EXCLUSIVE: Adobe survey reveals Gen Z’s marketing content preferences

young male shopper

Gen Z consumers prefer video.

Almost all Gen Z consumers agree on their top format for digital marketing content.

In a survey of more than 1,000 global consumers (including U.S.) from Adobe Express exclusively covered by Chain Store Age, 98% of Gen Z respondents and 91% of millennial respondents said video is their preferred type of digital marketing content, and Gen Z respondents were the most likely to think user-generated content was the most authentic and trustworthy. 

Close to eight-in-10 (78%) Gen X respondents also cited video as their first choice for digital marketing content. However, seven-in-10 (69%) baby boomer respondents reported that they are most likely to consume online marketing content via email (69%).

The survey also revealed Gen Z is the most likely generation (19% more likely than second-ranked millennials) to say they would make a purchase through innovative digital marketing formats virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or interactive stories.

[Read more: This marketing channel leads in purchasing frequency]

In addition, nearly three-in-10 Gen Z respondents said they are excited about the prospect of interactive stories, especially things like Instagram’s new “hype” comment option. 

The study also examined a variety of cross-generational preferences and trends related to digital marketing content:

Type of marketing content consumers view most frequently

  • Video 89%
  • Static image 66%
  • Email 61%
  • PDF 22%
  • Blog 13%

Video is the digital content most likely to trigger a purchase among U.S. respondents. Globally, respondents to the survey were most likely to make purchases from videos of the following content: tech/gadgets (29%), reviews/unboxings (26%) and fashion/beauty (25%).

Types of content consumers find most authentic and trustworthy

  • Written 44%
  • User-generated 42%
  • Branded video 34%
  • Photo 30%

U.S. respondents find user-generated content most authentic and trustworthy. Respondents globally shared this sentiment as well, with more of them perceiving user-generated content as authentic and trustworthy (42%) than branded video content (34%).

Globally, respondents were 24% more likely to purchase from short content than long content. Six-in-10 (61%) global respondents say they have shorter attention spans while engaging with online content, and only one in four said long content would lead them to purchase.

Overall, global consumers said medium-length content would be more likely to lead them to purchase (44%) than long (25%) or short content (31%). However, they were 24% more likely to make purchases from short content than from long content. Global preferences also leaned toward short content for social media post captions (84%).

In addition, nearly three-in-five respondents globally desire more transparency and honesty in brand messaging from small businesses for 2024.

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