Millennials have been one of the most studied and marketed generations ever. However, it’s important that businesses don’t forgo efforts to market to other generations, particularly as Gen Z grows up and becomes more of a player in consumption. Developing a digital marketing strategy that speaks to each generation is an important way for businesses to grow long-term and gain customer loyalty. This article covers some generational digital marketing trends for 2022 as well as generational trends/insights that can be used or incorporated into your digital marketing strategy.
Each generation experiences the world a little differently. This tends to shape their opinions, attitudes, and needs. From a marketing perspective, understanding these differences can help you to more effectively connect with consumers. Perhaps most importantly, it ensures your efforts aren’t purely focused on a single generational demographic.
Digital marketing is one of the most versatile and accessible approaches businesses can use to reach wider audiences. However, the timing of the internet rise has meant many marketers have focused on using these tools to capture millennials. Yet, Gen Z, Gex X, and baby boomers also have unique relationships with digital media.
Incorporating various generational trends into your digital marketing can empower your business to meaningfully engage with a wider consumer range. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can effectively approach this.
There are a growing number of platforms consumers use to interact with the online world. This includes websites, social media accounts, and streaming services. Each of these offers significant potential to reach consumers and engage with them. Nevertheless, one of the most important things to understand is that each generation approaches these platforms differently.
As such, the first thing to understand is which platforms your target demographics tend to favor. A recent study of teenagers and young adults (Generation Z) showed they tend to prioritize YouTube and Instagram above all others. TikTok and Snapchat are also both popular with this generation and millennials. For both Gen Xers and boomers, Facebook is the preferred social media platform. Though Boomers will also head to YouTube and company websites first to get information.
This consideration should form part of the strategy for your digital campaigns. If your products or services are valuable for both Gen Z and Gen X, simply focusing your efforts on TikTok means you’re likely to be missing a vital part of your potential consumer base. This doesn’t mean you need to create different content for each platform. However, it’s important to bear in mind how simply you can adjust your content to the formats of various generations’ preferred channels for easier and more budget-friendly marketing.
Primary Content Types
Knowing each generation’s favored platforms is just the start. You need to know not just where each generation is heading for content, but also the types of content they value. The trends here are almost constantly changing, so it’s important to keep on top of what is current and coming down the pipeline.
There is a tendency to think of TikTok content as being limited to viral dances by Gen Zers. But as the platform has developed, it is attracting wider demographics with more varied content. Posts dedicated to literary subject matter (Booktok) and self-care accounts garner attention across all generations. This offers opportunities to reach different generations about relatively niche marketing subjects.
Livestreaming has also become an important content focus for select generations. This is particularly relevant to Gen Zers and Millennials. Live video content, which encompasses everything from gaming to crafts, offers immediate and impactful marketing potential. Indeed, a significant percentage of these generations are showing a preference for getting information from livestreams rather than blog posts. When building your campaigns, it’s worth considering sponsoring live content or running streams on your brand channels.
Methods of Engagement
Another important aspect of generational trends in digital marketing is how audiences choose to engage with content. This is one of the key ways in which digital marketing differs from more traditional methods. Your audience doesn’t have to be a passive recipient of messaging. This is a powerful tool for making meaningful long-term connections if you take the time to learn how each generation prefers to engage.
For Gen X and boomers, content engagement is very similar to traditional media. Their primary interactions come in the form of sharing the content they enjoy and utilizing the comments section on blogs and social media. As such, your marketing for these demographics should reflect this. Create highly shareable informational media with calls to action for comments.
Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, are far more active participants. These generations go beyond watching video content and are, instead, finding ever more creative ways to make their own videos. They recognize the digital media landscape as being a community space where their do-it-yourself (DIY) output can connect meaningfully with family, friends, and a global audience. It is, therefore, smart to incorporate this trend into your digital marketing campaigns. Make entertaining or informative videos that also encourage creative responses. Invite user-generated content from followers on your social media channels.
Relationships with Technology
With each generation, new forms of technology enter society. This constant progression affects the relationship each generation has with the current tools. This is an important element to incorporate into your marketing campaigns. If you’re considering marketing in the metaverse, you’re more likely to be engaging with Gen Z. They are the first generation of digital natives, having grown up alongside digital media. They have a more comfortable and experimental relationship with current tech.
While Millennials have grown up with technology, their relationship with the digital world is one that prioritizes online safety. Indeed, they can find the huge range of apps and platforms available overwhelming. This not only impacts their personal relationship with technology but also how they interact with it as parents. As such, your cross-generational marketing can be cutting-edge, but should also exhibit reliability and trustworthiness.
Studies show that Baby Boomers and Gen X are less likely to consider the internet to be a positive thing for society. This doesn’t mean they don’t engage with tech, but their relationship can be more distant. You’ll find this is particularly reflected by the tendency for these demographics to consume media via computers rather than their smartphones. Your campaigns should therefore incorporate methods and media that are appropriate for this. These generations enjoy using technology, but it isn’t as central a feature in their lives.
Each generation responds to and interacts with the digital landscape in different ways. Neither is completely adverse to embracing technology. However, they certainly have clear preferences in terms of platform use, content, and content. Take the time to understand these elements alongside the generational relationships with technology. You’ll find this helps you create more relevant, agile, and impactful campaigns.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer living in the Northwestern U.S. Her areas of expertise and topics she typically covers revolve around business productivity, marketing strategies, and web design. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter: @HamiltonJori