Commentary

No Big Surprise: Social Media More Important To Younger Users

Want to engage baby boomers?

Consider targeting them on places other than social networks, messaging apps, and other such platforms.

That’s one way to interpret findings from Adobe Advertising Cloud and Advanis’ August 2019 “Voice of the Generations” report.

Among boomers surveyed, just 33% agreed with the statement, “There is a place for companies interacting with individual people on social networks, forums and/or messaging sites.”

By contrast, 49% among Gen-Xers, 63% among millennials and 69% among Gen-Zers agreed with the statement.

What explains boomers’ collective wariness about interacting with brands on social media and similarly egalitarian platforms? Perhaps most of all, this cohort is particularly uneasy about digital privacy issues, the research suggests.  

For example, 43% of boomers agreed with the statement, “I worry about how my data is used all the time.”

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By contrast, just 14% of Gen-Zers and 20% of millennials shared this sentiment, as did 31% of Gen-Xers.

Among all generational cohorts, the most-cited reason for using social media was “to share pictures and updates with friends and family.”

Yet, boomers were far more likely than Gen-Zers to include that among their primary reasons for social usage -- 57% versus 33%, respectively).

Likewise, millennials were twice as likely as Gen-Xers to say that they use social to follow celebrities -- 18% versus 9%, respectively.

By contrast, “get news” stood out as a function that has a similar-sized constituency across generations, with millennials on the high end (26%) and boomers on the low end (22%).

Meanwhile, social media is simply a bigger part of younger users’ lives.

The researchers estimate that about half (49.3%) of U.S. boomers will be social users, this year, compared to 77.5% of Gen-Zers and 90.4% of millennials.

The survey defined Gen-Zers as those born between 1996-2001; millennials between 1977-1995; Gen-Xers between 1965-1976; and boomers between 1946-1964.
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