Generational Marketing for Social Media

What is Generational Marketing?

Generational marketing is the process of marketing to specific age groups such as Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, and Centennials. It involves several steps. First, you must analyze your target audience. Instagram Insights analytic software is a terrific (and free) tool you can use to do just that.

Once you’ve analyzed your audience, you’re able to see what age groups are responding to your product the most. Knowing the age group of your target audience allows you to optimize your content to their specific needs.

But in order to do that, you have to know,

  1. what ages fall into what generation
  2. what these generations value in the first place

In this article, I discuss applicable strategies to use for marketing campaigns plus the likes and dislikes associated with each generation.

RELATED: In-depth guide to Instagram Insights for business profiles

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are the least active on social media at a whopping 65%. Still a good chunk. But if this is your target demographic, you might want to consider incorporating traditional marketing into the mix as well.

Email and Facebook are the two most popular forms of digital communication for baby boomers. This group is most active online between the hours of 5 am and noon.

As they enter retirement, baby boomers hold the highest value of all consumers. They’ve worked hard all their lives and are finally ready to treat themselves.


  • Prefers talking on the phone
  • Favors human interaction
  • Desktop computers
  • Traditional advertisements


  • Automated services
  • Chatbots
  • Long blog posts (over 300 words)
  • Mobile devices

Generation X

Often called “the forgotten middle child“, Generation X makes up the smallest age group. This group tends to be more skeptical of traditional marketing strategies than their baby boomin’ elders. However, they’re likely to stay loyal to brands they like more than other generations.

Over 80% of Generation X are on social media. They were around to see television take over the radio. Then they saw the internet take over pretty much everything. They walk the line of traditional communication while accepting new technology.

Facebook, Twitter, Email, and Blogs are their most favored forms of digital communication. They’re typically most active online in the evening, between 8 PM and midnight.

Generation X still enjoys snail mail. 86% check their mailbox daily. 68% use coupons sent via mail.


  • Desktops and laptops
  • Coupons, coupons, and more coupons
  • Emails
  • Brands that benefit society and/or the environment
  • Articles on entertainment and lifestyle


  • Not having money for retirement
  • Mobile devices
  • Gimmicky sales tactics
  • Spam and scams


Generation Y: the Millenials

Generation Y is easily the most talked-about generation of this time. And they’ve officially overtaken the workforce as the baby boomers enter retirement.

This generation values social issues over economics, meaning the majority of Millennials would take a lower-paying job if it offered them more flexibility or a better work environment. They’re less concerned with successful careers and more concerned with happiness and overall wellbeing.

Millennials are most affected by user-generated content than any other generation. The opinions of their friends and families truly matter to them. They were the first generation to regularly use apps like Yelp and Tripadvisor to make purchase decisions.

They love a good deal and are good at seeking them out. According to Yahoo, 63% of millennials would be more likely to “check-in” to a business on social channels if it means they’ll receive a coupon or discount.

Some of their preferred digital platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. They’re most active on these sites during the evening. Also, they’re big fans of audio platforms like Spotify for streaming music and listening to podcasts.


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Online shopping
  • Buying in bulk
  • Sarcasm
  • Creative and innovative businesses
  • Incentives to endorse brands on social media
  • Rewards and loyalty programs
  • Streaming services
  • Podcasts


  • Shopping in actual stores
  • Long, wordy content
  • Inability to look at content on their phone
  • Buying items at full price
  • Bad customer service

Generation Z: the Centennials

If you had to describe Centennials in one word, it would be diversity. Generation Z is home to the most diverse group out of all generations so far. Centennials are also the most attached to their phone, averaging 15.4 hours of smartphone screen time per week.

Even though this generation is relatively young, their influence reaches older generations. This is who Baby Boomers, Generation Y, and Millennials are buying gifts for. So their preferences should be taken into consideration.


  • Mobile-friendly content
  • Strong imagery
  • Video content
  • Memes and quizzes
  • Community mentality


  • Wordy content with little visuals
  • Prejudice
  • Inequality
  • Lack of branding

Predictions for Generation “Alpha”

Considering this new generational wave is still in toddlerhood, it’s a bit early to know what marketing strategies work best for them. That being said, current trends offer a couple of predictions.

With the “alpha” generation comes continuous increase in diversity. Not just racially, but diversity in family living situations and household income. More children are being raised in single-parent or blended households. As the wage gap increases, so does economic inequality.

The “screenager” era will continue to grow. And so will digital literacy as attention spans shrink. Society will become increasingly urbanized as cities grow.

RELATED: Digital Trends to Look out for in 2020

The Future of Marketing

In the age of the digital era, younger consumers increasingly value creativity and technology in marketing.

Businesses are trading out traditional advertisements for user-generated content (UGC). UGC is created through social media influencers and online reviews. It’s quickly becoming the most cost-effective marketing strategy with proven results.

If you’re interested in boosting buzz about your business, learn more about how Localfluence can help.