Data, data everywhere – if you’re marketing your business online, you probably have an idea of the sheer enormity of information that is available for you to use. This data is essential if you want to develop on point digital marketing strategies that target specific segments of your target market and ensure that you get the best reach and engagement for all of your marketing efforts.

But it’s kind of overwhelming, isn’t it? Simply in terms of volume, we are consuming and producing more digital data than ever before. Consider this: from the beginning of the digital age until 2003, human beings generated a total of 5 billion gigabytes of data. Today, in 2017, we produce the same amount every 2 days. And within a year, we can expect to produce 5 billion gigabytes every 10 minutes. Wow.

Many types of data on many different devices

Not only are we consuming and generating data online, we are doing it on different devices such as laptops, desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones. We’re surfing the internet, updating our social media profiles, sending emails and instant messages, and live streaming our favourite TV shows. Analysing these kinds of behaviours is an important aspect of online marketing strategy, ensuring that your adverts and social media advertising reaches the right people, at the right time, and is appropriate for the device that your target market most commonly uses.

How different generations are using data affects your digital marketing

A way to simplify your digital marketing strategy, is to look at data use by generation. Different generations consume online data in different ways, and provide broad audience segments that you can use as a starting point for targeting the people most likely to be your potential customers.

There are 3 distinct generations who are using the internet for various purposes: The Millennials (age 18 to 29), Generation X (age 30 to 49) and the Boomers (age 50 plus). All of these generations have differing online behaviours, that you can use to tweak your online and social media marketing strategies:

Millennials

  • Spend the most amount of time watching videos online every month – 7 hours 38 mins, 6 hours of which is viewed on mobile phones.
  • Use their phones as the primary means for all online activities (42% of Millennials).
  • Consume the second most overall data (54.6 GB per month) but are the most connected to the internet, primarily through mobile phones.

What this means for your content marketing, is that video is an excellent way to target Millennials. However, as most Millennials seem to consume media via their phones, mobile responsiveness is absolutely essential.

Generation X

  • Spend the most amount of actual time surfing the internet (33 hours per month) for work and entertainment.
  • Consume slightly less online video than Millennials but still a high amount (6 hours per month, 4 hours 45 mins of which is viewed on mobile).
  • Are more likely to own a number of different devices that they use to access the internet (desktops, laptops, e-readers, tablets and mobile phones)
  • Consume the most overall data (59.5 GB per month), evenly balanced between broadband, wireless and mobile use.

As the generation that is currently working with a higher disposable income, Generation X is a prime segment for many marketers. Video does work for Generation X, however when targeting this age group it is important to balance different types of content that is engaging on all devices, and to pay attention to web design that is equally effective on both mobile and desktop.

Boomers

  • Are more likely to access the internet via their home computers (60%) than via their mobile phones (10%)
  • Consume the least amount of data (44 GB per month) watching online videos.
  • Are less likely to own mobile devices such as tablets, e-readers and smart phones.

Boomers are mostly traditionalists, so traditional digital marketing (such as Facebook and blogging) will work better than more ‘modern’ strategies such as video. The focus for creating content for this generation should be on desktop, with mobile devices secondary.

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