Google’s Marketing and Digital Research arm recently released a study on Generation Z (anyone born after 1993) titled It’s Lit: A Definitive Guide to What Teens Think Is Cool. The title alone should immediately remind you of that Steve Buscemi GIF, but the entire document contains little nuggets of painfully sincere guidance for those who, when confronted with a teen, tilt their head to one side, scratch some dandruff from their scalp, and let out a loud, adult-ish “Huh?”
Below are six things I learned from the academic paper colloquially known as It’s Lit.
1. “Teens feel something is cool if it’s unique, impressive, interesting, amazing or awesome.”
The study opens strong with a number of synonyms for “cool.” Unfortunately, it is written without the Oxford comma, and it’s widely known there’s nothing cooler to teens than grammatical clarity.
2. Teens think Doritos are cooler than Vice and Whatsapp.
When asked to rank brands by coolness, teens ranked Vice, Line, and Sunglass Hut near the bottom, each with fewer than 5 coolness points out of 9. Google, YouTube, Netflix, and Doritos ranked the highest.
3. Uber is cooler for Millennials than it is for Gen Z.
Probably because parents are the original Uber.
4. The iPhone vs. Android wars are neck-and-neck in Gen Z.
Of the teens surveyed, 42.3 percent have an iPhone, while 41.3 percent are on Android. Only 3.1 percent have a Windows Phone — at least they have this subreddit.
5. “Gen Z is the most informed, evolved, and empathetic generation of its kind.”
Assuming “of its kind” means, um, humans, I have a hard time imagining how even the smartest market analytics PowerPoint artist could determine that millions of people as a single group defined solely by age are more evolved than the rest.
6. “According to teens, pizza, Oreos, chips, and ice cream are cool.”
Gen Z may be more evolved, but they are still weak to the very same snacks that doomed Millennials, Gen-X, and Baby Boomers.
The report is based on the results of three surveys conducted in 2016. Market research firm YouGov administered two surveys to a total of around 1,500 teens and 800 people aged 18 to 25. Another market research firm, Gutcheck, administered a survey to around 67 teens.
Although the survey sample sizes are relatively small, the results apparently all concluded the same thing: that teens think Google is cool. Surely data that claims 40 percent of teens use Google+ isn’t skewed in the least. In honor of the optimistic, evolved teens, let’s just chalk this up to a stroke of luck for Google, the very cool company that commissioned this study in the first place.
The PDF has apparently been circulating for weeks on the Gen Z underbelly of the internet, but the knowledge within its mysterious pages should last a lifetime.