The generation gap in social media

The social media landscape is a volatile place. Just when commentators proclaimed that Facebook had lost ground in the youth market, a new survey shows that Facebook is holding its own as a means for younger people to communicate with their peers.

Businesses who target this segment of the market would be interested to know the findings of a recent Forrester report that showed Facebook remains a staple means of communication for the youth market, albeit with a small reduction. More than three-quarters of those surveyed used Facebook — twice as many as use Pinterest or Tumblr or Snapchat, and more than use Instagram and WhatApp combined.

“And 28% of young users who are on Facebook say they use it ‘all the time,’ a higher percentage than said this about any other social network.”

The results piqued my interest as to how people in other age-related demographics used social media.

A recent Smart Insights survey showed results that may be instructive to your company’s online marketing plans.

It’s not surprising that the top demographic age groups for social media usage were the 16-25 and the 25 to 34 year olds respectively, with the other age groups not appearing as dominant users of any of the platforms. Here’s the breakdowns per age group.

Top users social media platforms per age group

16 – 25 year olds

Instagram – 16 – 25 year olds (29%)

YouTube – (32%)

Tumblr – 16 – 25 year olds (45%)

25-34 year olds

Facebook – (29%)

Google Plus – (31%)

Twitter – 2 (31%)

LinkedIn – (32%)

Pinterest – (32%)

Orkut – (35%)

MySpace – (37%)

Drivers per age group

The same survey also looked at the motivations of users when they followed a brand on social media. The results are interesting.

More 25-34 year olds than other age groups were seeking discounts for future purchased (66%) while more 45-54 year olds were seeking better customer service (50%). Of those seeking personalised purchase recommendations, the 16 – 25 year old came in on top (40%).

All demographics were interested in a feature that would enable them to track their deliveries with the results being fairly even across all age groups. The same was true of the level of interest in pre-release of new products online, with the exception of 55-64 year olds who we less interest in access to products by this means.

All groups were equally interested in access to people to interact with at the business in question. Perhaps predictably, the younger two age groups wanted to connect with other fans of the business with the older demographics indicating this was of lesser importance. This was also seen in the desire to know what friends had bought online; competitions; and access to other people’s wish lists.

As online marketing matures and related analytics improve, data such as this will increasingly influence the way business engage with different age groups online.

You could say it’s another example, of good old fashioned segmentation principles being applied to the digital age!

Fatpublisher provides social media services to our clients. If you are interested in finding out about our social media packages, please contact us.


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