How Different Generations Consume Online Content


We talk a lot about technology and hardware, so this week we’re turning our attention to content. Why not? After all, content is king. So how can businesses create content that not only appeals to their customers, but drives them to action? It begins with drawing insights from internet usage across generations.

Baby Boomers engage with health and news related content more than any other generation. Generation Xers mostly prefer lifestyle, finance, travel, business, and automotive while Millennials (people born between 1981-1997) engage most with entertainment, technology, and educational content.

Surprisingly, Baby Boomers spend the most time online: 20+ hours per week. The majority of Gen Xers and Millennials spend between 5 and 10 hours per week.

Desktops and laptops are the preferred content vehicles for all three generations. Mobile comes in a close third for Millennials and Gen Xers, followed by tablets. Baby boomers prefer tablets to mobile.

For videos, shorter is better, especially the older the target. Over 60 percent of Millennials and Gen Xers and 70 percent of Baby Boomers prefer them to be 5 minutes or less.

Facebook leads the way for content sharing in every generation. Google+ comes in second for Baby Boomers while Generation X prefers Twitter. Millennials prefer Instagram and Snapchat while Baby Boomers are rarely on these platforms.

In the realm of commercial displays, knowing the customer will determine what kind of content should be created. For example, content that drives to deeper engagement, like downloading an app or scanning a QR code on a smartphone will be better received by digital natives like Millennials and the more tech-savvy Gen Xers. A more appropriate call to action for Baby Boomers could be something like a simple push to a website.

While the Internet can be considered the great uniter, there are some key differences in the way different generations use technology and how they spend their online time. These differences can shed light and inform content creation that appeals to specific demographics and is uniquely actionable to different  generations.