Home DIGITAL MARKETING Social Media Platforms: User Behavior In A Generational Comparison

Social Media Platforms: User Behavior In A Generational Comparison

Social networks are an essential communication channel in private and business contexts, especially for customer communication with companies. As part of a study, the Capterra portal surveyed 1,004 active social media users to examine their preferences and habits. The study was primarily devoted to social media platforms companies can use for social selling and commerce.

Social media is the hub of communication today. They enable us to stay in touch with others quickly and easily. Not only are private individuals active in social networks, companies have long recognized the potential social networks offer. The platforms for online trading are exciting.

A study conducted by Capterra examined the behavior of online consumers in social networks in a two-part survey. The first part of the study consisted of data collection on social media use by age. The second part dealt with the shopping behavior of users. One thousand four people aged between 18 and 75 who make online purchases via social media were surveyed.

Define Social Media

Social media or social media describes websites and apps through which users can create, share and network content. The focal component of online entertainment is intelligence.

Grouping By Age

The review members were isolated into four gatherings:

  • Baby boomers
  • Generation Y
  • Generation X
  • Generation Z

The baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 comprise a third of the participants. A total of 29 per cent of the study participants are in Generation X, who were born between 1965 and 1977. Twenty-seven per cent of the participants were Generation Y (1978-1995). The last age group is Generation Z, whose classification starts from the birth year of 1996 or later. Ten per cent of the participants could be assigned to this group.

Social Media Usage Behavior: This Is How It Looks Within The Age Groups

Being available quickly and ideally via all channels is how modern contact maintenance works. Maintaining social relationships is a central need, especially at a younger age. It is, therefore, not surprising that Gen-Z uses social media the most to maintain contact. Regarding the frequency of social media use, the picture is clear among Gen-Z: 36 percent of them visit social media platforms more than ten times a day. But not only young people cavort on social media platforms. The study shows that social networks are represented in all age groups. Although baby boomers do not use the networks as intensively as the younger generation, 40% of this group stated that they use social networks one to three times a day.

Also Read: Social Branding: What It Is And What Are The Mistakes To Avoid

The Most Popular Social Media Platform: WhatsApp, Emerges As The Winner

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Co.: There are many social media – and new ones are constantly being added. Nevertheless, it is often the same platform in the upper ranks. In the study, it is primarily the social network WhatsApp that emerges as the winner across generations. WhatsApp is the favorite for 94 per cent of Gen-Z. In Generation Y, 87 percent and 83 per cent of Generation X prefer WhatsApp. WhatsApp is also surprisingly common among baby boomers, at 80 per cent.

In comparing generations, the social network Facebook is in second place. Third place was taken in the Instagram study. However, there are apparent differences in the generations between Facebook and Instagram. While Facebook is among the Gen-X and Gen-Y baby boomers, it is missing from the top 3 of Gen-Z. Her Instagram is in second place, the most-used social media platform.

Also surprising: TikTok’s relatively young social network has made it into the top 3 of Gen-Z. TikTok was the sixth most popular social network worldwide last year. So, TikTok is gaining more and more popularity. Is TikTok worth it for your marketing? We have written an exciting article about TikTok Marketing. Although new social networks keep appearing on the market, the dominance of the Meta group is recognizable. Social networks like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all part of the meta family. This shows the power of the group even more.

New Incentives For Marketers: Development Of Sales Strategies Via Social Networks

Social media is an integral part of our everyday life. We use a wide variety of platforms to network. Many companies have already taken advantage of the social media boom in the past and developed new sales practices. Fueled by social networks, two strategies have emerged: social selling and social commerce. But what do these results mean for companies that want to acquire customers via social media platforms?

The usage behavior of the different generations provides marketers with valuable information that they can use to develop marketing messages and sales strategies. Through input via social media channels, companies can create personalized offers tailored to the users’ needs. Social media platforms are a driving force for marketing companies. They help to identify new trends and to adapt proven strategies to new formats or to rethink them completely. Practices such as social selling and social commerce show. Are you already using social media for your marketing? In another article, you will find out how to increase your reach via social media channels.

Users Prefer To Follow Their Brands Via These Networks

Users follow their brands via social networks. But not all companies are equally popular. In a direct comparison, Facebook is losing popularity. There are also apparent differences between young and old regarding the Pinterest platform. While only eight per cent of baby boomers use Pinterest to follow brands, the proportion of Gen-Z is 15 per cent. With its platform, Pinterest focuses on creating boards. They should serve as an inspiration and be categorized according to interests.

A clear jump can be seen on Instagram. Thirty-seven per cent of Gen-Z use Instagram to follow brands. This makes Instagram the most popular network in this age group. Instagram is primarily designed for visual content. This is very popular with the younger target group. Marketers can use this knowledge and share their company’s compelling image and video content on the platform. There is a second favorite in Gen-Z. Twitter is right behind Instagram, with a total of 26 per cent.

Differences between the generations can also be seen in the social network TikTok. TikTok is gaining popularity among Gen-Y and Gen-Z. The social network even ranks third in Gen-Z regarding which networks are used to follow brands. Slightly unexpected: Only a fraction of baby boomers and Gen-X use TikTok. Via TikTok, users can share short video content with music. DIYs or sports clips, for example, are particularly popular. For marketers to gain a foothold on TikTok, they need original content. Because users decide in seconds whether a video appeals to them, you’ll quickly get lost in the flood of videos if you don’t deliver to the point.

That’s Why Users Follow Their Brands

But what motivates users to follow brands on social networks? The most common motivations given by users in the study are as follows:

  • Special Offers/Discounts
  • Creative and interesting content
  • Tips on product use or industry (e.g. recipe recommendations from kitchen supply suppliers)
  • Exclusive product news and first glimpses of new products ahead of the release

Product Recommendations: Age Groups Prefer Different Sources

Users mainly buy based on recommendations. But how do the recommendations reach the users? For example, companies can provide direct information about offers. Recommendations about influencers are also common. Outside of social media, product recommendations reach people primarily through their circle of friends and family. Other sources are magazines or forums. The study shows that Gen-Z prefers to get their referrals directly from the company. The baby boomers, Gen-X and Gen-Y, are different: they prefer their circle of friends and family regarding recommendations.

Content Types On Social Media: It’s All In The Mix

Content on social media comes in many different forms. Depending on the platform, the preparation of the content decides on success or failure. According to the study, content on social media can be divided into three main categories: static content, ephemeral content and live streaming. Static content, as the name suggests, is permanent content. This includes, for example, posts, photos or videos. Short-lived content is content that is only available to its users for a certain period.

This is the case, for example, with Instagram Stories. The last category is live streaming, which refers to live broadcasts and temporary content on the platforms. When it comes to preferred content types, there is a clear trend towards static content. All four generations prefer to watch this content. However, there is a trend towards ephemeral content in Gen-Z. Forty-two per cent of users in this age group prefer the type of content. So marketers should offer a healthy mix of static and transient content types. This is how they reach most age groups.

Conclusion – User Behavior In Generational Change

The study reveals significant differences in user behavior. A direct age comparison reveals great contrasts, particularly in the popularity of the individual platforms and the intensity of use. The social network Facebook, always prominent among older generations, is losing massively in importance among Gen-Z. Newer platforms like TikTok are becoming more established in this age group. It is not yet clear whether this type of network will also be found among the older generations. However, one thing is sure: social media is becoming increasingly present in everyday life – regardless of age.

Also Read: Complete Guide To Social Networks & Social Media Marketing

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