Gen Z

By on Aug 3, 2021 in Marketing

After first getting to know Gen Z, the team at REACH by RentCafe investigated how this tech-savvy generation searches online so that you can learn the best way to attract these young renters.

Infographic showing Gen Z search data from a survey of more than 10,000 renters

Gen Zers have developed specific search and viewing habits

For a generation that has grown up glued to computers, phones and tablets, Gen Zers have had years to cultivate their online search habits. In a series of 36 video interviews with members of Gen Z, REACH by RentCafe found that participants tended to start their search on Google, and often used long-tail search phrases, averaging 4.9 words per search. This is higher than the overall average of 4.2 words. Additionally, Gen Z tends to favor key words such as “Best,” “Cheap” and “How to” when searching online.

Members of Gen Z also spend a lot of their time online watching videos, and they have specific preferences when it comes to which type of clips they like to watch. In a survey of over 10,000 Gen Zers published on, 69% said they preferred a combination of user-created and professionally produced videos.

This generation has come of age online, and as these renters enter adulthood, it’s clear that they are not only fully equipped to navigate the internet, but they’ve also developed a specific way of doing so.

Gen Z attention span < goldfish attention span

Did you know that with an estimated attention span of just 8 seconds Gen Zers are even less alert than their millennial counterparts (12 seconds) and, yes, goldfish (9 seconds)? In one video interview from the series, Gen Z member Keona spoke about how, when searching online for restaurants, thousands of results could be “overwhelming.” She continued, “I have a very short attention span, and I just need someone to tell me what the best [restaurants] are quickly.”

Responses from the survey provides further evidence of this generation’s fleeting attentiveness. A full 70% of Gen Zers said they preferred videos shorter than 60 seconds, and 40% commented that they opted for clips less than 15 seconds. There are lots of young fish in the sea, but these Gen Zers will swim away quickly if you can’t find a way to hook them.

Gen Zers value convenience

Closely associated with Gen Z’s short attention span is a desire for convenience when searching online: they expect to find what they’re looking for without having to work too hard and without spending too much time doing so. In our series of video interviews, every participant clicked either a pay-per-click link or one of the first four organically generated links when using a search engine to look for an apartment.

Participants also gravitated towards sites that offered convenience, with 97% of Gen Zers using ILSs while looking for a place to rent. When searching, Gen Z member Wyatt commented, “I would definitely go to a site…[that] pools everything together in one page so I don’t have to keep switching around.” Wyatt’s comment reiterates Gen Z’s greater online search attitudes: They don’t just want convenience, they expect it.

What does this mean for you? Engage, engage, engage!

Gen Zers are smart digital natives with targeted search habits, and property marketers must act quickly to attract as many next generation renters as possible. Here are a few tips we recommend:

  1. As you just learned, Gen Zers don’t like working too hard to find what they’re looking for, and they often click links that appear at the top of search results. You need to optimize your SEO and PPC capabilities to draw in these tech-savvy renters. This is something you can hire for and manage in-house or work with an agency like REACH by RentCafe, leveraging the expertise of search specialists to drive the most rent-ready leads to your website.

  2. When searching for an apartment, 36% of Gen Zers are unsure or exploring just for fun while 29% know the exact apartment size, price, location and amenities they want. This means that the apartment search journey is starting earlier with this new generation, and it’s important for you to understand the length of the buying cycle and capture awareness data.      

    In the survey, Gen Zers also shared where they found their last online purchases. The data showed that 43% discovered their last purchase on a search engine like Google or Bing, while 39% found it on a marketplace environment such as Amazon or This data combined with the fact that Gen Zers are starting their search before knowing exactly what they want reiterates that it’s critical for you to have a balanced marketing strategy that combines SEO and PPC capabilities with an ILS presence. At the same time, you should use marketing analytics tools such as Marketing IQ to track the success of each strategy.

  3. Thousands of Gen Zers told us their thoughts about watching videos online, and the results are in: Young renters prefer videos less than a minute long, and many will only last 15 seconds. This means that your website should have videos under a minute long, and it’s critical to have an engaging hook or get your message across in the first 15 seconds.

  4. You should post both professionally created videos to highlight your property and user-generated videos that showcase the authentic property experience. This young generation cares more about reality than perfection, so be sure to give them a taste of what their day-to-day life could be like.