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Social Media’s Generational Divide

By now, it’s not surprising that our age affects how we use the internet. We all know that, when it comes to social media, Boomers prefer Facebook, Millennials opt for Instagram, and Gen Z can’t get enough of TikTok.

But what about the nitty-gritty details? How often do these groups access their preferred social media platforms? How trusting are they of advertisements? What are the best ways to catch their eye? And maybe most importantly, which of these groups actually purchases products they see advertised on social media?


Boomers have a more casual relationship to social media, which makes sense, given that the internet itself didn’t even show up until they were well into adulthood. Still, more than 80% of Boomers who use the internet also use some form of social media. But that doesn’t mean you’ll find Boomers on apps like Twitter—they stick with Facebook and LinkedIn.

When it comes to marketing, the great news is that Boomers are more likely than other generations to share content, but they’re less likely to follow through and make a purchase through an app. They prefer video content and tend to use social media as a source of interesting information.


Unlike Boomers, millennials love to mix and match when it comes to social media platforms, using multiple apps like Facebook and Instagram over the course of a day. They love phones, and they love social media. In fact, an impressive 86% of millennials use social media.

When it comes to advertising, millennials are receptive social media users, with 72% reporting buying fashion or beauty products when prompted by an Instagram post. Keep in mind that millennials tend to have shorter attention spans—the average millennial will spend about 12 seconds paying attention to a piece of content. They’re also heavily influenced by their values, and are more likely to purchase from companies that share them.

Gen Z

For the most part, Gen Z (or Zoomers) grew up with the internet and mobile devices. Social media is essentially their main source of entertainment, and they use it constantly—44% of Zoomers check their social media profiles at least once an hour. While Gen Z has been a huge fan of Instagram for a while now, the rise of TikTok has certainly caught their eye. By the end of 2021, it’s expected that TikTok will have more active Gen Z users than Instagram.

Marketing to Gen Z is all about being eye-catching and snappy. Unlike millennials, who give advertisers a little more leeway, Zoomers will spend on average only eight seconds engaging with a piece of content. More importantly, they’ve also embraced personalized advertising in the form of the influencer economy—more than 75% of Zoomers follow at least one influencer online.


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