- While Baby Boomers hold most of the wealth, Gen Z holds the influence
- All generations want an authentic, easy user experience that meets their needs
- Gen Z is the most likely generation to abandon a brand that does not align with their values
- Download our full Influencer Marketing Guide by Demographic, here
How can being informed about your relevant audience demographics help guide your influencer marketing strategy? While considering your target audience, age is one of the most important aspects because of the way differently-aged consumers interact with the Internet, social media, influencers, and so much more. Before we can get into the details on how to utilize each type of audience, first we need to define each.
Let’s consider the age of your audience. While there are roughly six generations — Generation Alpha, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation — that could be active on social media, the middle four are making most of the purchasing decisions. We know that brands want to reach as many potential buyers as possible, but realistically, focusing on one particular demographic as a target audience is the most realistic — and the most strategic.
So who are these consumers and what should we know about them? Let’s dive in.
Baby Boomers, also known as the original “me” generation, currently account for 71 million people in the U.S. and have the most expendable income. They grew up during the spread of traditional media and have adapted to new innovations like the Internet, mobile phones, and social media — and have embraced the newness more than you think. In 2022, the youngest Baby Boomers will be 58 and the oldest will be 76.
Boomers get their name from the post-World War II baby boom and were born into an era of relative wealth and economic security. People could make a living wage while still being able to afford a home, an education, and more. Even today, Baby Boomers have the most disposable income — with those aged 70 and above holding 27% of all U.S. wealth — and spend the most on technology.
Today, 82% of Baby Boomers have at least one social media account. While Facebook is probably your Boomer relative’s go-to platform (just like 68% of Boomers in the U.S.), YouTube is actually the top social media platform used by Baby Boomers, with 70% of this demographic owning a YouTube account. You may not find them flocking to Instagram, Twitch, or TikTok, but don’t count them out — low utilization doesn’t cancel out curiosity. So, keep them in mind and know that they typically respond best to video content and word-of-mouth recommendations from someone they trust.
In addition, for Baby Boomers, a simple user experience is key. They are less likely to make in-app purchases, but more likely to respond to a clear, easy-to-use call to action (CTA) on a website. The workflow to purchase a product should be concise, functional, and upfront.
Key Takeaways About Baby Boomers:
- Communicate in a clear and concise way
- Make your shopping and interacting experience easy
- Build interest with video content
- Prioritize a quality deliverable with strong customer support
- Utilize relatable testimonials to promote brand loyalty
- If you’re hoping to reach a Baby Boomer via influencer marketing, focus on content that promotes the creator’s expertise
Independent, resilient Gen X grew up in a changing world where there were more dual-income
households and civil discourse compared to previous years. Currently 42-57 years old, they are the smallest generation (when it comes to the U.S. population size) of those in this blog and were the first to start accumulating large debts despite higher wages. Gen X also encountered the first waves of technology through the rise of personal computers. While not early adopters of social media, they’ve successfully taken the learning curve with stride to become tech-savvy consumers.
Gen Xers were in the unique position of reaching adolescence without modern technology at their fingertips, but learned it quickly in order to compete in a world where elementary school students were using Word Processors and the Internet in stride (hey, Millennials!).
Similar to Baby Boomers, Gen X is most active on YouTube and Facebook. However, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are also heavily utilized. You’ll probably find some savvier Gen Xers on TikTok, but the majority aren’t using it religiously like younger generations.
When it comes to purchasing decisions, Gen Xers are often research-driven and methodical. Because they hold less wealth than Baby Boomers, their dollars are thoughtfully allocated. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a viable target audience. Gen Xers rely on ratings and reviews, as well as gravitate towards brands they already trust. They may take the longest to make a purchase, but if it’s a product or service they are passionate about, they’re also the ones who will be singing its praises the loudest.
Key Takeaways About Gen X:
- Budget-conscious and want to see reviews from real consumers
- Spend a significant amount of time online and on social media
- More likely to prefer a website shopping experience (and shop on a
- smartphone) than an in-app one — for now
- Nostalgic content goes a long way for Gen X consumers
- When it comes to influencer marketing, focus on content that shows the product or service’s viability and why it’s the right choice
Millennials (sometimes called “Gen Y”) reached adolescence and/or adulthood during the 2000s. They were early adopters of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Elder and midrange Millennials taught themselves code during the MySpace era, IMed their friends over AOL in high school, saw firsthand the transition from Tracfone to Razr to iPhone. They’re well acquainted with the changing tides of social media and are now highly adaptable, tech-savvy adults.
Accounting for 72 million people in the U.S., Millennials will be 26-41 years old in 2022. Like other generations, Millennials have been through a lot — like witnessing 9/11 coverage as impressionable children, economic collapses, political discourse and policy changes (especially on social media), a pandemic, wars, violence, and rapid technological advancements starting way back during Web 1.0. Millennials are also uniquely situated in an era where many grew up learning technology’s nuances and were coming of age when influencers started rising in popularity within the social media world.
When it comes to influencer marketing and online purchasing, Millennials are more likely to look for authenticity from the brands they buy from. They’d rather interact with brands and creators that see them as a peer rather than a piggy bank. They’re also more likely to take opportunities to earn cash by creating sponsored content on social media.
Key Takeaways About Millennials:
- Always go for authenticity! With Millennials dominating the creator cohort, you’ll have opportunities to work directly with them for ideation
- Diversify your strategy to account for an array of social networks to get the best reach
- Humanize your strategy so your content goals are evergreen
- When it comes to influencer marketing and targeting Millennials, hone in on personalities that are relatable, peer-like, and entertaining
The youngest of the active consumers will be between 10-26 years old this year and are on track to be the most educated and most ethnically diverse generation in the United States. Gen Zers had their early years substantially impacted by the 2000s technological boom, which put technology like social media, smartphones, virtual reality, and more into their hands from an early age (making them digital natives). They were also among the most strongly affected by COVID-19, as long gaps of quarantine have upended their schooling and social development. They are the most equipped, however, to live in a digitally-driven world and have a natural aptitude for complex concepts that live in this realm.
65% of Gen Zers have increased their social media usage over the last year; in fact, 97% say that they also use social media for shopping inspiration. are on social media. They are native users of the newest social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch, but also have plenty of experience navigating the more traditional channels of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. They are intimately familiar with content creation as a viable career path, even as a lucrative side hustle. To Gen Z, the idea of being a “celebrity” isn’t just about being an actor, political figure, TV personality, journalist, artist, or comedian. Gen Z knows the potential — and the realities — of putting oneself in the spotlight and organically rising to the ranks of Internet stardom.
As the easiest to reach generation on social media and arguably the savviest, they are veritably a key target market for many brands. Gen Z consumers are vocal about their interests and the causes they care about. In a saturated world filled with many options, they do not have qualms about rejecting a brand in favor of another that better suits their values.
Key Takeaways About Gen Z:
- Drive shoppable features with witty content and forward-thinking creators
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with innovative creative briefs
- Go where Gen Zers are and watch the industry closely to anticipate the newest trends
Where Do We Go From Here?
Now that we understand which generation is which, let’s ask the big question: what does that have to do with influencer marketing?
Because influencer marketing primarily takes place on certain social media platforms, it’s most likely to reach those of a younger demographic. That’s not to say, however, that an older generation wouldn’t resonate with creator content. What it does suggest is that a similarly-aged peer would be the most likely type of portrayed consumer to appeal to an older audience. There would also have to be considerable thoughtfulness given to the platform you’re activating on as a brand, as well as important details — like time of day, subject matter, and the content itself.
What it all comes down to is the concept of social proof, which is “where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” Social proof is relevant when targeting any consumer, no matter their age. What consumers want, above all, is to feel confident in a purchase and to have that value proven to them before they go through the many motions to buy something.
Until Next Time
We hope this helps make your strategic moves concerning age demographics a more seamless process when developing your influencer marketing strategy. For more information on this topic, check out these resources: