Behavioural Insights

Understanding the youth – Deciphering behaviour requires relevant access

Do you remember that summer rain you experienced in July when you were 16 years old, walking home from that party that changed it all? There have been July summer rains many times after that and usually they feel good. But when you are a teenager, it feels something unique. Simply put; when you are young, things FEEL stronger and decisive. This article is about the youth; how we can learn and understand young people, in the level of insights.

The DNA of Generation Z

When we talk about the Generation Z (or “Gen Z”), we refer to people who have been born roughly from 1995 to 2010. They have been born in a world where internet, social networks, and mobile technologies have been as natural and integral part of daily life as TVs have been for those who lived their youth in the 80s. The people representing the Gen Z don’t know what the world without Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify or other streaming services would be like. Consequently, the Gen Z are genuine digital natives.

The essence of digital natives does not only refer to the direct adoption of new digital solutions and services. More importantly, it refers to behaviour where people use technological means to influence, receive influences and ideas, to co-create and express personality and creativity. We live in a world where the level of information, knowledge and awareness has significantly increased when comparing to our world 20 years ago. Young people, including the Gen Z, have the best possible means to learn, understand and make an impact.

The channel that matters

In the insights industry, the access and reach to young people is a commonly recognized challenge. How to learn from people who do not answer to phone calls, and who are not accustomed to use PCs (in the same way than people born in the 70s – 80s are)? How to source a meaningful set of response data from young people via browser-based surveys online? Couple this with the speed and cycle how new trends emerge, and how quickly young people adopt them. Many insights agencies simply do not have the means to reach young people in order to source meaningful insights, in those channels that the target segments intuitively use and “own”.


Smartphones are personal and intimate devices for most of us. Our contacts, starting with our closest people, are stored in our smartphones. Our messages, pictures, social media profiles, favourite content, access to the services we daily use; the most important stuff representing us as individuals are in our phones. For the young digital natives this is even more important than to some others. Consequently, if you are not in people’s smartphones, you cannot get on their radar and get meaningful mindshare from them to understand behaviour.

Understanding the young influencers

Insights are always specific to a context. What people think today about a certain thing, might be something totally different next week, based on what has happened and what influences have emerged to change the mindset. Comparing to the “adult” perspective, young people live in a reality where things are loved and abandoned in hyper-speed cycles. Thus relevant insights need to be sourced and interpreted as a continuous pulse. Crowst collaborates with Bängeri, the pioneer marketing agency in Finland that focuses specifically on the Generation Z related messaging and content. Eija Gerlander, the CEO and Founding Partner at Bängeri, encapsulates her views as follows: “The Generation Z is one of the most influential consumer segments. The opinions of young people steer even 87 percent of the purchase decision in families.”

“The Generation Z is one of the most influential consumer segments. The opinions of young people steer even 87 percent of the purchase decision in families.” 

Eija Gerlander, CEO and Founding Partner at Bängeri

“To understand young people, we need to understand their life, speed and cycles they are accustomed to. The very first step is simply to be there where they influence, receive influences and form their views. Without mobility and smartphones sourcing relevant and meaningful insights becomes significantly more difficult, if not impossible”, states Gerlander.

Crowst is equipped to reach young people by design. Our mobile app is downloaded in the people’s smartphones, and we reach the Crowsters, our respondents that influence and are on the constant motion, anytime and anywhere in Finland.

Read more about the Crowst audiences based on the thematic breakdown here, and Crowsters, our top mobile respondents, on our earlier blog post.

Written by

Jyrki Kallinen

Tired of outdated and expensive research methods? Call or send me an email, we have the cure at Crowst.