Different age groups use social media in very different ways, so how can you use digital ads to target intergenerational markets?
Ask any seasoned digital marketer about the core things to consider when doing social media for business, and you will always hear about the importance of your target audience in the approach. However, we live at a time when different generations across social media have their own specific styles and preferred marketing tactics.
For a business, generational social media marketing is the key to creating campaigns that really reach their audience. It is connected to inbound marketing, which is all about creating customized content that appeals to specific audiences in order to create lasting relationships with them.
How Different Generations Consume Social Media
The first step in doing generational social media marketing is obviously to understand each age group. We talked about their characteristics in this article, but it’s also important to know how each of them prefers to receive and consume digital messages. Let’s break them down below.
The Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964)
Preferred platforms: Facebook and Pinterest
A Pew survey has shown that 68 percent of individuals aged 50 to 64, and 46 percent of those aged 65 and above use Facebook the most.
According to numbers, baby boomers prefer reading text-based and long-form content, most probably because they are also the generation who grew up consuming traditional media. When it comes to approach, they also prefer informative and highly detailed content with concise messaging.
Pinterest comes in second as their preferred social platform because of the nature of the content commonly featured on it. DIY detailed projects are very popular on the website which, as expected, is also very appealing for a generation that is used to being more manual with things because of their limited access to technology while growing up.
How marketing for baby boomers should look like: simple, credible, emotional
Generational social media marketing for this age group should be focused on simplicity, transparency, reputation, and trust. If this is your market, your first step is to choose the best type of format to deliver your message.
Consider the infomercial-type of approach when creating your paid ads, for example, since this is the generation that grew up watching videos that build up trust on a product through informative sales talk.
Moreover, you should also use themes that appeal to their generation. While younger generations are all about light-hearted fun and maybe even some self-deprecating humor, the boomer generation is more inclined towards materials that appeal to emotions.
For example, instead of simply highlighting a holiday booking sale for a hotel staycation, you can frame your message in such a way that you’re focusing on the idea of “spending some time for yourself,” since this is the generation that is on retirement already.
The Gen X (1965 to 1980)
Preferred platforms: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
This generation is the age group that saw the invention and development of the internet right in front of their very eyes. Unlike the baby boomers who lean more heavily towards traditional media, Generation X has equal preference over old form and digital sources.
Specifically, this generation is pliant to content in both video and text form like those delivered through platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
While the baby boomers love Pinterest for its DIYs, Gen X runs to Youtube for the same purpose. The only difference is that while the former likes their content well-detailed in written format, the latter loves the convenience of just watching tutorial videos to get their information.
How marketing for Gen X should look like: incentivizing, omnichannel
Of course, traditional advertising shouldn’t be entirely swept under the rug, too. Going into omnichannel marketing that combines digital marketing practices with billboards and other above-the-line approaches is actually a great idea for this generation because it addresses their affinity for both methods.
In terms of approach, loyalty and reward programs are a big hit for this generation. Remember, this is the age group who grew up when incentivized memberships are just picking up in popularity, so creating a marketing campaign that uses this can be effective for getting the attention of this generation.
The Millennials (1981 to 1996)
Preferred platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube
Ah, the millennials. As the generation born during the dynamic era of the digital age, it isn’t surprising at all that this age group’s preference for social media channels is all over the map.
Millennials can be easily called the most digitally native audience group, which makes sense if you take into account their favorite platforms which are Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.
These are the pioneers of selfie culture, the age group that has put clear limitations on work culture, while also being staunch supporters of causes like animal rights, feminism, and inclusivity.
How marketing for Millennials should look like: advocacy-driven, backed by reviews
For a generational social media marketing approach targeting this age group to be effective, a business needs to show that they care about the same things.
The shopping behavior of this age group has been proven to be heavily influenced by their social motivations so brands that support relevant causes are more appealing for them.
Moreover, millennials value reviews and word of mouth (remember, this is the generation where influencers became a thing), so tapping into influencer marketing and creating a solid review system strategy can help your overall marketing strategy.
Gen Z (1996 to 2012)
Preferred platforms: Tiktok, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat
This is the generation born into an already well-developed but still transforming digital age. Gen Z is the age group that grew up with tablets and iPhones, the ones who were given video materials to keep themselves busy even at an early age.
They are the market inclined towards motion-based and short-form content, which is the reason why they are mostly pulled towards platforms like Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Tiktok that delivers hyper-personalized and bite-sized content.
How marketing for baby boomers should look like: time-sensitive, socially aware
When targeting Gen Zs, time is of utmost importance. This generation doesn’t have the time and the patience for flowery marketing messages. If you want to say something, it is best to deliver it in the shortest time possible, in the most appealing format that catches their attention.
This is the reason why Tiktok has risen to popularity lately for this age group because it delivers materials in terms of viral challenges and memes that send the message in the most entertaining but succinct way possible.
A little bit similar to the millennials, however, Gen Z also favors brands that support social causes. Most importantly, they love to know how their purchasing decision can help improve the advocacy that they are supporting.
Tap On The Right Generation With The Right Strategy
Generational social media marketing is an effective process to apply if you want to make sure that you are only sending optimized messages to your desired market.
Finding the right voice, message, and approach for your marketing messages can be the thin line separating the success or failure of your campaign. Take time to know what makes your audience tick, and you already have one foot in the door.
Eight Media is a Philippines-based agency that offers full-stack digital marketing services, from content creation to ads management. With the help of data-driven marketing, you can reach your next business milestone.