How to Reach Different Age Groups With Your Online Marketing

Published on March 29, 2017

Maybe you’ve seen the meme: It’s a screenshot from the TV show 30 Rock, and it features legendary actor Steve Buscemi in a badly-fitting hoodie and backwards hat, grinning psychotically while he asks a gaggle of high schoolers, “how do you do, fellow kids?”

It’s an iconic piece of internet junk for a reason: In a lot of ways, this picture sums up a lot of what passes for good online content and marketing. Countless brands try to be radical and cool to appeal to younger audiences. But why? Isn’t it a little bit pandering and condescending – not to mention counter-effective – to assume a pose or posture to speak down to millennials? Or, conversely, to assume that all baby boomers and Gen X-ers are buttoned-up squares who don’t know an iPhone from a rotary?

While Facebook Ads and other online marketing platforms allow for sophisticated targeting options based on age, the fact remains that many brands simply don’t know what their audience actually wants to see and consume. It’s time to fix that! Fortunately, a recent study by Olapic, brought to our attention by Hubspot and Adweek, is just what the doctor ordered.

Want to bridge the generation gap in your digital marketing efforts? Curious about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to reaching baby boomers and millennials? Here are some of the study’s key findings that you can put to work for your content marketing right now:

Boomers Rely on Images Less Than Millennials

We’ve long known that younger audiences rely on Facebook much less than older ones, and this Olapic study truly confirms that: Facebook is the social media platform of choice for 90% of boomers, while 25% of millennials are more likely to name Instagram as their preference.

The big reason? Boomers are much likelier to prefer written content and video than millennials, who overwhelmingly opt for photo-based content.

Millennials and Boomers Approach Authenticity Differently

When it comes to the content being consumed, millennials and boomers have different ideas about what constitutes efficacy and authenticity. For instance, according to Olapic, millennials are more likely to consider a branded image authentic if it features “real people” using or satisfied with the product or service; in contrast, boomers are far more likely to trust content that highlights the product or service itself.

And millennials are far more likely to respond to marketing content, to carry the conversation forward: According to the study, 54% of millennials “want friends and the brand to know they like the product,” making them far more likely to use branded hashtags, for example; on the other hand, a full 50% of boomers never use hashtags, according to the findings.

User-Generated Content Is Key

We’re big fans of user-generated content here at Geek; we’ve long believed that posts, reviews, images, and conversations created by happy users are incredibly effective at creating buzz, loyalty, and word of mouth, helping turn “on the fence” shoppers into hot leads.

It turns out that we’re not alone in this belief! In fact, across the board, people seem to trust user-generated content over brand-created content when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. According to the study, 47% of millennials and 36% of boomers trust user-generated content, while only 25% and 24%, respectively, trust content created by brands.

Combined, a whopping 76% of consumers find content posted by other consumers to be “more honest” than brand content, and just about a quarter of all shoppers now seek out user-generated stories and posts before commercials, ads, or blogs when making a purchase.

Want to build an authentic, appealing brand narrative for your business? Ready to earn positive word of mouth and put user-generated content to work driving in leads for your brand? Then you’re ready to talk with Geek! Drop us a line today with any questions!

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