Man looking at newsfeed on tablet with a cup of coffee as part of Gen Z qualitative market research

How to recruit & engage Gen Z for qualitative market research

Global, social, visual and technologically enabled – you can’t get a much more readily accessible generation than that of Gen Z who encompass all the above characteristics and more. This makes the views of this audience, born in the late 90s and beyond, particularly relevant when it comes to qualitative market research since they are comfortable with being vocal about their views and familiar with using technology and social platforms to do it.

How do you recruit Gen Z?

Their use of technology makes Gen Z more easily accessible since they have such a large presence on social media. Large numbers of Gen Z can be accessed via adverts that both raise awareness of qualitative market research but also specific studies that may attract individuals, or which they may share with friends who could be more relevant. Indeed, the tendency for this generation to share on social means you can potentially reach far greater numbers than in any other generation before.

The likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are obvious ports of call and still work to a degree for the generation Z’s. However, this demographic also loves the more visually engaging platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram so you need to consider how to access them through these channels too. Viral content – such as quizzes and games – can be used to encourage sharing and increase reach.

Of course since Gen Z also includes students you could go old school too, attending college and university fairs to spread your message and find recruits. Just make sure still that you are doing it in an engaging, innovative way – ideally with some level of digital content.

Qualitative Market Research and Gen Z

How do you incentivise Gen Z?

How you will incentivise those in the Gen Z age bracket can vary hugely since it can cover everyone from children to students to those in their first jobs or just graduating. Tailoring your incentives to the particular age range of your study is therefore vital. For the student market obviously monetary or voucher incentives provide a huge draw – especially if related to something they need.

But, as with most markets, it’s not just about hard cash. Making your study interesting and fun can also work. For a demographic that loves innovation and the digital world then something as simple as including the use of digital methodologies such as market research online communities or webcam interviews could be more likely to engage Gen Z.

What ethics or consent do you need to consider?

Recruiting children for market research has to be done carefully and sensitively since this is the most vulnerable of age groups. The best-practice approach of any market research project should take into account a number of considerations including:

  • Consent – the child must choose to take part themselves. There are special cases in which consent can be waived, for example on sensitive subject matters, and in this case approval will need to be obtained by the MRS board
  • Age – is the participant defined as a child or young person based on their age? This will determine the need for a responsible adult.
  • For older participants the normal market research code of conduct apply so recap on those when you can

How do you keep them engaged during fieldwork?

Gen Z are renowned for shorter attention spans given the sheer volume of information they consume on a daily basis and their preference for short, sharp visual content. This means they are easily bored and so activities must be interesting and appealing to keep them engaged. As we have already said they love innovation so ensuring your research is forward thinking will help to maintain their interest whilst ensuring they understand the project from start to finish will also help.

What methodologies work best?

Given the digital world Gen Z are growing up in then any form of tech-based methodology should work well with market research online communities particularly apt. Their on-the-move nature also means that anything that is also mobile-based, or at the very least, mobile enabled – such as mobile ethnography, mobile apps and mobile diaries -- will also work well. Think social, innovative and digital and you can’t go far wrong with Gen Z.

CTA banner: Your Checklist for Conducting Market Research with Children and Young People

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