by NICOLE SPECTOR
Ah, baby boomers and millennials — could they be more different? The former are in or nearing retirement, while the other group is ambitiously rising in the workforce. Many millennials are waiting to marry and have kids, while their dear old boomer parents, quite possibly divorced by now, were comparatively eager to settle down in their twenties.
Is there any common ground between these two demographics who, rivaling in size, are so often pitted against one another? Research shows that in fact, yes, in many ways millennials and boomers are similar, not only in values but in other matters including finance, living situations, and even online presence.
More Than Facebook Friends In Common
It's become a cliché: the sentimental boomer mom or dad annoying or embarrassing their millennial kid with their clumsy Facebook attempts. Well, those days are just about over as boomers become more adept at using social media.
According to Pew Research Center, social media usage by older adults is increasing: as of November 2016, 64 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 are active on at least one social media site — up 14 percent from July 2015.
Like millennials, boomers are keen on sharing their experiences on social media — and to engage with user-generated and brand-curated content.
According to Olapic's Consumer Trust Study Report, boomers and millennials trust user-generated content over content created by brands, to varying degrees. Thirty-six percent of boomers trust user-generated content, while 24 percent trust content created by brands; 47 percent of millennials trust user-generated content, with 25 percent trusting content created by brands.
Additionally, Olapic's study found that boomers and millennials both prefer photos over other types of social content; and that 90 percent of boomers prefer Facebook to other social networking sites, while 25 percent of millennials prefer Instagram.
"My sense is that as smartphone penetration grows among boomers, they're getting more into Facebook, mainly because it's the most well-established [of the social media sites]," said Mark Potts, head of insights at Mindshare North America. "I think they'll end up on Instagram, too. Like millennials, boomers show a desire for experiences, especially in the travel category. Both boomers and millennials are reactive in terms of wanting to go out and do something and get off the beaten path."
As brands continue to strengthen their digital presence with social media ad campaigns, they may want to pay more attention to the presence of boomers.
"Our hypothesis is that brands are over-focused on millennials," said Potts. "Take the spirits category, for instance: the majority of off-premise buyers are older consumers and yet the liquor brands tend to be focused on younger adult buyers. They should be [tailoring] their messaging to be more inclusive of older consumer groups."
To read more about Mindshare's Boomaissance trend, check it out here: Culture Vulture Trends Report