Facebook Is the Social Network of Choice for Gen Xers - eMarketer

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Facebook Is the Social Network of Choice for Gen Xers

Often overlooked, the demographic is still important for digital marketers

December 24, 2013

Being a smaller generation than the baby boomers or millennials does not make Generation X small in absolute terms. This is a substantial population—some 65 million, by one common calculation—often spending for its kids as well as for itself. Moreover, Gen Xers came of age alongside the internet. Nearly all are online; majorities use social networks and smartphones. For marketers using digital technology to reach consumers, Generation X is (or should be) a natural target, according to a new eMarketer report, “Generation X: A Forgotten Population That’s Well Worth Remembering.”

Though their internet initiation largely predates the Facebook era, Gen Xers have added social networking to their digital activity mix. By eMarketer’s reckoning, three-quarters of US Gen X internet users will log on to social networks at least monthly in 2013.

US Gen X Social Network Users and Penetration, 2013 & 2017 (millions and % of Gen X internet users)

Most Gen Xers who use social networks are Facebookers. eMarketer estimates just under two-thirds of US Gen X internet users will access Facebook at least monthly this year.

However, they’re somewhat less venturesome—or less indiscriminate—in their usage of other social platforms. While we predict that 30.0% of 18-to-24-year-old US internet users will tap Twitter at least monthly in 2013, our figure for Gen Xers is barely half that.

Similarly, October 2013 polling of US mobile phone users by Pew Research Center’s Internet Project found respondents ages 30 to 49 less than half as likely as younger adults to use Instagram, at 18% vs. 43%.

In a sense, the Facebook-centric pattern of Gen Xers’ social usage may make them easier for marketers to reach. Since Gen Xers aren’t as likely to experiment with the latest social service to pop up, a brand that wants to connect with them in the social environment can be confident of finding them in the most obvious part of it.

The full report, “Generation X: A Forgotten Population That’s Well Worth Remembering,” also answers these key questions:

  • Why should marketers pay attention to Generation X?
  • How do Gen Xers behave as shoppers? And what use do they make of digital technology to find and buy what they want?
  • How responsive are Gen Xers to the advertising they encounter in various media?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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