Momentive study: social media and the brand-customer relationship

Momentive study: social media and the brand-customer relationship

We explore how are consumers relating to brands today, and the role of social media on the brand-customer relationship.

Sam Gutierrez

February 17, 2023 | 3 min read


Key findings:

  • All aspects of the brand relationship are important to customers, but delivering on value remains top of mind, according to an anchored MaxDiff analysis.
  • Social media becomes a primary avenue for brand discovery and purchase; two in three (63%) Gen Zers cite social media as the main source of discovering new brands, ahead of TV ads (32%) and word of mouth (40%), and also outpaces TV for purchasing inspiration among Gen Z and Millennials.
  • Differences also rise between platforms, with brand content on TikTok seen as more fun than trustworthy and authentic, while YouTube and Facebook perform well in perceptions of all three metrics.

All aspects of the brand relationship are important to customers, but delivering on value remains top of mind.

Price and quality of products, customer service, and brand authenticity continue to form the foundation of brands’ relationship with their customers. Despite the increased focus from brands, social media presence is among the least important brand attributes to customers, trailing customer service (3.5x as important), communication (3x as important), sustainability (more than 2x as important), inclusive products (2x as important), and sharing similar social values (1.5x as important).

Younger consumers are more reliant on social media to connect with brands

More Gen Z and Millennials say they find out about new brands from social media (63% and 58%) than say they rely on friends and family (40% and 49%) and TV ads (32% and 44%). Gen Xers and Boomers remain more reliant on friends and family (50% and 56%) and TV ads (52% and 59%) than social media (46% and 28%).

Advertisements on social media are more effective in driving purchases than TV ads among Gen Zers and Millennials (77% vs. 63% for Gen Zers and 80% vs. 72% for Millennials).

But, brands risk customer fatigue, as 60% of Americans say there’s too much advertising on social media. A vast majority of consumers (85%) they ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ get tired of seeing the same ads, a sentiment shared by all age groups.

Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the leading platforms for customers to connect with brands among Gen Z

Nearly half (46%) of Gen Zers say they follow a brand on Instagram, followed by 40% on YouTube, 38% on TikTok, and a mere 29% on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, however, remains a leading platform among Millennials (54% vs. 45% for YouTube and 39% for Instagram) and Gen Xers (41% vs. 28% for YouTube and 19% for Instagram).

Context matters: content posted on different social media platforms are perceived differently by customers

Brand presence and content have different appeal based on the different platforms. TikTok, known for its short-form video content, is seen as more fun than trustworthy or authentic; 51% of Gen Zers say content or posts from brands are more fun when on TikTok, compared to those who say content is more fun on Instagram (44%) or YouTube (42%). Both Millennials and Gen Xers similarly view TikTok as more fun than authentic or trustworthy, but prefer Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for brand content for all three metrics.

When it comes to content from brands on TikTok, users prefer general content and tutorials or educational content, and have little desire for brands interacting with users in the comments section. Gen Zers prefer to see tutorials (36%), memes (36%), general content (33%), and influencer collaborations (32%), while Millennials are particularly fond of brand effects (37%).

Read more about our polling methodology here.

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below:


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