In 30 seconds:
- Astrology; it’s far from new. But a resurgence of interest in star charts and planetary retrogrades has seen it trending on social media.
- Where horoscopes were once consigned to the back of magazines, Gen Z’s astrology obsession has pulled it into the foreground.
- So, how can brands interact with this surge of Gen Z mysticism?
Do you know your sun sign? How about which of your signs is in Neptune? Pluto?
Gen Z does.
In 2018, The Atlantic published the article ‘Why are Millennials so Intro Astrology?” in which they argued that the internet (and specifically meme culture) was behind the rise in the ancient practice’s new popularity. And now, following in their footsteps, Gen Zers have developed a keen interest in astrology themselves.
It’s more accessible than ever, too. Thanks to apps like Co-Star, a horoscope app which calculates a user’s natal chart, young people have the world of astrology at their fingertips. Finding out which zodiac sign is their rising sign – and what that means – takes a matter of seconds.
Why should brands care about this? Well, astrology has become a source of internet shorthand amongst Gen Zers. The trends it features in are wide-reaching – and if your brand can understand and interact with them, you’re on track to attract Gen Z audiences to your content.
That said, here’s everything you need to know about Gen Z astrology fans.
Gen Z astrology: A primer
Astrology stems from around the 3rd millennium BC. The central premise is that the placement of the stars and planets on the day of your birth (i.e. your “star sign”) impacts your character and behaviour. In a similar vein, it suggests the continuing movement of celestial bodies affects events on earth.
You might have heard, for example, people blaming their run of bad luck on Mercury being in retrograde...
And while younger generations continue to move away from organised religions, astrology easily slots into the empty space of a guiding belief system. By consulting their horoscopes or reading into the meanings behind the placement of their zodiac signs, Gen Z is able to glean advice and insight into themselves, their experiences and the world around them.
Do Gen Z really believe in astrology?
The answer to this question is not completely cut and dry.
On the one hand, Gen Zers are largely too logical to truly believe in everything astrology posits. A lot of their posts about it are tongue-in-cheek, with the understanding that it’s all pretty unlikely to mean anything.
On the other hand, they also poke fun at their own tendency to believe it – when it suits them.
That isn’t to say that they’re completely immune to placing trust in the stars. One survey found that nearly 40% of Gen Z believes that astrology can help them to make better financial decisions – and the astrology-specific platforms are rising in popularity. A Co-Star representative told TIME magazine that their app was downloaded “every three to four seconds” in the US.
Then again, the majority of advice offered is up for interpretation.
Rather than clear-cut answers, astrology readings tend to function more like cryptic clues or personal insights. Ilios co-founder Marion Mariathasan says “this is for educating yourself on a surface level… if you’re looking for a relationship.” On astrology TikTok, meanwhile, you’ll find insights like this one from @healingtouch47, who promises his Taurus followers that 2022 is a time to “expose your true life’s purpose.”
In this sense, even the “serious” astrology content is more geared towards self-care and mental health than total mysticism.
(This account, by the way, has over 6 million TikTok followers. That’s almost 6 times more than huge Gen Z brands like Boohoo, which is proof that astrology has a more wide-ranging following on social media than you might expect.)
Why is Gen Z obsessed with astrology?
It’s clear that astrology is making a resurgence across social media with both Millennial and Gen Z audiences – the question now is: why? Understanding what is driving the popularity of astrological posts is key to understanding Gen Z.
And figuring out why they like this content is the first step to making popular astrology content yourself.
1. It’s personalised
58% of Gen Z is willing to pay more for products that are targeted towards their personalities. That’s an impressive stat that highlights how much they care about tailored messaging, especially when you consider how financially savvy Generation Z is known to be.
The astrological signs (that’s Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) play right into Gen Z’s love of personalisation: it’s groupings that describe personality types, after all. This is the generation that loves TikTok filters that tell them what type of bread they are. Astro signs purport to be more meaningful and offer helpful insight, so Gen Zers enjoy seeing their experiences reflected back at them, served with guidance.
Gen Z astrology content is highly personalised, with a lot of social media posts geared around the stereotypes of the specific signs. Audiences enjoy searching out content directed at their own sign or loved ones whose personality traits conform to astro predictions.
Gen Z’s world
Understanding what’s going on in the world of Gen Z means brands can more easily reach this key audience. Fanbytes’ Gen Z newsletter is a great way to make sure you’re up-to-date with news, get key insights into how Gen Z think and feel, and make sure your brand is staying relevant online.
2. It’s comforting
In times of stress, people have always gone looking for “signs”. The past few years have been some of the most stressful any of us have experienced – and Gen Zers were hit particularly hard by pandemic stress. One study found that 68% of them had experienced feelings of anxiety or depression as a result of the pandemic.
So perhaps it is no surprise that the resurgence of astrology has coincided with this incredibly tumultuous time. After all, the first astrology “boom” happened after the Great Depression.
Even when tongue-in-cheek, the certainties that are espoused by astrological thinking are comforting when it seems there is no order or sense in anything. The “answers” it gives can provide Gen Z something to lean on, and a form of control in a time when they otherwise have very little of that.
3. It’s ripe for memes
Gen Z loves memes. These internet trends amuse and inspire them. They love sharing good memes with friends, and Gen Z particularly likes creating their own, riffing on a particular area of internet humour with something relevant to their own lives. In fact, research has shown that Gen Z enjoys memes more than movies, with 55% saying that viral videos and memes on social networks are the top pop culture moments, in comparison to only 48% citing music releases.
In this sense, Gen Z astrology fans have happened upon a fertile ground. Astrology, and jokes about each sign, believers and non-believers, compatibility tests, and all the other related aspects of the practice, are easily parodied.
Similarly, astrology is easy to apply to other trends or popular interests. Quotes from a popular TV show can become new, meme-able content when assigned to a zodiac sign, for example. In this way, the astrology trend can cross boundaries of niche interests and spread more quickly around Gen Z spaces like TikTok. Here’s a great example of how Mattel‘s Barbie TikTok account (@barbie) has leveraged young people’s love of horoscope humour:
Gen Z astrology: a sign of the times?
You can understand a lot about Gen Z themselves by examining the trends they create and partake in.
The popularity of astrology content, both serious and memed, points to the confusing times that Gen Z lives in. The idea of there being an innate order to the universe appeals to them, given the chaos of the past few years, while the personality-aspect of a zodiac sign taps into their enjoyment of tailored content.
When interacting with or creating astrology content, brands should be aware that approaching the topic with humour is the best route into this trend. By joining in on the joke, you can expect to endear Gen Z to your brand, and attract more engaged audiences on TikTok (who are served trending content similar to videos they’ve enjoyed in the past).
Plus, with a humour-led approach, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know much about astrology. Listing the zodiac signs as cleaning products, crisp flavours or cars doesn’t require much expertise in the stars – and Gen Z are likely to be just as amused as if you were an expert.
Want to learn more about effective communication with Gen Z? We have more insights for you to explore: