Time and place matters if content is to reach a desired age group. Baby boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials have distinct preferences for getting their daily internet, and content providers should take note.
If late nights are your favourite time of day to browse the internet, chances are you’re a millennial, as baby boomers like to get their content fixes earlier in the morning. Mobile phones are the device of choice for young people, while older folks like using tablets. These are among findings from a large study looking at how people of different ages engage with content, conducted by BuzzStream and Fractl.
Digital strategists and marketers are keen to understand how different audiences connect with content, so their approach can be tailored accordingly. There are a lot of commonalities between the generations in the study, the third one being Generation X, but there are also a number of interesting differences. Here are some sample findings:
Boomers prefer tablets
Everyone prefers a laptop for accessing the internet, but the difference appears when it comes to handheld devices. Over 25% of millennials go to their phones for accessing the internet, while boomers prefer a tablet. The reasons for this isn’t clear from the study, but this preference may be down to the devices themselves: mobiles are handy, but they’re small and may be harder to read on for people with poorer eyesight.
Lesson: there’s no excuse for producing content that’s not optimised for both mobiles and tablets.
Millennials prefer late nights
Over 30% of both Generation Xers and Millennials like to be online quite late at night, between 8pm and midnight. Boomers, however, are morning birds: 40% of them get their internet fix between 5am and noon. One reason for this could be the emerging habit for being on social media while also watching TV in the evenings, rather than just doing one or the other.
Lesson: content can be timed to coincide with the reading habits of the desired audience.
Everyone likes blog posts and entertainment news
All three generations cited blog posts as their favourite type of online content, followed by images, and thirdly, comments. Apparently, no one likes webinars, but the older generation is alone in disliking memes, while younger people have less time for quizzes. The differences between the age groups start to show up when it comes to content genres: while everyone likes entertainment news, millennials have a much stronger preference for technology and sports than the older groups. Gen Xers stand out for enjoying a read about healthy living and personal finance, while Boomers have a stronger penchant for politics and business.
Lesson: tailor content to appeal to the desired age group.
This study comes as the millennials generation (born between 1977 and 1995) is set to overtake the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) in numbers this year, according to Pew Research. While the millennials generation has been proven to be less different from their elders than is often reported, they are motivated by different things in the workplace, and they also respond to different things from marketers. For example, 62% of millennials say online content makes them feel more connected to a brand, found a study by NewsCred, and 31% say they are more likely to buy from a brand if it delivers interesting content that teaches them something.
Often, though, the solution for reaching younger people is to just ask them. Content co-creation has become popular for reaching a younger audience: “Millennials have become natural content marketers because digital and social media are not an add-on, they are integral to how they live their lives and how they identify with the world around them,” Geoff Gower, executive creative director at digital agency ais London, wrote on ‘TechRadar’. “As a result, they can develop content with ‘Reach’ and ‘Engagement’ brands and marketers can only envy.”
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