One of the most powerful tools that unite the world is social media. Out of 8 billion people, over 56% of the world’s population uses social media and that percentage keeps increasing.
Many platforms are being used and currently the most popular are Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp, Instagram and Tik Tok. Having a lot of choices, different people use what they prefer based on their interests, lifestyles, peers, needs and age. Age is what we are going to focus on today.
It is interesting to follow the evolution of social networks and the development of preferences of different groups. Networks have only recently emerged so most generations have grown up without an online existence.
The older generations were introduced to the online world starting with Facebook. The younger ones, or simply those more interested in technology, have adapted to more networks.
The most interesting groups are the two youngest who were born when social networks already existed.
The information you are about to see is very important when it comes to choosing the right platform for targeting a group.
Baby boomers and older (1964 and earlier) – FACEBOOK, WHATSAPP, YOUTUBE
This is the oldest generation on social media who had to adapt to the new technology quite late in life. Taking that fact into consideration, most of them started with Facebook and limited themselves to Facebook only.
Some Baby Boom members also use Youtube and Whatsapp. They use social media mostly to stay in touch with friends and family or to relax looking for amusing content in their free time.
Speaking of brand discovery, according to Meltwater, the generation older than 55 discover the most from:
- TV ads 37.4%
- Search engines 35.2%
- Word of mouth 33.3%
- In-store promos 24.2%
- Online retail websites 23.4%
- Brand websites 23.2%
- Consumer review websites 21.9%
- TV shows and films 21.8%
- Ads on social media 20.5%
- Ads on websites 20.4%
Gen X (1965-1980) – FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN
This is another generation that was born without an internet connection and had to discover the impact of social media later in life.
When social media appeared, part of this generation was in their 20s which is young enough to adapt to the new technological lifestyle and discover more social media. They use it for staying in touch with people, researching, sharing opinions or looking for amusing content.
Brand discovery statistics are a bit different:
- Search engines 34.3%
- TV ads 33.5%
- Word of mouth 30.4%
- Ads on social media 24.7%
- Brand websites 24.2%
- Online retail websites 23.7%
- In-store promos 23.1%
- Ads on websites 22.6%
- TV shows and films 22.4%
- TV shows and films 21.8%
Millennials (1981-1995) – FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, TWITTER
This group discovered social media while in school or college. As all kids and youngsters are very curious, they got involved in social media fast and easily and they are technologically more advanced than the previous generations.
This generation created something that the previous didn’t – identity formation. This is one of the main reasons for social media presence. Also, the main communication channel is social media for this group. They use social media to influence and to be influenced, to find information about practically everything and to look for and share content or simply kill time.
Millennials expect brands with lifestyle, and this is how they discover it:
- Search engines 29.5%
- TV ads 28.4%
- Ads on social media 28.1%
- Word of mouth 25.9%
- Brand websites 25.6%
- TV shows and films 24%
- Social media comments 23.9%
- Ads on websites 23.4%
- Online retail websites 22.8%
- Ads in mobile apps 22.7%
Gen Z (1996-2012) – INSTAGRAM, TIK TOK, SNAPCHAT, YOUTUBE
In this generation, we have people who were born with social media already implemented in everyday life. This generation puts trust in social media more than any other. They prefer getting information from social media more than other sources.
Social media plays an extremely important role in their lives as they are extremely online present. This is also the first generation that uses Facebook less than other generations and prefers other platforms.
Taking all of this into consideration, how do they discover brands?
- Ads on social media 28.4%
- TV ads 26.5%
- Search engines 26.4%
- Word of mouth 24.4%
- Brand websites 23.4%
- TV shows and films 23.4%
- Ads on websites 23.1%
- Social media comments 22.9%
- Ads in mobile apps 22.8%
- Online retail websites 21%
Gen Alpha (2013-2025)
Concerning the fact this generation is still minor, we will not conduct statistical research. Even though they do spend time on social media, it is important to point out that the age from which you are allowed to use social media is 13.