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Content Consumption Differences between Generations

Posted: Thursday August 20, 2015 • Category: Marketing

Millennials are a complex generation that, unlike other generations, aren’t set by an exact date range—though that depends on whom you talk to—but are considered to be those who were born in the 1980s-1990s. They are diverse, educated, and tech-savvy; their buying habits demonstrate significant variations in what they want and expect; and they shop everywhere and have access to everything. Because of this complexity, marketers have had to take a step back and look at their tactics and which generation they are targeting, especially when it comes to online content creation and consumption. 

Fractl and BuzzStream recently performed a study that surveyed over 1,200 people across three generations: Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. The participants were asked questions regarding online content, content length, and time spent engaging with online content. The findings concluded that the generations have as many similarities as they do differences when it comes to online content consumption. 

Blog articles, images, comments, and eBooks are the top four most consumed types of online content for all three generations, however, that fifth position was different across the board. Audiobooks were the Millennials’ fifth most consumed type of content, while case studies held that position for Generation X, and reviews came in fifth for Baby Boomers. Interestingly enough, the three generations also shared their least favorite type of online content: white papers. Webinars were also listed as one of the least consumed types of content for each generation, which seems to tie into the universal love of short content. 

According to the study, all three generations enjoy reading articles around 300 words; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to count your words when creating content. The findings reveal that the generations aren’t interested in content that FEELS long; concise content that is formatted for easy scanning appeals to all generations. 

Consider these findings next time you are creating online content. If you are targeting Baby Boomers, steer clear of memes, SlideShares, white papers, and webinars. If you are targeting Millennials or Generation Xers, we suggest not using white papers, webinars, SlideShares, or quizzes. Age is the number one indicator of a group’s interests, but beyond age, insight into a generation’s microculture can be found within the years the audience was born.  Do you consider the generation of your target audience when you’re creating content? We’d love to hear from you!

 

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