When marketers think about online behaviours, Millennials typically receive more attention than other generations. While Millennials are the social media generation, you shouldn’t rule out other generations—like Gen X—when marketing online.
Social media is becoming an ever-increasing part of running a business. And as online audiences continue to grow and diversify, it’s essential for content marketers to understand what resonates with their customers. But how do Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Millennials (born 1981-1997) stack up to one another online?
Fractl and Buzzstream have collaborated to analyze how these different generations consume content online, revealing some interesting facts. While it’s clear to see that social media platforms such as Facebook are clear favourites, there are differences that could mean your marketing efforts aren’t maximized if using the wrong platform for your target audience. What might work for Generation X won’t necessarily work for Baby Boomers and vice versa. In the following infographic, learn how content preferences differ among these groups.
The Generational Content Gap
How much time do we spend consuming content online?
23% spend 5-10 hours per week; 22% spend over 20 hours; 18% spend at least 5 hours; 16% are online 10-15 hours; 12% spend 15-20 hours; finally, only 8% are online less than 5 hours.
23% of Gen X spends 5-10 hours online per week; 21% are on for over 20 hours; 19% spend at least 5 hours; 16% spend 10-15 hours; 12% are online for 15-20 hours; and only 9% spend less than 5 hours.
Baby Boomers spend more time consuming content online than every other generation. 27% spend a whopping 20+ hours online; 17% are online 15-20 hours; 16% spend at least 5 hours per week; 14% spend 10-15 hours; another 14% spend 5-10 hours; only 12% are online less than 5 hours per week.
How we consume content
Evenings between 8pm and midnight is when most people consume content. Both Millennials and Generation X (about 35%) are online at this time. By posting content during this time you’ll reach the largest audience.
Which device do we use to view content?
Laptops are currently the most used device to view content online. They’re used by 43% of Baby Boomers, 39% of Generation X, and 35% of Millennials. Desktop browsing was a close second with 38% of Baby Boomers, 36% of Gen X, and 28% of Millennials using the device.
When it comes to mobile, however, 26% of Millennials use this as their primary viewing device. This is quickly becoming the primary viewing device for online content. So, don’t forget to optimize for mobile and ensure your website functions responsively.
The most consumed types of content
- Audio Books
- Case Studies
The least consumed types of content
- White Papers
- White Papers
- White Papers
Content length preferences
Don’t be wordy, all generations agree that 300 words is the sweet spot for article length.
Favourite content genres
Millennials like tech content 70.5% more than Baby Boomers. Generation X enjoys content about healthy living 35.4% more than Millennials. And Baby Boomers seek content about world news 94.7% more than Millennials. Thus, generational preferences vary dramatically from genre to genre. If you’re developing content for a specific niche, consider which generation will be your largest audience.
Social media platform most often used to share content
Generation X uses Twitter as a primary content sharing platform 70.4% more than Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers use Google+ as their primary content sharing platform 92% more than Millennials. But Facebook is by far the most widely used social media platform by all generations.
Most shared visual content
Millennials prefer sharing memes 54.7% more than Baby Boomers, while Generation X likes sharing SlideShares 49.6% more than Millennials. And Baby Boomers prefer to share images and videos the most.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.