The best (and worst) part of social media is that everyone is on it. Mavrck understands the industry is changing minute to minute. From your most recent video on TikTok, to your grandma’s intense political discourse in Facebook comments, it seems that every generation has carved out their own little corner of the Internet. This leaves marketers with the unique challenge of getting their message in front of the right eyeballs and crafting it in a way that even grandma could enjoy.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’
Brands often feel the social media landscape is like a battlefield. An endless battle, fighting for seconds of attention across various platforms and competitors. Like ‘The Art of War,’ this blog aims to bolster the strategy and efficacy of your influencer marketing army through a deeper understanding of the demographics you want to market to. For marketers, this article will broaden your scope on who these consumers are, what is important to them, and the best ways to make your influencer marketing message matter. The demographics covered are as follows:
- Gen Z
- Gen X
- Baby Boomers
Gen Z: 9-24 years old
Who are they?
Gen Z comprises individuals born between 1997-2012. This socially savvy generation has made waves across the internet in the past few years, and for good reason. This is the first digitally native group of humans to exist with 97% using social media. Brands all over the world are trying to reach Gen Z, and the rationale varies. While they may hold the least wealth of the four segments covered, Zoomers hold high levels of influence on marketing and purchasing decisions. In simple terms, they know content best and are on track to be the largest generation after Millennials.
Another rationale is given their digitally native nature, Gen Z creators have massive followings and Zoomers spend more time online than any of their predecessors. This provides marketers with a unique opportunity to access more touchpoints on the consumer than ever before, and the challenge of how best to do it. This is the consumer of the future and as such, branded content shouldn’t sound like the past.
How do brands market to Gen Z?
One of the challenges in marketing to this generation is they do not respond well to disruptive traditional advertising. Many brands on TikTok have attempted to reach Gen Z through regular disruptive ads and have had to disable comments due to poor reception and sentiment. With their vast scope of brands to choose from, Gen Z isn’t afraid to drop a brand that no longer entertains them or fails to align with their beliefs. As previously mentioned, content should be made for those who consume it. The following categories play a large role in Gen Z’s time spent online. Brands can capitalize on these themes in their social strategy.
- Dance/trend Videos
- Social activism
- How to’s/tutorials
The beauty of influencer marketing for brands is the ability to tap into preexisting authentic channels of influence. While some of the most popular creators may not be as cost-effective for brand partnerships, their content can provide a good model for marketers on what content Gen Z enjoys. Here are a few examples of popular Gen Z influencers with an established follower base:
- Kylie Jenner
- Lil Nas X
- The D’Amelio Sisters
- Greta Thunberg
Earlier I mentioned that 97% of Gen Z use social media; this widespread usage means there are several networks with high levels of Gen Z participation. That being said, there are a few standouts among the rest. When reaching out to Zoomers the following networks should be your priority:
- TikTok – Highest rate of Gen Z viewers and creators
- Instagram – Second highest rate of Gen Z viewers and creators
- YouTube – Favorite of Gen Z for longer-form content
- Twitch – Favorite of Gen Z boys/men
Here’s an example of the success F’real had in engaging the Gen Z audience, maybe your brand can learn a thing or two!
Millennials: 25-40 years old
Who are they?
While Millennials are often unfairly used as the scapegoat for the modern world’s problems, their demographic is still incredibly valuable for brands. As a generation, they’ve been through the wringer. Older Millennials joined the workforce at the height of the 2008 recession. They’ve also faced setbacks like stagnant wages, ballooning student loan debt, and a wildly competitive job market.
Through these fiery trials thrown at them by the world, Millennials have become a different kind of consumer. They hold more wealth than Gen Z, are more likely to spend on experience rather than product, and do a good amount of research before any purchases. Though not all digitally native, they are highly capable tech users and value authenticity above all else. Millennials harbor skepticism toward gimmicky brands and prefer to be treated like a peer rather than a consumer. Even with all the obstacles presented in marketing to millennials, their role in the creator economy is undeniable as they comprise the largest section of working creators.
How do brands market to Millennials?
Given a few of the challenges of Millennial marketing listed above, reaching out to this more skeptical audience may seem daunting. Conversely, there are many unique aspects of this generation that continue to entice marketers. One of the most prominent being 86% of Millennials are willing to post on social media for money. This presents a massive opportunity for engagement on your customer journey from both influencer and Millennial consumers. Their propensity to participate stands as one of the most alluring facets in marketing to their demographic. Here are a few topics Millennials align with and can be capitalized on in your strategy:
With everything Millennials have been through, I would be suspicious too. This skepticism is a double-edged sword for influencer marketers. On one side there’s the challenge of how to gain their trust. Alternatively, promoting authentic content through their feed of influencers they already trust can yield great results. Some Millennial influencers viewed as trustworthy are as follows:
- Josh Peck
- Chrissy Teigen
- The Kardashians
- Ashley Graham
In terms of their preferred platforms, Millennials are more diverse than other generations. Unlike the dominance of TikTok with Gen Z, there’s a decent mix of demographic segments within the Millennial generation that find their entertainment on a wider range of platforms. So, depending on what kind of Millennial you’re trying to reach, use the following platforms accordingly:
- Facebook – High rate of Millennial users
- Pinterest – Heavy usage by women and moms
- Twitter – Target audience of Millennials
- Instagram – High rate of users and creators
- YouTube – Older Millennials favorite platform
- TikTok – High time spent volume/more likely to purchase in-app
- Twitch – High male Millennial usage
Here’s an example of how Kraft was able to reach millennials and drive double-digit brand lift with Mavrck — hopefully, your team can learn from their success.
Gen X: 41-56 years old
Who are they?
Gen X is a generation often overlooked. Comprised of those born between 1965-1980, Gen X is a group that tends to attract less attention and focus from marketers in the social media space. Nevertheless, they remain a valuable channel for brands and represent an important demographic segment.
Independent and resilient, Gen X grew up in a changing world where dual-income households and civil discourse were more prevalent than any years prior. They were also among the first generations to start accumulating higher debts, despite higher wages, and as such were slower compared to previous age groups in achieving their targeted wealth. Gen X were not early adopters of social media, but through the course of their lives have acquired the necessary skills to succeed as tech-capable consumers.
There is the misconception that Gen X doesn’t use social media. This is resoundingly false. In fact, Gen X spends approximately seven hours on social platforms a week, making their demographic appealing to brands. This hybrid generation provides an interesting challenge for marketers, as their use of social media looks a bit different than the rest.
How do brands market to Gen X?
This adaptable and resourceful group requires a social strategy that is focused. Not being digitally native, Gen-X’s scope of social channels is more concentrated. This means the average marketer has fewer opportunities to “touch” this audience, but if the content on this smaller list of channels aligns with their passions, the likelihood of Gen X performance is high. Gen X enjoys interacting on social media regarding their interest, so as a marketer — interest them. Some of the topics that entertain and excite Gen X are as follows:
- Celebrities and pop culture
As you can infer from my previous statements, this group did not grow up with social media influencers. For brands, this can make finding the right influencer to reach Gen X a more difficult task. Those who influenced Gen X often came from TV or pop culture, and many remain popular in the news sphere today. Again, brands may find a challenge in partnering with these creators, but their content and voice can provide helpful insights in crafting your Gen X strategy:
- Venus and Serena Williams
- Chip and Joanna Gaines
- Hugh Jackman
- Ann Handley
A key aspect of this generation that entices marketers is while they hold a smaller portion of wealth than their predecessors, they still account for a good amount of coin in the American pocket. As such, Gen X is more willing to make more high-value purchases than others. Additionally, Gen X is more likely to stick with a brand they trust compared to Zoomers or Millenials. Legacy and older brands with less social presence have the opportunity to revamp their influencer strategy and find greater loyalty from a generation they’ve previously established trust with.
Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel as Gen X enjoys a mix of traditional and digital advertising. When engaging with Gen X it’s important to remember that they are fiercely independent and make purchases only after careful research online. The previous information is a large component contributing to the value of syndicating online consumer reviews on your products. You want to provide Gen X with enticing reviews to guide their research and customer journey.
You can find a Gen X audience on most social platforms, the issue is the quantity of their presence on each. If you want your content to reach this group, you should focus on the channels that are most prevalent with Gen X users, being Facebook and YouTube:
- Facebook – used by 76% of Gen X
- YouTube – used by 70% of Gen X
- Other networks and Gen X usage
Here’s an example of reaching Gen X with Mavrck in How Kroger Scaled its Influencer Marketing Program to Over 300 Campaigns in 1 Year.
Baby Boomers: 57-75 years old
Who are they?
Bringing up the rear in our demographic discussion is of course the oldest and least ethnically diverse generation, the Baby Boomers. With a lifetime full of experience, this group has been a part of the most turbulent events in American history. From the moon landing to the civil rights movements, Boomers have grown up during the spread of traditional media and watched its advancement. Later in their lives, this group had to adapt to new frontiers in technology like the internet, mobile phones, and social media.
While not as tech-savvy as their predecessors, digital marketers still want to engage with the oldest generation for good reason. Born into an era of relative wealth and high consumption, Baby Boomers represent a cohort with the most expendable wealth. In fact, Boomers on average are ten times richer than Millennials, giving rise to unique spending habits amidst their younger peers. Ultimately, they play an important role in the American economy and their expendable income appeals to many brands.
How do brands market to Baby Boomers?
Marketing to Baby Boomers presents an interesting challenge and opportunity for brands. They are the least represented generation on social media, so marketed content needs to stand out given their far fewer potential touchpoints. Having experienced ads for over 50 years, Boomers respond more to traditional advertising than the other demographics. If you’re trying to make your messaging impactful, try incorporating some of these themes into your content:
- Food and Beverage
Similar to Gen X, this generation grew up even farther away from the typical modern social media influencer. Consequently, this group tends to engage less with creator content. That being said, there are personalities that have held and continue to hold interest in the eyes of Boomers.
- Oprah Winfrey
- George Takei
- Beth Djalai
Even though 82.3% have a social media account, Baby Boomers are the most difficult generation to find on social channels. Across all social networks, they are represented the least. They are less likely to have more than one social media account and make in-app purchases, but if you can create an easy user experience for them, even tried and true traditional advertising can yield strong results. With 54% of Boomers enjoying video content, it’s no surprise the network with the most usership by Boomers is:
Demographic segmentation has been one of the most critical aspects of any marketing strategy for a long time. Brands know that the best way to achieve their goals is to understand the consumer that drives them. When crafting your social media strategy, the more information you have on who your customers are, what they are interested in, and where to find them will play a key role in the efficacy of your message and the performance of your content.
- Who is your target demographic?
- Why does this audience hold value?
- What topics or themes interest them?
- How does a brand engage with them?
- Where is your audience?