As a marketing agency, we’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the digital landscape over the years. One of the most prominent has been how the internet has become increasingly essential for people of all ages, genders and nationalities across the world. It’s accessible to everyone – from teenage digital natives to pensioners.
The only problem is, each generation has different experiences and expectations of what they want to see online. Many savvy marketers have realised that success lies in crossing this generational gap and offering content which reflects shared interests. So how can you possibly design your website and create content which appeals to multiple generations? Read on to find out!
Global demographics are shifting. Millennials are expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation this year, according to Pew Research.
A recent survey by Buzzstream and Fractl uncovered some really interesting distinctions in how various generations (Millennials – born between 1981 – 1997, Generation X – born between 1965 – 1980, and Baby Boomers – born between 1946 – 1964) consume online content. You can download the full guide here, which is really useful. Here’s a quick rundown of the most notable points.
1. Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers are the group which consume the most online content. Over 25% of Baby Boomers consume 20 or more hours of content a week, and are much likely to browse in the morning than the other groups. They also use a laptop most often to use the internet.
Millennials, despite being “digital natives”, actually consume much less online content – between 5 and 10 hours per week. They’re more likely to be online at night and use their mobile most often to surf the web.
Like Millennials, Generation X consume between 5-10 hours per week of online content. Generation X are also the least likely to use a tablet or mobile.
If you have a specific target audience in mind when creating your content, it may be useful to keep these factors in mind when thinking about the kind of content you produce, when you publish it and also as you consider optimising it for mobile.
The study also found a number of common themes across the generational groups. Mainly, this is in regards to the type of content we like to view and its length.
Blogposts, images, comments and e-books are the most popular content types across all generations, although the order does vary. Whitepapers, webinars and slide-shares feature commonly as our least favourite types of online content to consume.
All groups also pinpointed the ideal content length as 300 words. Baby Boomers prefer even shorter content, while Generation X’ers veer toward longer form.
There were also some striking similarities when it came to the social networks which the generational groups prefer and use most often.
Facebook came out strongly as the most commonly used platform for content sharing across the three groups. YouTube came in second, followed by Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.
As you can see, while there are a number of distinctions defining each generation when it comes to online content, there are some common themes uniting them together. It’s important to keep content concise, and make it easily shareable. The popularity of video is also growing as evidenced by YouTube’s climbing status in the most popular social networks, which is important to note for your future content strategy.
However, it’s impossible to create every piece of content with the aim of appealing to everyone. Follow these rough guidelines, but a much more worthwhile practice is to use these findings to target your content to a specific audience.
Do you create content to appeal to all generations, or do you target it to your specific audience? Let us know in the comments below!