Effective Digital Marketing for Different Generations

October 21, 2022 | 4 minutes to read

“Age is Just a Number” – But Is It Really? “You’re only as old as you feel.” “Age is just a number.” “We are always the same age inside.” These are all wonderful, feel-good quotes we often see in birthday cards, and touted by friends and well-wishers to make a loved one feel young. In …

“Age is Just a Number” – But Is It Really?

“You’re only as old as you feel.” “Age is just a number.” “We are always the same age inside.” These are all wonderful, feel-good quotes we often see in birthday cards, and touted by friends and well-wishers to make a loved one feel young. In contrast, when you don a marketer’s glasses, age is a critical component of your target audience demographic.

Will a marketing strategy succeed if it doesn’t take into consideration the age group it is targeting? Imagine posting an online advertisement for retirees on TikTok or Snapchat. Chances of it reaching its intended audience and creating the desired impact may be slim to none. Every generation has some common influencers that guide their buying patterns. To survive the dynamics of today’s market, one needs to understand the behavioral pulse of multi-generational audiences and market to them through the right medium, albeit online. You may get more bang for your buck if you target youth through online platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram, and the older generation through channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn.  This is what Generational Marketing does.

From social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, to online search engines like Google and Bing, eCommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, and a vast network of online news channels, people have a lot of digital options to choose from today.  It is no wonder that every generation has some common preferences as to which digital platforms they prefer. Let’s take a look at ways to tailor your digital marketing for greater impact on your target audiences, grouped according to their age.

Different Media Platforms and How They Influence Varied Audiences

  • Digital Media Impact
    • Social Media – 72% of the population uses some form of social media (2021 Pew Research). Facebook and YouTube are the most used platforms across all age groups. Young adults use social media the most. However, the usage among older generations has increased tremendously.
    • Online search engines – Gen Z dominates online searches considerably with over 63% of the population using the Google search engine for their queries (2019 Pew research).
    • Short Form Video – These are becoming more popular. Video marketing works effectively on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
    • Mobile Phones – People of all generations use mobile phones for searching or just browsing. Digital content needs to be optimized for mobile phones to be readily available to all.
  • Influencers’ Impact
    Influencers and micro influencers are creating a huge impact on the younger audiences. Today they are actively being used by marketers on digital platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
  • Traditional Methods
    Preferred mostly by the older generation, also known as Baby Boomers (explanation given below). This form of advertising includes direct mailers, door to door sales, telemarketers, television, and radio advertisements.

Age Demographics and Its Effects on Digital Marketing

Baby Boomers – Born Between 1946 to 1964

Though this post war generation prefers human interaction to robots and computers, we should not totally disregard digital marketing for them. This generation has slowly but surely adapted to the digital world. As per Pew Research in 2021, 73% of people aged between 50 to 64 use social media with most of them heavily reliant on Facebook and YouTube. However, relatively lower numbers frequent sites like Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. As per Forbes, more than 96 percent of Baby Boomers use search engines for gathering information. They are largely an affluent lot and account for over 50 percent of all consumer expenditure.

Most reliable digital influencers for baby boomers –

  • Google AdWords – paid advertisements
  • Video Marketing – YouTube
  • Social media like Facebook
  • Emails – newsletters, marketing emails

Gen X – Born between 1965 to 1980 

They are multi-taskers, at the peak of their careers and busy catering to their family needs. They are extremely tech savvy and are truly ‘hybrid’ as they like buying products online as well as in-store.

Over 81 percent rely on social media with most of them using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They respond well to good customer service, customer recommendations, and online reviews.  Brand loyalty is the highest amongst Gen X. However, they prefer brands they can trust rather than just what is trending.

Most reliable digital influencers for Gen X –

  • Online media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Mobile devices
  • Receptive to new forms of technology (like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa)
  • Traditional TV as well as streaming options
  • Online reviews
  • Short video clips on platforms like YouTube
  • Online marketing on news channels, weather apps, and banking sites

Millennials – Born Between 1981 to 1996 

The most active workforce, they have a considerable amount of earnings. They do not hesitate to spend on products they appreciate.

They are the biggest audience (over 90%) on social media platforms and buy heavily through e-commerce platforms.  They are socially conscious and like being associated with a cause.

Most reliable digital influencers for Millennials –

  • Online reviews on sites like Yelp and Google
  • Short video clips on online platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and mobile devices
  • Influencer marketing
  • Online platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook

Gen Z – Born Between 1997 to 2012 

They are typically the youngest spenders. Gen Zers are tech-savvy and brand conscious.  Influencers make a huge impact on their buying behavior. They do not appreciate online targeted ads.

Successful ad campaigns for this group involve –

  • Influencer and micro-influencer marketing
  • Short video clips on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and mobile devices

How Expert WSI eMarketing Can Help Your Generational Marketing Efforts

Age demographic plays a huge part in creating digital marketing campaigns that matter and deliver the right results. Our Expert WSI eMarketing team provides customized strategies to optimize your content and target it to the right age group, through the right digital platform. Contact us to help you create a digital marketing impact on the audience that matters. We’ll help you build a formidable brand online with measurable results and a steady return on investment.

Call us at 713-338-3488 to learn more about effective digital marketing strategies for different generations. You can also contact us online to book a digital strategy consultation.

About the Author

James R Alexander, Digital Marketing Strategist, OMCP, PE, MBA at Expert WSI eMarketing, General Manager for Expert WSI eMarketing’. He and this office are an integral part of WSI’s global team.

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