No marketing campaign can succeed without a clear understanding of your demographics. While youngsters have been the first to register, over the years social networks have attracted hundreds of millions of users of all ages. This new study from Sprout Social reviews how Gen Xers, Millennials and Baby Boomers use social media, and what they expect from brands.
As you would expect, the findings shed light on notable generational differences – but similarities do exist, too. Let’s dive in.
Everyone Is On Facebook
Across all generations, Facebook was the most-loved social network among 43.6% of all respondents. But if you look beyond this, Facebook is not liked (see what I did there?!) in the same way across generational segments:
While nearly 2 in 3 Gen Xers and Baby Boomers indicated it is their platform of choice, only a third of Millennials shared the same statement.
The chart reveals that Millennials are by far the most complicated demographic to target, as they split their time on each platform more equally. Instagram was the go-to platform of 22.2% of them – followed by Snapchat at 15.8%.
What Encourages Generations To Follow A Brand?
An understanding of generational patterns is an absolute must-have, but as a marketer what you need to understand next is what motivates users of each generation, to follow and engage with brands on social. Per Sprout Social’s findings, Millennials and Gen Xers are twice as likely to follow a brand as Baby Boomers are.
But more importantly, this: Millennials (58.9%), Gen Xers (50.4%) and Baby Boomers (55%) all tend to follow a brand in the discovery phase of the customer journey – that is, before the purchase is carried out.
Millennials expect information (42%) and entertainment (38%) from brands. Gen Xers are on the lookout for deals, promotions (58%) and contests (41%), and Baby Boomers are somewhere in between, looking for a healthy mix promotion (60%) and information (53%).
The study also revealed that Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly as likely to engage with a brand (30% and 32% respectively), while Baby Boomers are mostly observers – only 14% of them interact with a brand on a monthly basis.
If generations follow brands for different reasons, they unfollow them for various motives as well. Millennials unfollow brands after a negative experience, or because they find their social media marketing annoying. Generation X users cited an offensive behaviour or a comment that opposed their personal beliefs, as the prime reason to opt-out. Lastly, 29% of Baby Boomers will unfollow a brand if they find that their marketing strategy is too spammy.
Does Engagement With Branded Content Lead To Sales Uplift?
Across generations, 62% of respondents said they’re likely to buy from a brand they follow on social. If we look at each demographic segment, almost 7 in 10 Gen Xers would consider to buy something from a brand they follow, versus 60% for Millennials, and just over 1 in 2 for Baby Boomers.
More importantly perhaps, is the fact that a positive experience on social increases willingness to purchase by a hefty 71%. Yes, 71%! Come on, tweet that:
As Sprout Social puts it: “Millennials ask, Gen X buys and Baby boomers observe”.
Yes, all generations may be on social media, following your brand, but they have different expectations from you. Now that know all that, how will you adapt your strategy to fulfill what your audience wants from you? Let us talk about this in the comments!
More from Experts Talk
Influencer Platform Buzzoole has teamed up with Nielsen to help brands and agencies to measure the "true reach" of influencers.