Gen X And Boomers Split Digital And Traditional Media Consumption Evenly

There's a timely reminder from the IPA this morning that not all media needs to be digital. There is a lot of confusing reporting on its findings, unveiled in association with Facebook this morning.

There is lots of talk about correlation of media consumption, which just has me scratching my head.

The report, for me, has one very clear takeaway that nearly all can immediately identify and act on. For 16- to-34-year-olds, digital media consumption has risen to roughly three-quarters of overall media consumption. For generic adults, it's half.

That's a massive gap in digital attention, and that is the message practitioners will need to come away with.

In an age when social media and influencers are all the rage and search marketing is still the largest digital marketing spending stream, it is worth remembering that as far as older adults go, only half their time will be spent on digital.

That leaves the other half reading a paper or magazine, watching television, listening to the radio and maybe glancing at the posters at the railway station on the way in and out of work.



Campaign probably has the clearest reporting on the results today, and what struck me was a comment from an industry insider who provided analysis for the report's creators. His view is that you cannot simply put all your eggs in the digital basket and these very traditional channels still hold a lot of promise.

The takeaway is that we will not be digital-only until us Gen X people are pushing up daisies. Then we will have consumers who have only ever known their media to be delivered digitally.

The uncomfortable truth is that spending patterns would suggest many agencies are presuming this has already happened. This report is here as a reminder that it has not.

There is plenty of life left in non-digital channels, and they come with the promise of comprising important elements of the half of the average adult's media consumption that is delivered away from a digital device. 

So, you can delve in and look for correlations and come up with all manner of statistical findings, but this is the main takeaway for me. Adults are still splitting their time evenly between digital and non-digital, while digital dominates for 16- to-34-year-olds. 

Digital channels are hugely important, but they are not the be-all and end-all if you want to reach audiences older than millennials. 

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