In our last blog, we looked at the Top 5 social media platforms and broke down the reasons people visited each platform overall. In the blog, we referenced a research study called “Social: GWI’s flagship report on the latest trends in social media”. If you’re using organic or paid social media to market your business, the last blog noted to develop content that feels native to the platform to increase your marketing effectiveness. In this blog, we’re going to take those reasons people say they visit/use social media platforms as a whole and break those reasons out into generational age groups. This encompasses 8 platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat and Reddit and averages them ALL together.
For the purposes of this study, the four age groups are defined as:
Gen Z: Age 12-26. Millennials: Age 27-41. Gen X: Age 42-57. Baby Boomers: Age 58-76
Let’s lay out ALL the data first by generational cell. First, the Top 3 reasons they use social media, and then the Bottom 3 reasons. The total number of choices numbered at 16. They are ranked by the Percentage of social media users who say these are the main reasons they use social media. Top 3 and Bottom 3 scores are then averaged to give a passion level indicator.
Gen Z: Age 12-26
- Keeping in Touch with friends/family 48% (43% average)
- Filling Spare Time 43%
- Finding Content 39%
- Watching/Following Sports 24%
- Finding Like-minded communities/groups 24%
- Posting about your life 24% (24% average)
Millennials: Age 27-41
- Keeping in Touch with friends/family 47% (40% average)
- Filling spare time 37%
- Reading news stories 36%
- Posting about your life 24%
- Finding like-minded communities/groups 23%
- Avoid missing out on things 22% 23% average
Gen X: Age 42-57
- Keeping in Touch with friends/family 51% (40.6% average)
- Reading news stories 38%
- Filling spare time 33%
- Posting about your life 19%
- Avoid missing out on things 18%
- Following celebrities or influencers 17% 18% average
Baby Boomers: Age 58-76
- Keeping in Touch with friends/family 54% (3% average)
- Reading news stories 36%
- Filling Spare Time 28%
- Seeing content from favorite brands 13%
- Posting about your life 13%
- Following celebrities or influencers 10% 12% average
The point of this breakdown of age groups and their use of social media is to show that, for the most part, the reasons people go to these platforms really are universal across all age groups. People occupy their minds and keep in touch with family/friends on social media from age 12 to 76. The rest of what social media provides just seems to be icing flavors on the cake.
A few points to think on:
- As groups age, the things they are less than passionate about diminish into not really mattering at all. The percentage difference between Gen Z’s Top and Bottom reason score is 24% versus Baby Boomers’ disparity at 44%.
- Social media usages by Gen Z and Millennials are basically a wash, spanning ages 12 to 41 years old.
- Social media usages by Gen X and Baby Boomers are also basically a wash, spanning ages 42 to 76.
- For users of all age groups, ‘Posting About Your Life’ never exceeded 24% importance and that diminished more in each aging segment. It’s in the bottom 3 reasons for every group.
- For users of all age groups, ‘Watching/following sports’ never exceeded 24% importance.
- For users of all age groups, ‘Finding products to purchase’ never exceeded 28% importance.
- ‘Seeing what’s trending’ is important to 1 in 3 Gen Z’ers, but only 1 in 5 Baby Boomers.
- ‘Seeing content from your favorite brands’ matters to 1 in 4 Gen Z’ers and Millennials, 1 in 5 Gen X’ers and 1 in 9 Baby Boomers.
- While ‘Keeping in touch with friends/family’ ranked highest for every age group, ‘Filling spare time’ was the only other reason that topped 40% (at 43%), and only with Gen Z.
The great news here is, if your product/service is generationally neutral (take food for example), chances are your marketing message can be broad enough to have universal appeal, a one-size-fits-all, when it comes to the age group demographic targeting aspect on social media.
Thanks for acting like 39% of Gen Z and 27% of Gen X and using social media to find THIS content. We go deep into the weeds in analyzing research to keep our clients out of the ditches and straight on the road to success. Let our social media experts here at CMOco help you maximize your social media followings’ impact and rise above the competition.
– Bruce Thiem, CMOco Director of Integrated Media