Marketers are likely to have headaches trying to focus their marketing campaign on certain generation group of consumers. When it comes to user-generated content (UGC) it is difficult to organize a marketing campaign and design a good product placement and content marketing, due to the significant generation gap and preferences of each focus group.
Although there are similarities in preferences, when it comes to the most active generation based focus groups today, such as Baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials, still every generation has to have a specific UGC in order to endorse certain products. Let’s have a look at how different generations consume their user-generated content and how to make the best of it.
For the most of the Baby boomers, technology and especially the Internet are still uncharted waters. The old-fashioned generations prefer family and children- thus the name Baby boomers – career and retirement. Some Baby boomers however like to get “trendy” every now and then, and it’s as awkward as it will ever be for their Millennial children. Baby boomers prefer Facebook as their top social network, mostly because Facebook was the introduction to the world of Internet for the most of them.
As the gateway to the technological expansion, Facebook provided the means for Baby boomers to reconnect with relatives and family members even they didn’t know they had. Furthermore, it was the beginning of viewing content for Baby boomers and the creation of their user-generated content. When it comes to UGC, Boomers prefer to focus on the product service, and like Millennials – they are more likely to trust a UGC rather than content created by the brands.
Boomers are the leading generation in time spent on consuming content – more than 25 percent of Boomers spend over 20 hours a week consuming content. Content that generates the most interest for boomers is blog posts, pictures, videos and reviews, while least interest is in webinars, memes and white papers. Millennials are famous for their goldfish-level short attention span, but even Boomers prefer shorter content. More than a half of Boomers prefer content with 300 words or less. Also, Boomers mostly don’t use hashtags and prefer pictures posted by the other users, as they believe it is more honest than branded content.
Generation X is an often ignored group, also known as the “MTV generation” or simply the unsatisfied slackers. Marketers seem to give them no justice, as it turns out that Gen Xers are quite the big spenders – 23 percent of online shoppers are Gen Xers, even though they make up only 18 percent of the US population. Xers are the smallest demographic group, sandwiched between Boomers and Millennials, thus the reason they are often neglected. Gen Xs prefer Facebook while almost completely ignoring Instagram and are less concerned about other social networks, although there are Twitter and Pinterest users.
Gen X prefers UGC in the form of blog posts, pictures, comments and case studies while they have least interest in quizzes, webinars and white papers. They also spend between 5 and 10 hours per week consuming content, while 20 percent of Xers consume more than 20 hours. Even though Gen X also prefers shorter content around 300 words, 20 percent of them prefer content with over 500 words.
The children of Baby boomers or Generation Y are the largest demographic group, making them the most interesting to marketers. The generation that grew up surrounded by technology is quite adept at using it as well as navigating social media and networks. Just don’t ask them to explain to their mothers how to find a relative on Facebook or upload a picture. They use social media more than any other group and are perfectly suited for marketers to focus social media campaigns on. Millennials prefer Facebook and Instagram but are also fond of other social networks as well. If nothing else, they will stop by on Twitter to see what’s new and what’s trending.
Much like their parents, Millennials are more likely to trust user-generated content rather that of a brand. They like to see real people featured in images with emphasis on the celebrities. Millennials often use hashtags as they would like their friends to see what brands they are following – this is no surprise as Millennials mark as highest social network friend rate, with an average of 250 friends.
When it comes to UGC, Millennials prefer blog posts like Millennial Money, comments, pictures, videos and eBooks. The least interesting content for Millennials is white papers, webinars and quizzes. As for the time spent on consuming content, they are tied with Gen X with 5 to 10 hours per week with at least of 5 hours per week minimum. It is believed that Millennials have the shortest attention span due to their “addiction” to smartphones – whether that’s true or not, Millennials prefer short content with 300 words or less.
For a marketer, coming up with a good marketing strategy for the generation focus groups can be a nightmare. However, each generation has their place of interest and preferences when it comes to user-generated content and its consumption. Marketers shouldn’t ignore Gen X and Baby Boomers just because Millennials are the largest portion of the consumer market.