Understanding how Gen Z consumes news

Apr 18, 2022 | Articles

Sara Merino

Sara Merino


gen z

In one of our latest posts, we talked about how publishers need to understand Gen Z and how their mind works. The power that this generation has is great, in terms of both spending and influence.

One of the most defining characteristics of Gen Z is that they have strong values. They want to make the world a better place, where everyone has a safe space, sustainability is the norm and we’ve finally found a solution for climate change.

For this reason, Gen Z members are constantly looking for information, engaging in politics and have strong views regarding social injustices.

However, this attitude doesn’t translate into a high number of downloads and does not get reflected on the statistics of the main online news publishers. Then, where are young people getting their news from?

Analyzing Gen Z’s media consumption

According to Mediaconsult stats, 49% of Gen Z adults consume news mainly via social media while 11% of them use digital news publications. This contrasts a lot with adults from older generations which have TV as their favorite news medium (42%). The top media publications that Gen Z chooses are Buzzfeed News, The Daily Mail, Washington Post, Vice Media and New York Magazine. 

However, you can see the big difference between Gen Z’s figures. Almost half of Gen Z adult members use social media as their top source for news, even though it is considered to be the least trusted form of news sources in the US, as specified by Statista. They’d rather discover stories on social media and then verify the news via other media publications.

But, what social media platforms are the most used? They are, of course, TikTok and YouTube.


The informal, almost home-made style that defines TikTok short videos makes the app highly attractive to Gen Z members. That’s why it has become the top social media platform in the last year, with 1 billion users where almost half of them are below the 30 year-old threshold.

Some of the benefits that TikTok can offer in contrast to more traditional news platforms is that it can provide coverage that sometimes the latter misses. For instance, you can livestream special events or unexpected situations that people come across in their daily lives. Another benefit is the short-video format, that resumes news in a very concise way and provides information in a very fast, creative and attractive way.



Among other social media platforms, and to a lesser extent than TikTok, Youtube has also become one of the most used news sources for Gen Z. As research website YPulse points out, 63% of 13 to 39 year-old people who use social media as their main news source, use Youtube specifically.

In Youtube’s case, its longer-video format allows more time for publishers to tell stories in more detail and depth than they do via TikTok. It’s a way of transfering TV news to a digital format, which is why not only Gen Z uses it as a news source, but also Millennials.

It’s clear that video is the link that connects both platforms and the format that the younger generation prefers to engage with. That’s why publishers need to learn how to operate within these apps to be able to reach Gen Z.

How to use TikTok to deliver news to Gen Z

Using Tiktok as the blueprint for this mini-guide, we’re going to provide some tips you can use to leverage this app and reach your audience efficiently.

1. Learn about the app

The first step, and maybe the most important one, is to learn how the app works. For that, you need to get a grasp of the app’s algorithm in detail.

The most crucial thing to know is that TikTok recommends videos based on what the user has watched and liked before. They curate the content to match the users’ current and potential interests, while showing them random content as well to spice things up.

2. Adapt your content to the app’s format

As we explained in our last Gen Z article, TikTok’s short video format allows publishers to grab the attention of their audience.

But just producing short videos is not enough, and it’s not easy either. Producing short, eye-catching videos need high creative skills as it involves filming, editing, choosing the right music… In fact, music is an incredibly important part of the videos, as it has allowed many songs to go viral and even climb the music charts up to the top spot.

3. Engage with your audience!

Last but not least, don’t forget to increase your efforts in building a community with your audience. If you play your cards right, it can become a really productive media channel.

Don’t just focus on uploading videos. Interact with your users, reply to their comments, create conversations and leverage your user generated content to keep attracting and engaging your audience.

Gen Z is already one of the main demographic groups that publishers need to focus on. The power they hold is really high and can help you reach your goals in a more effective way. The sooner you do it, the earlier you’re going to see results!

What apps does Gen Z use the most to consume news?

Gen Z mostly uses social media to stay informed about what happens around the world. Specifically, TikTok and, to a lesser extent, Youtube.

How can publishers use TikTok to deliver news?

First of all, it’s crucial to learn how the app and its algorithm works. Then, publishers should adapt their content to the app’s format to engage their audience and attract new users.

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