Eight Seconds: Grabbing the Attention of Gen-Z on Social Media

December 09, 2022 – 4 min. read

Yoof Agency presenting at CUE Days 2022
At CUE Days ’22, the two founders of Yoof Agency caused a stir among media professionals when they gave us the latest on how to bring news to Gen-Z: It’s short, it’s snackable and it’s eight seconds. 

That’s a very short span of time. But a lot can happen in eight seconds. The Wright Brothers’ first flight lasted 12 seconds, the first movie ever recorded (in 1888) lasted just 2.1 seconds. Eight seconds is also the average attention span for Generation Z – young people under the age of 25. They are raised on social media almost from birth, and they are tech-savvy and extremely quick to decide whether a piece of content is worth spending time on. And there’s a lot of them – roughly 30 percent of the current population of the world are under the age of 25. This is the new reality for news and media producers. This is the group of people that are going to become subscribers in the coming decades. Hopefully, at least! 

So, how should a media company navigate in this new reality – and are young people even remotely interested in anything other than dance videos and cat-based content?

At CUE Days ’22, we heard the opinions straight from the horse’s mouth: Yoof Agency gave a presentation and held a workshop about the way conventional media companies should embrace the habits and preferences of young people. Yoof Agency should know: The two founders Pierre Caulliez and Martynas Vanagas are 20 and 21 years old, respectively, and are helping news companies understand and target a younger audience.  

Gen-Z’ers want news in snackable form

The answer from Yoof Agency is clear: Yes, Gen-Z’ers are media and news consumers, curious about the world and willing to invest in content – but news needs to be packaged and targeted to them in such a way that interest is aroused. So, back to the eight seconds. This is the maximum time span a typical Gen-Z’er will invest in deciding whether a news article – or any other piece of content – is worth the investment in time and effort. That is not to say that someone under 25 years of age will never spend more than eight seconds on anything – far from it. On the contrary, once the interest is there, they are just as willing to focus on the content as any other target group and will likely graduate to full-scale media and news consumers with time.  

  • First, media companies need to understand the media consumption habits of young people much better - by actively listening and by recruiting younger talent. 
  • Second, they need to understand and embrace the basics of the most important delivery platform right now – which is TikTok. The average TikTok video is between 21 and 34 seconds (with the absolute maximum duration now moved up to 10 minutes, which is a lot). But you only have the famous eight seconds to capture the attention of users – at the very most. That goes for any other piece of content, as well. And TikTok needs a face more than anything – a personal connection, someone to listen to. 
  • And third, they need to understand the concept of news snacking much better – that is, the idea of presenting news in an ultra-compact format. On TikTok, mainly, but on other platforms as well, such as YouTube and podcasts.  

Create a recruitment platform for the news consumers of tomorrow

The benefit? News companies who understand and embrace the media habits of Gen-Z will seed the ground for a solid recruitment platform for paid content in the future, as Gen-Z’ers move on to new phases in life.

But that requires quality snackable content, a strong brand, and a will to work with the preferred platforms used to deliver news and stories.  

At CUE Days ’22, Yoof Agency also hosted a workshop delving into ways media can attract Gen-Z.