
  • What are the best Gen Z apps? Why do Gen Z love them? We’ve got the top 5 analysed right here.
  • It’s not just social media apps that grab Gen Z’s attention. Every successful app has something to teach us about their behaviours, desires and needs. So let’s get into it.

Young people are changing the online landscape. There are more Gen Z apps than ever before, which means app developers and marketers need to innovate to compete for their attention and love. So, what can we learn from those that won them over? 

There are over 2.2 million apps on the Appstore for Apple and 3.5 million on the Google Play store for Androids. The competition is tough, but the winners not only tell us what makes an app popular, but can also give us a great insight into the audience that loves them.

As digital natives, Gen Z is the pickiest when it comes to apps – but that means we can learn the most about this hard-to-reach demographic from the applications that succeed. 

In this article, we have the top 5 Gen Z apps that your brand can learn from in 2022. Understanding why Zoomers want to hit that download button and keep using an app will help your brand learn how to speak to them. 

The digital generation

Gen Z is currently aged between 10 and 25. Unlike boomers, Gen X or millennials, They grew up after the internet became widespread – and this has significantly impacted their online behaviours. Unlike millennials, they haven’t had to adapt to a digital age; it‘s always been part of their daily lives. They would have begun playing with their parent’s tablets and smartphones at a young age. Now they are the most digitally knowledgeable generation yet. 

95% of teens have a smartphone or access to one. 78% consider their mobile devices the most important way to go online. The online world is their world. Mobile apps have become the younger generation‘s go-to way to interact online, with new activities at their fingertips constantly. 

So what are the most popular apps with Gen Z? We’ve listed the best and why this generation loves them, so get ready to hit ‘app download’ to check them out. 

1. TikTok

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, putting it at the forefront of marketers’ minds. It‘s the most popular app for Generation Z, with 46% of Gen Z using it daily. For marketers seeking to understand this demographic, it’s essential to understand why it makes such an impact. So, how can TikTok’s success inform your marketing strategy?

It’s unique

79% of TikTok users find content on TikTok to be unique or different. This makes TikTok highly attractive, as the experience isn’t found elsewhere. Even ads make a difference: 68% of TikTok users find advertising content specifically to be unique or different from any competitive platform.

What can we learn from this?

To entice Zoomers, make sure you offer unique content. This goes for your social media output and your product. Just like your brand has a USP, your social output should be distinctive too. If you’re marketing your product on several social media apps, make sure your content offers something different on each.

It’s uplifting

9 in 10 Gen Z have stated they’ve experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom because of stress, such as feeling depressed or sad. It’s no wonder they are looking for uplifting content, and TikTok delivers this. 31% of TikTok users included “lifting my spirits” as one of the top three reasons for returning to the TikTok platform. Keeping things light, entertaining and optimistic is key to gaining Gen Z’s attention.

What can we learn from this?

To encourage Gen Zers to return to your brand, make sure you surprise and delight them. You want your products, brand and user interactions to become part of Gen Z’s routine, so to do this, you need to make sure they feel compelled to return until it becomes a habit.

There are several more reasons why TikTok ranks as Gen Z’s number one app. For a deeper dive into what those are & what this means for your brand, check out our article on Gen Z TikTok: What The Rise of TikTok Says About Generation Z.

2. Snapchat

With 42 million Gen Z users currently and a projected 49.5 million zoomer users by 2025, Snapchat is clearly a front runner app for this age group. According to an App Annie analysis in 2019, a significant share of daily Gen Z Snapchatters were exclusive to Snapchat as a messaging platform – although this was before TikTok’s meteoric rise. But why is it so popular?

It’s visual

Keeping things visual is essential for Gen Z experiences, whether that‘s for shopping apps, messaging apps, or marketing your products via an app. Snapchat focuses on image and video-based communication, making it highly visual. 95% of Gen Z have used some form of visual communication when messaging friends, so it’s clear this is their preferred method of connecting with others. Texting is becoming more expressive, with emojis, images and videos taking centre stage.

What can we learn from this?

Your brand should utilise visuals as much as possible to keep in with Gen Z. This is a generation with a reported 8-second attention span: make sure your content stands out by being visually appealing, as this discerning generation can spot inconsistencies easily.

It uses AR

Gen Z is interested in new ways to create and engage with content. It’s no secret that the AR and VR industries are growing, and Gen Z is helping them along. 41% of Zoomers have tried VR headsets, and 60% said they would use them regularly when they become more readily available. For many Gen Zers, these AR experiences will be how they first experience the metaverse. Snapchat utilises AR and VR with filters and lenses, and 93% of Snapchatters are interested in using AR for shopping. 

What can we learn from this?

Using new digital tools for social networking and shopping will attract Gen Zers, who are interested in novel experiences – especially if it helps them build a deeper connection with your brand. Brands that continue to innovate will keep them interested for years to come. 

3. BeReal

BeReal is a new social app challenging the status quo. Its tagline is “Your friends for real” and it really does what it says on the tin. The app sends a notification to the user at any time of the day, and they have 2 minutes to share what they’re up to. They take a selfie and front view photo simultaneously, giving friends an unrehearsed insight into where they are and what they’re doing. It’s growing fast, increasing its monthly active users by 315% in the last year. It’s a new concept but it plays on our known Gen Z insights. So, what are these?

It’s authentic

Gen Z believes in showing their true selves. BeReal is perfect for this. 67% of this generation agreed that ‘being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool.’ This app encourages users to show themselves without filters or touch-ups. It takes away the pressure to look “perfect”. The app’s developer, Alexis Barreyat, states that it’s all about “authentic moments without judgments”.

What can we learn from this?

Gen Z sees authenticity as a way to combat the stress caused by competing against exaggerated social media profiles. Make sure your brand allows Zoomers to feel comfortable being themselves and promotes acceptance. Allowing young people to express themselves through your brand will make them feel more connected to you.

It’s spontaneous

45% of Gen Z said it was challenging to maintain good relationships with friends during the pandemic. One of the reasons was that they lost out on spur-of-the-moment, in-person fun. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that human-to-human connection is important to this generation. BeReal offers this because it takes out the extra steps that other social media platforms begin to encourage, as people try hard to make the best images. Instead, it’s about impromptu content. It doesn’t have to be “good” – it just has to be spontaneous.

What can we learn from this?

Gen Z wants to share openly and form genuine bonds. Consider who is the face of your brand. Is it delivery men, customer service, or your social media assistant creating your TikToks? Those human-to-human interactions are an opportunity to stand out. Make these more personal and genuine and Gen Z will feel connected to you.

What do you need to know about the new Gen Z app BeReal? We’ve put together a helpful summary of the new, spontaneous app everyone’s talking about in our video below:

4. Snack

Inspired by #singletok, where TikTok users posted personal info like their name, age, and zodiac sign to attract potential dates, new dating app Snack was born to get single Gen Zers together. Snack describes itself as “a new app shaping the future of Gen Z dating” and is billed as an antidote to the toxicity of millennial dating apps.. So why is it making such an impact on Zoomers?

It’s video-first

This dating app is different to others on the market as it champions video communication. Instead of the classic swiping on photos till your hand gets tired (and your brain turns to mush), this Gen Z app capitalises on the nuances of personality and higher entertainment value captured in video. Gen Z watched over an hour of videos each day in 2020; this is their preferred media type, billed by Forbes as “the key to Gen Z“. 

What can we learn from this?

There’s a pattern here. Whether it’s TikTok, Snapchat or Snack, video-first apps are winning for Gen Z. Take a page out of Snack’s book and make sure your brand is utilising video to capture their attention. 

It’s transparent

One of the exciting features of this app is the “no ghosting” system. (here’s a handy explanation of what “ghosting is). If a user ghosts another user, Snack will show that person to fewer singles. Gen Z worries about other people’s trustworthiness, with 60% of them saying they can’t trust most people. This feature tackles that, reassuring this generation that they can chat without fear of being left on hold. This transparency builds trust and user retention. 

What can we learn from this?

Brands should tackle potential user worries head-on. If you’re reaching a Gen Z audience, take time to understand their perspective, and build a mechanism to help into your offering. They’ll thank you for it by returning to you time and again. 

5. The Pattern

Astrology apps are on the up for Gen Z. Young people love astrology for a number of reasons, (our article Gen Z’s Astrology Obsession explains why in more detail), but amongst these apps, The Pattern is a strong contender for Gen Z’s favourite as it’s known for its “scarily accurate” approach to astrology. Famously, actor Channing Tatum created a viral video about the app, saying “You need to DM me right now and tell me how you know this stuff!” 

It’s personal

Gen Z likes when brands get personal, even if that means giving you their information. In fact, 41% of Gen Z would willingly provide their personal data for a more tailored experience. The Pattern CEO Lisa Donovan told Vanity Fair, “Everybody wants to feel seen and heard and be given a certain kind of attention and acknowledgment.” This app taps into this, creating truly bespoke, personalised experiences based on astrology. 

What can we learn from this?

Keeping things customised is key. Brands need to niche down to understand their Gen Z consumers. Once you’ve got them in your sights, deliver an experience that speaks to them personally.

It’s about wellness

The Pattern gives astrology readings that offer “a detailed guide to your personality, helping you better understand yourself and connect with others on a deeper level” and swaps out polarising astrological terms for more practical help. For Gen Z, looking after their mental health is essential; 40% of Gen Zers have changed their sleeping habits to prioritise self-care, for example. The Pattern satisfies this desire for useful tips to promote mental wellness. 

What can we learn from this?

Mental health is at the forefront of Gen Z’s minds, so promoting wellness should be a high priority for brands. Give young people practical help on subjects they care about, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. We wrote about how to do this in our article on TikTok mental health, and our report on Sex, Sexuality and Body Image.

Tap into the screen-tapping generation

We’ve been through the best Gen Z apps of 2022, have shown you why they’re so successful, and have given you tips on Gen Z to make sure your marketing efforts are successful too. These will help you get into Gen Z’s hearts – but realistically, to get there you need to reach their eyeballs first.

Promoting any product to Gen Z requires being visible. The internet is full of a buzzing network of brands seeking to grab their attention. When marketing to Gen Z, it makes sense to reach them via their phones, but how do you stand out from the crowd – and how do you make social media platforms work to your advantage?

Since you’ve read this article, you have a secret weapon. Capturing the attention of Gen Z and keeping them engaged is our speciality. If you’d like to hear how we’d promote your brand, get in touch. We have Gen Z app insights to help you win them over time and time again.

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