Social media and the digital marketplace is an ever-growing industry, with the vast majority of the population now online and willing to make purchases there. It’s not as easy as just publishing an ad campaign and expecting it to bring in the masses though. Everyone knows targeting is important, but have you looked in detail at what each of the generations is really searching for online?

Our guide to targeting the different generations online, from those born in the early 1940s all the way up to Generation Z, will help you understand how best to reach all the potential customers your business is looking for.

Baby Boomers

This is the generation born between the mid-1940s and early 1960s. While they grew up without technology and it’s only entered their lives in their older years, they make the effort to be online. 82% of baby boomers have multiple social media profiles with Facebook being the most popular.

What’s really important to baby boomers is brand loyalty – the really appealing brands to them are ones who have won their business and kept it over the years. They hold strong values of “if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, which means it can be difficult to get them to let go of a brand they’ve used consistently over time – we all know the grandma who’s stockpiled cases of her favourite wine!

Instead look at upselling to them. If you can prove an updated version of their favourite product or service will be more beneficial to them over a long period of time, you’ll win their favour.

Baby boomers are also the last generation to be equally as willing to make a journey to shop in store as well as online; they see the greater advantages of a product, service or business if it’s tangible. This means advertising online for physical locations can also be a potential bonus for this generation.

Generation X

Born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, Generation X is generally cynical around advertising as they’ve seen so much of it. They came of age during a boom in advertising and marketing, so they’re wary of the tricks and ploys of generic ad campaigns. Instead, you can appeal to this generation by highlighting the real benefits of a product or service as opposed to using marketing tricks.

Generation Xers mostly use email for communication over instant messaging, but they can be wary of giving out their details to just anyone. If you’re able to gain the trust of them, make the most of this precious information, don’t give them any reason to distrust your company or get annoyed by too many generic mailshots, as they’ll unsubscribe and not look back. Instead, send them useful and meaningful content that can help improve their lives. Gaining their loyalty will result in conversions.

This generation is the most likely to share useful and interesting content with their friends and family on social media and directly. You can make the most of this and benefit best from these shares by having a clear call to action.

They are also a generation of savers. Having grown up during occasionally uncertain times and being used to frequent ad campaigns offering sales, they prefer to know that they’re getting a good deal. Offer them coupons, discount codes and sales to win their business.

Millennials

Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 to 1999, coming of age during the technology boom of the early 2000s. These are the ones with the most potential purchase power online – all have now left school and most are out of education, meaning that they are heading into or already rising in the workplace, but they’ve been burnt by the struggles of beginning a career during a time of financial hardship. As such, they can be sceptical about who they make purchases from, but they do have the potential to become loyal customers.

This generation is heavily influenced by real reviews from influencers who are their generational peers and are relatable. They’ll find their content watching videos and reading lifestyle blogs. You’re most likely to find them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, but it’s important to them that brands are transparent and authentic.

Millennials like to support companies who have reputable values such as supporting causes or using ethical business practices – their consumption can only be described as conscious. On top of this, they are a vocal generation who are discovering their voices and willing to use them, whether that’s for good or bad.

Generation Z

Born in or after 2000, Generation Z has never not known technology in their lives. They have many of the same values as Millennials but they also like to be empowered and motivated by the content they consume. The oldest members of this generation are just leaving school and beginning to make purchase decisions.

In general, Gen Z is more likely to value quality over loyalty to a specific company or brand so you need to win them over by proving that both your product or service and brand are ones worth supporting.

This generation is known as having a short attention span – they’re used to instant access to information, so your company’s values need to be instantly accessible to them, in a visual, usually video, and very transparent. You need to have an active and relatable presence on social media to appeal to them – you’ll find Generation Z mostly on Snapchat and YouTube, but never on Facebook so don’t bother trying to target them here.

Once you’ve caught their attention, if something doesn’t work immediately, such as a page not loading or an app not working, they’ll leave, so make sure everything on your site is up to date, that products are fully stocked, and you don’t have any glitches.

 

Do you feel you fit your generation’s stereotypes? Let us know in the comments below and remember to keep up-to-date with all the latest digital marketing news by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

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