Boomers Know Social; Just Look At My Father-in-Law

April 19, 2018

Jackson Fitzgibbon

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Millennials are the first digital natives. Baby Boomers are a couple generations back, but don’t let that fool you. Boomers love digital, spending 37.2 hours online weekly and enjoying all that Facebook has to offer.

Yes, Boomers Use Social.

No one else wants to say it, but I’ll admit it: I open Facebook at work. To send my wife an article, to respond to a notification, or just out of habit, I open the site multiple times throughout the day. Most of the time, I use my phone, but anytime I pull the social platform up on my desktop, I see my father-in-law’s chat bubble glowing green in the right-hand rail.

He’s a Boomer, and he’s not alone in his social media use. eMarketer claims that of affluent internet users, Baby Boomers spend 37+ hours online weekly–more than the 30 hours of service per week the IRS considers full-time employment. According to GlobalWebIndex, 93% of Baby Boomer respondents used social media last month. Boomers aren’t sleeping on social.

What Content Do Boomers Follow on Social?

More than any other content, my father-in-law shares news articles. Anecdotal data is almost always inconclusive, but in this case, my experience actually aligns with Global Web Index findings: more than work-relevant contacts, bands, or brands, Boomers are most likely to follow news accounts on social media–29% of Boomers do this. Brands shouldn’t feel too discouraged, however. 22% of Boomers follow brands they like, and 18% follow brands the are considering for purchase. This would suggest that Boomers may use social media for to not only understand current events but to determine the best purchase decisions.

 

Boomers Love Facebook

My father-in-law only uses Facebook, and the research parallels continue. Of those between 50-64 years of age, 64% use Facebook according to Pew Research. Less 25% of respondents in that age group said they used Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and of the three, LinkedIn carried the highest rate of usage at 24%. Boomers are present on all social platforms, but they also have a clear favorite–Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild.

How Boomers Engage on Facebook

On Facebook, Boomers stay active. Combined with the Silent Generation, they spend more time on-average consuming news and politics than any other generation, nearly double the amount of time Millennials spent during the 2016 Election cycle. Boomers are also more likely to share content on Facebook–20% more likely than the nearest generation, and good news for Brands with a Boomer target audience. Boomers are 58% more likely to visit a brand’s site as a result of a social media post, preferring the video format above all others.

Most brands tap social media to target their Millennial and Gen Z audiences, but they can no longer ignore the Boomer fixation on social, especially Facebook. The world’s largest social platform may ultimately be the best way for brands to reach Boomers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to message my father-in-law this link.

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