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How Each Generation Shops in 2022 [New Data from Our State of Consumer Trends Report]

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With new marketing channels and trends constantly popping up, it can be difficult to know where your target audience actually is.

Not only do you need to know where they spend their time, but also how they like to shop –- and that largely depends on their age group.

To help you determine where to meet audiences where they are, we surveyed thousands of US consumers of all generations across to learn about their shopping habits, media consumption, and the latest trends they’re following.

While you’ll find even more data in our State of Consumer Trends Report, we wanted to give our readers a deep dive into each generations and the unique themes that make them different. 

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So let’s take a look at where and how each generation likes to shop — and what really impacts their purchasing decisions.

We’ll get started with a quick breakdown of the shopping habits of each generation and call out the biggest differences and similarities between them, then dive deeper into each age group.

For those in a rush, we’ve put a quick generation-by-generation overview below with links to the deep dive of each age group. To jump to a broader side-by-side look at how all generations handle each stage of product discovery and purchases differently. click here to jump to our comparison section.

Shopping Habits Overview

Gen Z Overview (ages 18-24)

  • Social media, YouTube ads, and internet search are the top ways Gen Z discover new products
  • Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are the top social media apps among Gen Z
  • 33% of Gen Z have bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past three months, and 28% have bought through an in-app shop
  • 1 in 2 Gen Zers want companies to take a stance on social issues, specifically racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender inequality, and climate change. When companies advocate for these issues, it has a strong impact on Gen Z purchase decisions
  • Ads on streaming services beat cable TV for reaching Gen Z. Retail discovery is still relevant, but less frequent than digital channels

Jump to our Gen Z deep dive >>

Millennials Overview (ages 25-35)

  • Social media, internet search, and YouTube ads are also the top ways Millennials discover new products
  • Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top social media apps among Millennials
  • 28% of Millennials have bought a product through an in-app shop in the past three months and 26% have bought based on an influencer’s recommendation
  • 41% of Millennials want companies to take a stance on social issues, specifically racial justice, income inequality, climate change, affordable healthcare, and LGBTQ+ rights. When companies advocate for these issues, it has a strong impact on Millennial purchase decisions
  • Ads on cable TV beat streaming services for reaching Millennials by a small margin. Retail discovery is still relevant but less frequent than digital channels

Jump to our Millennial deep dive >>

Gen X Overview (ages 35-54)

  • Gen X prefers to discover new products through search, television ads, and in retail stores
  • Gen X discovers new products on social media more frequently than any other channel, even though it isn’t preferred
  • 90% of Gen X use social media – Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are their favorite apps
  • 18% of Gen X have bought a product through an in-app shop in the past three months. The same number bought based on an influencer’s recommendation in that period
  • 35% of Gen Xers say companies should take a stance on social issues, specifically climate change, affordable healthcare, racial justice, and income inequality. 38% say companies shouldn’t engage with social issues, and 26% aren’t sure

Jump to our Gen X deep dive >>

Boomer Overview (ages 55+)

  • TV ads, internet search, and retail stores are the top ways Boomers discover new products
  • Social media falls flat for boomers –  just 17% have discovered a product on it in the past three months, and only 4% have purchased a product on a social app in that time
  • About half of boomers say companies should not take a stance on social issues. When it comes to influencing their purchase decisions, social issues simply have no impact on a majority of Boomers.

Jump to our Baby Boomer deep dive >>

A Generational Comparison of Today’s Shopping Trends [Side-by-Side Data]

Where Do Consumers Discover Products?

Social media, internet search, and Youtube ads are key for reaching Gen Z and Millennials, while TV, search, and retail are favored by Gen X and Boomers.

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where each generation discovers products

As far as social media, Boomers, Millennials, and Gen X all use Facebook more than any other app.

which social media platforms consumer use

Meanwhile, Gen Z is all about YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Not only is Gen Z communicating with friends and being entertained, but they’re also discovering (and buying) products on social more than any other generation.

which generations bought the most on social media

What Drives Consumers to Buy Products?

When it comes to making purchase decisions, all generations are highly influenced by price, quality, and product reviews. Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X also value brands that have active communities around them and a social media presence. Additionally, whether a percentage of the proceeds from their purchase will be donated to charity is highly important to Gen Z.

what are the most important factors in purchasing

Where Do Consumers Like to Buy Products?

All generations favor buying products in-person at a store over any other channel, but this preference decreases significantly with age. Buying through online retailers like Amazon and directly from a company’s website is also popular. Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X are most interested in buying through social media and from a company’s mobile app.

how do consumers in each generation prefer to buy products

If you’re ready for more of the insights you need to reach your target audience, let’s take a deep dive into the shopping habits of today’s consumers, as well as how each generation compares, based on data from our 2022 Consumer Trends Survey of over 1,000 consumers in the U.S.

Shopping Trends by Generation (A Detailed, Data-Driven Breakdown)

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Gen Z Shopping Habits 2022 (ages 18-24)

So where is Gen Z discovering new products? Let’s start with the digital elephant in the room – social media.

Social Media Drives Gen Z Product Discovery

57% of Gen Z has discovered new products on social media in the past three months, and 71% of them say it’s where they discover products most often. 

gen z product discover channels

Social media is also the #1 way Gen Z prefers to discover new products, according to 38% of those age 18-24. 

All of this really isn’t surprising considering 93% of Gen Z use social media, for an average of 4 hours and 20 minutes per day. 

1658522839 215 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

 

You may also be wondering which platforms they’re using, so let’s take a glance:

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gen z social media apps

 

YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the top three platforms by usage in the past three months. Over half of Gen Z have used Snapchat and Facebook in the past three months, and 48% have used Twitter.

When it comes to the social media apps Gen Z uses most, TikTok, IG, and YouTube come out on top again, but in a different order.

 

1658522839 396 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

TikTok is used most, likely due to its focus on short-form videos and powerful algorithm, making it hard to put down.

But TikTok and Instagram are only the most used social media apps among Gen Z women, while men spend much more time on YouTube.most used gen z social apps

Lastly, we asked Gen Z which social media app is their favorite. 

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what is Gen Zs favorite social app

While TikTok is used most, Instagram is the favorite social media app among Gen Z as a whole. 

But there are so many ways to interact with Gen Z on social media that it’s more important than ever to use a format that captures their attention and makes your brand stand out. 

We asked how Gen Z social media users prefer to discover new products, and here’s what we found:

how does gen z prefer to discover new products on social media

Our research from earlier this year shows that short-form video and influencer marketing are the top marketing trends of 2022, so the fact that Gen Z is fully embracing these channels to discover products isn’t surprising.

41% of Gen Z say they prefer to discover new products on social media through short-form videos, and 1 in 4 prefer to find out about products from influencers.

On top of that, 33% of Gen Z have made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation in the past three months, the highest of any age group. 

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The signs to invest in these channels couldn’t be clearer. Did I mention that they also have the highest ROI of any marketing trend? Another powerful trend we identified in our Social Media Trends 2022 research is selling directly on social media. 

Considering 28% of Gen Z has bought a product on social media directly on the app in the past three months and 29% prefer to discover new products through social media shops, there’s never been a better time to get started.

gen z activities in the past three months

Our recent Instagram Marketing Report explains why the app presents such an incredible opportunity for social selling, and we even published a data-backed guide on the top tools and strategies for selling on Instagram.

YouTube Ads Trump Social Media For Reaching Gen Z Men

46% of Gen Z has found new products through YouTube Ads in the past three months, and 56% say it’s where they discover products most often. 

what channels do gen z discover new products on

On top of that, 34% of Gen Zers say YouTube ads are their preferred way to discover new products.

Overall, YouTube Ads follow social media as the 2nd best way to reach Gen Z. If you can’t leverage both, here’s an insight to help you decide which to use:

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Gen Z women prefer to discover new products on social media, while discovering products through YouTube Ads is strongly preferred by young men. 

channels gen z prefers to look for products on

SEO Still Matters For Gen Z

42% of Gen Z has found new products by searching the web in the past few months, and 50% say it’s where they find products most often. 

26% of Gen Z say searching the internet is their preferred way of discovering new products, but how exactly is Gen Z searching online? A whopping 74% of Gen Z use their mobile phones most often when shopping online, while just 15% use a computer.devices gen z uses most

 

Additionally, 72% of Gen Z use their phones most often when looking up a question on a search engine.

1658522840 930 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

This means you should be optimizing your website to be mobile-first to offer the best experience to your users. To learn more about the top SEO strategies, check out our Web Traffic & Analytics Report.

Retail Discovery is Less Frequent, But Still Relevant For Gen Z

While 36% of Gen Z has discovered new products in retail stores in the past three months, when we asked where they discover new products most often, it came in at #8. 

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So Gen Z is still visiting retail stores, but they’re discovering products through online sources much more often.

Does that mean hope is lost for retail? Not quite. 19% of Gen Z still say it’s their preferred way to discover new products, behind social media, YouTube ads, and searching the web.

gen z product discovery channels

Ads on Streaming Services Beat Cable TV for Gen Z

23% of Gen Z has discovered new products on film/TV show streaming services in the past three months, and 33% of them say they discover new products through streaming most often.

19% of Gen Z have also discovered new products on music streaming services like Spotify, with 55% of them saying that music streaming is where they discover new products most often.

Does that mean cable TV ads are lost on Gen Z? Considering less than 1 in 5 have discovered a new product through their television in the past three months, it isn’t the best channel to reach those age 18-24 (though still very relevant for older age groups).

1 in 2 Gen Zers Say Companies Should Take a Stance On Social Issues

Gen Z is known to be vocal about the causes they believe in, but does that tenacity for the environment and social justice translate to their purchase decisions? Let’s take a look.

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We asked whether companies should take a stance on social issues, and 50% of Gen Z say they should, the highest of any generation. 

does Gen Z think companies should take a stance on social issues

We then asked those who want companies to take a stance on social issues which issues are most important to them. Racial justice was by far the top issue for Gen Z (69%), followed by LGBTQ+ rights (50%), gender inequality (46%), and climate change (42%).

social issues gen z cares most about

 

The burning question is whether these sentiments translate to purchase decisions, and we found that they have a significant influence on Gen Z, dwindling slowly with each generation. 

gen z purchase motives

  • 60% of Gen Z have chosen a product based on it being owned by a small business in the past three months
  • 50% of Gen Z have chosen a product based on the brand’s commitment to diversity/inclusion in the past three months
  • 49% of Gen Z have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a person of color in the past three months.
  • 43% of Gen Z have chosen a product based on the brand being woman-owned in the past three months.
  • 30% of Gen Z have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a member of the LGBTQ community in the past three months.

Not only that, but brands taking a stance on these issues also makes a significant portion of Gen Zs more likely to purchase. We asked all the Gen Zs in our survey how the following attributes impact their purchase decisions, if at all, using a 5-point scale from much less likely to much more likely. Here’s what they said: 

gen z more likely to purchase from brands that

Below are just a few of the factors that impact Gen Z purchase decisions, aside from the product itself:

  • Corporate Trust: 84% of Gen Z say they’re more likely to buy from a company that treats its employees well, while 83% say they’re more likely to buy from a company that they can trust with their data
  • Economic and/or Environmental Impact: 60% of Gen Z say they’re more likely to buy from a brand actively trying to reduce its environmental impact, while 46% are more likely to purchase products from small businesses.
  • High DI&B Standards: 53% of Gen Z say they’re more likely to purchase based on a brand’s commitment to diversity/inclusion, while 51% say a brand advocating for racial justice makes them more likely to become a customer. Additionally, 39% of Gen Z say they’re more likely to buy products from brands owned by a person of color.
  • Gender and LGBTQ+ Advocacy: 42% of Gen Z say brands that advocate for gender equality are more likely to get their purchases, while 37% of Gen Z are more likely to buy from brands that advocate for LGTBTQ+ rights.

While Gen Z is strongly influenced by Environmental, Social, and Governance (or ESG) initiatives, there are other factors in their purchase decisions that are even more important – let’s take a look.

What Drives Gen Z Purchase Decisions?

The top factors in Gen Z’s purchase decisions are unsurprising, with price, quality, and look/feel taking the lead. 

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what factors are part of gen z purchase decisionsBut when we ask Gen Z to choose the three most important factors in their purchase decision, we find some interesting insights. Take a look at the top 8 most important factors when Gen Z is forced to choose just three of those they consider:

gen z purchase considerations

While price and quality still lead, we see that donations to charity, an active community, recommendations from influencers, and how brands treat their employees rise to the top. 

Granted, these are nowhere near the top factors in this group’s purchase decisions, but for those who consider them, they are critical.

One other thing to note is that recommendations from influencers drive Gen Z purchase decisions even more than recommendations from their friends and family (55% vs. 24%, respectively) – yet another reason to leverage influencer marketing.

How Does Gen Z Prefer to Purchase Products?

When it comes to making purchases, 55% of Gen Zers still prefer to buy things in-store (the lowest of any generation), but online channels are close behind. 

how does gen z prefer to purchase products

One in two Gen Zers prefer to make purchases through online retailers like Amazon, while 37% like to go directly to a company’s website.

23% of Gen Z prefers to buy through social media apps, while 22% favor going through a company’s mobile app.

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How Does Gen Z Like To Pay?

47% of Gen Z has purchased a subscription for a physical product in the past three months, the highest of any generation. 

how does gen z like to pay for products

But when we asked which payment model they prefer, Gen Z still largely favors buying a product for full price as needed.

which payment model does gen Z prefer

And that wraps it up for Gen Z! Now we can talk about their slightly older, yet noticeably different counterparts, Millennials.

Millennial Shopping Habits 2022 (ages 25-34)

Social Media Drives Millennial Product Discovery

50% of Millennials have discovered new products on social media in the past three months, and 59% of them say it’s where they discover new products most often. 

which channels have millennials discovered products on

Social media is also the primary way Millennials prefer to discover new products, according to 33% of those 25-34.

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Similar to Gen Z, 90% of Millennials use social media, for an average of 4 hours per day, slightly lower than that of Gen Z.

how many hours do millenials spend online

As far as the platforms they use, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top platforms by usage in the past three months. Over half of Millennials have used TikTok in the past three months, and 44% have used Snapchat.

the top social media apps of millennials

When it comes to the social media apps Millennials use most, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram lead the way.

1658522842 44 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from OurBut just like with Gen Z, the app used most differs sharply by gender. Millennial women use Facebook the most, followed by Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Meanwhile, Millennial men use YouTube the most, followed by Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok fourth.

social media apps millenials use most

 

We also asked Millennials which social media platform is their favorite.

1658522843 754 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from OurWhen it comes to Millennials’ favorite social media app, Facebook stays at #1, but Instagram pulls ahead of YouTube.

Now that you know which platforms Millennials prefer to find new products on, here are the formats they want to see on social media, among those who use it.

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How Millenials prefer to discover products

Millennials favor feed posts, ads, and social media marketplaces when looking to discover new products.

They also turn to influencers and social media shops to discover and buy things:

1658522843 934 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Since Millennials tend to favor Facebook and Instagram, building a presence on these platforms is key. Setting up an online shop on both platforms and leveraging influencer marketing are among the highest ROI strategies you can use to get your products seen and bought.

Millennials Discover Products Through Search Slightly Less Than On Social

Discovering new products through searching the internet comes second to finding them on social media, but just by a hair.

For starters, search and social are tied at 50% for the top channel Millennials have discovered new products on in the past three months. And 58% of Millennials say they discover new products most often by searching the internet, just 1% behind social media.

When we asked what Millennials’ preferred channel for discovering new products is, 32% said searching the internet, also lagging behind social media by 1%.

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So search is a leading channel for product discovery for Millennials, but how are they searching? 74% use their mobile phones most often, compared to just 16% who use a computer, highlighting the importance of optimizing your site to be mobile-first.

which of these devices do millenials use most

When it comes to online shopping, 68% of Millennials use their phones most often, while 22% use a computer.

1658522843 642 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

YouTube Ads Is the Third-Best Way To Reach Millennials, Especially Men

44% of Millennials have found new products on YouTube in the past three months and 54% say they discover new products on YouTube the most.

which channels do millennials purchase products on

On top of that, 23% of Millennials say YouTube is their preferred channel for discovering new products.

Overall, YouTube ads are the #3 best way to reach Millennials, but just like for Gen Z, when it comes to targeting Millennial men, YouTube rises to the top.

1658522843 815 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Retail Discovery is Less Frequent, But Still Relevant For Millennials

While 43% of Millennials have discovered new products in retail stores in the past three months, when we asked where they discover new products most often, retail comes in at number six.

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Like Gen Z, Millennials are still going to retail stores, but they’re finding products online more often. 22% of them say they prefer finding new products in retail stores, behind social media, searching the internet, YouTube Ads, and word of mouth.

Cable TV is Slightly Better for Reaching Millennials than Streaming Services

36% of Millennials have discovered new products through TV/film streaming services in the past three months, and 34% of them say that’s where they discover new products most often. Additionally, 13% of Millennials say video streaming is how they prefer to discover new products.

where do millenials prefer to find products

 

When it comes to cable TV, 34% of millennials have discovered new products through their television in the past three months, and 47% of them say that’s where they discover new products most often, comfortably ahead of streaming services. Additionally, 18% of Millennials say cable TV is where they prefer to discover new products, beating video streaming services by 5%.

Advertising on music streaming services is also a great way to reach Millennials – 21% of them have discovered new products through music streaming services in the past three months. Of that group, 29% say that’s where they discover new products most often. Overall, 11% of Millennials say music streaming is how they prefer to discover new products.

ESG Matters To Millennials

41% of Millennials say companies should take a stance on social issues, down from 50% for Gen Z.

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do millennials think companies should take stances

We also asked Millennials who want to see companies engaging in advocacy which social issues they want to see companies that a stance on most.

Among Millennials who want companies to advocate for social issues, 60% want to see brands take a stance on racial justice, followed by income inequality (52%), climate change (39%), affordable healthcare (37%), and LGBTQ+ rights (36%).

gen z vs. millennial, which issues should companies take a stance on

While racial justice is top of mind for both Gen Z and Millennials, Millennials put less of a priority on other identity-based issues like gender and sexual orientation. Instead, they prefer to see companies tackle issues like income inequality, climate change, and affordable healthcare. 

This might be because Millennials are older and more likely to be part of the workforce than Gen Z, making them more conscious of wealth inequality and the cost of healthcare.

While a sizable group of Millennials wants to see companies taking a stand, do these sentiments actually affect their purchase decisions? Just like with Gen Z, the answer is yes.

millennial product choice preferences

  • 59% of Millennials have chosen a product based on it being made by a small business in the past three months
  • 49% of Millennials have chosen a product based on the brand’s commitment to diversity/inclusion in the past three months
  • 47% of Millennials have chosen a product based on the brand being woman-owned in the past three months
  • 42% of Millennials have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a person of color in the past three months
  • 27% of Millennials have chosen a product based on it being owned by a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the past three months

On a 5-point scale from much less likely to much more likely, we asked all Millennials in our survey how the following attributes impact their purchase decisions, if at all. Here’s what we found:

millennial brand purchase motives

  • Corporate Trust: 82% of Millennials are more likely to buy from a company that treats its employees well, and the same amount are more likely to buy from a company that they can trust with their data.
  • Economic and/or Environmental Impact: 51% of Millennials are more likely to buy a product made by a small business, while 48% are more likely to buy from a company that actively tries to reduce its environmental impact
  • High DI&B Standards: 47% of Millennials are more likely to purchase from a brand committed to diversity/inclusion, while 43% say a brand advocating for racial justice makes them more likely to become a customer. Additionally, 42% of Millennials say they’re more likely to buy products from brands owned by a person of color.
  • Gender and LGBTQ+ Advocacy: 46% of Millennials say brands that advocate for gender equality are more likely to get their purchases, while 36% of Millennials are more likely to buy from brands that advocate for LGTBTQ+ rights.

While ESG strongly matters to Millennials, let’s see how these issues stack up against other factors in their purchase decisions.

What Drives Millennial Purchase Decisions?

Just as they do for all generations, price and quality are the top factors when it comes to Millennial purchase decisions.

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millennial purchasing decision impact

Now let’s see which of these are most important to Millennials by forcing them to choose just three of the factors they consider.

the most important purchasing factors

Unsurprisingly, price, quality, reviews, and features remain in the lead. But a brand’s social media presence, whether a brand has an active community around it, whether the brand donates to charity, and recommendations from influencers rise. 

While these aren’t even in the top 8 factors in Millennials’ purchase decisions, among those who consider them, they are highly important.

How Do Millennials Prefer to Purchase Products?

65% of Millennials prefer to buy products in-store, while 55% favor going through online retailers like Amazon. About 1 in 3 like to purchase directly from a company’s website.

how millennials prefer to purchase

When it comes to mobile apps, 21% of Millennials prefer purchasing through social media, and 1 in 5 like to go through a company’s mobile app.

How Do Millennials Like To Pay?

44% of Millennials have purchased a subscription for a physical product in the past three months, slightly below Gen Z, but comfortably higher than Gen X and far ahead of Boomers.

subscription and physical product purchases

But when it comes to the payment model they prefer, 51% of Millennials say they favor buying products at full price when they need them.

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On the other hand, Millennials are the most likely of any generation to prefer purchasing a product in payment installments (28%) and on a subscription basis (21%).

Now that we’ve covered Millennial purchase habits, let’s take a look at how Gen X likes to shop, which differs significantly from what we’ve seen so far from the younger age groups. 

Gen X Shopping Habits 2022 (ages 35-54)

Gen X Prefers to Discover Products Through Online Search, With Other Channels Close Behind

One in three Gen X’s say they prefer to discover new products by searching the internet, and 58% say that search is how they discover new products most often – tying with social media as the channel they discover new products on most frequently. 

Additionally, 40% of Gen X have discovered new products through online search in the past three months, placing it among the top discovery channels.

where gen x discovers new products

So we know Gen X is all about searching online, but which devices are they using most when shopping on the web?

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gen x shopping devices

Two thirds of Gen Xers say they use their mobile phones most for online shopping, while 21% are on a computer and 9% use a table most frequently. This is similar to what we saw with Gen Z and Millennials.

But unlike those younger age groups, where social media is the clear favorite channel for product discovery, Gen X likes to find items through a much wider range of channels, so let’s take a look at the others that have a meaningful impact on those age 35-54.

Television Ads Are Highly Relevant For Gen X

41% of Gen X have discovered new products through TV ads in the past three months, and 55% of them say that TV ads are where they discover products most often, slightly behind social media and searching the web. 

Gen x channel preferences

Additionally, 30% of Gen X say they prefer to discover new products through TV ads, tying with retail stores for the second most popular channel.

Retail Has the Widest Reach For Gen X, But Digital Channels Are Seen Much More Frequently

Retail is the top channel Gen X has discovered new products in the past three months. But while 43% of Gen X found a new product in a brick and mortar store in that period, when it comes to the channels Gen X discovers new products on most often, retail is behind digital mediums like social media, internet search, TV ads, YouTube ads, and streaming ads.

gen x product discovery channels

Does that mean that retail is being forgotten by Gen X? Not exactly, because 30% of Gen X still prefer to discover new products in retail stores, tied at #2 with TV ads.

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But it does signal that Gen X is shopping online more often than they visit retail stores, even if they prefer the latter. While this could be about convenience, a symptom of the pandemic, or a reflection of our increasingly digital world, it is important to reach Gen X virtually while keeping in mind their affinity for a real-life shopping experience.

Gen X Discovers Products On Social Most Often, Though It Isn’t Preferred

While Gen Z and Millennials discover products most often on social – and prefer it that way – Gen X is a bit more conflicted.

Social media is the number one channel Gen X discovers new products on the most, according to 58% of those 35-54. But at the same time, just 1 in 4 Gen Xers say they prefer to discover new products on social media, coming in at #5 on the list of their favored channels. 

This can be explained by the fact that 90% of Gen X use social media. While 14% spend under an hour on it every day, the rest average 3 hours and 25 minutes of daily use. So Gen X is using a lot of social media and seeing ads on it more than anywhere else, but it isn’t the way they prefer to discover products. 

how many hours does gen x spend on social

Regardless, 42% of Gen X have discovered a product on social media in the past three months. On top of that, 18% of Gen X have bought a product directly in a social media app in that same period. So let’s take a look at which social media apps Gen X is using.

most commonly used gen x social apps

So Gen X is definitely on Facebook and YouTube, while a little over half are on Instagram, and 38% visited TikTok and Twitter in the past three months. Now let’s take a look at which social media platforms Gen X uses most:

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1658522845 519 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Facebook and YouTube stay in the lead, a trend that continues when we look at Gen X’s favorite social media apps.

gen x favorite social app

Now that we know which platforms are most popular among Gen X, here’s a look at how the age group prefers do discover new products on social media, among those who use it.

where does gen x prefer to find new products

While the current trend for advertising to Gen Z and Millennials is “make content, not ads,” Gen X isn’t bothered by being advertised to more directly, preferring to see ads on social media. But since the trend is to make ads as enjoyable and un-intrusive as possible, you should still try to make your Gen X ad campaigns feel authentic, fun, and relatable, making for a better experience regardless of generation. 

Coming in second, 39% of Gen X also favor discovering new products through social media marketplaces where purchases happen outside of the app. This reinforces the previous insight we uncovered about Gen X preferring real-life shopping experiences, even if they’re discovering products on social media. 

Still, 35% of Gen X prefer to discover new products through in-app shops, the highest of any generation, but keep in mind this is only among social media users. 

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In the past three months, 18% of Gen X social media users have bought a product directly on a social media app, and the same amount made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation.

gen x activities

The impact of influencers is another major point of difference between Gen X and younger generations – just 14% of Gen X prefer discovering new products through influencers, compared to 25% and 28% for Gen Z and Millennials, respectively. But all three of these generations still look to influencers more than Boomers.

what portion of generation prefers to discover products on social media

1 in 3 Gen Xers Say Companies Should Take a Stance On Social Issues

35% of those in Gen X say companies should take a stance on social issues, while 38% say they shouldn’t, and 26% aren’t sure.

does gen x think companies should take a stance

We also asked those who want to see companies take a stance which social issues are most important for businesses to champion, here’s what they said:

1658522846 101 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Unlike Gen Z and Millennials, for whom racial justice topped the list by a large margin, Gen X is spread more evenly among their top issues. While Gen X wants to see companies take a stance on climate change more than any other issue, affordable healthcare, racial justice, and income inequality are all equally important to them.

Now let’s take a look at whether these ideals actually impact Gen X’s purchase decisions. Among all Gen Xers in our survey:

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  • 42% of Gen X have chosen a product based on it being made by a small business in the past three months
  • 36% of Gen X have chosen a product based on it the brand’s commitment to diversity/inclusion in the past three months
  • 28% of Gen X have chosen a product based on the brand being woman-owned in the past three months
  • 28% of Gen X have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a person of color in the past three months
  • 21% of Gen X have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the past three months

While these numbers are lower than what we’re seeing with Gen Z and Millennials, social factors are present factors in Gen X’s purchase decisions. We also asked all Gen Xers in our survey how the following attributes impact their purchase decisions if at all, using a 5-point scale from much less likely to much more likely.

brands gen x is most likely to purchase from

  • Corporate Trust: 82% of Gen X are more likely to buy from a company that they can trust with their data, while 81% are more likely to purchase from brands that treat their employees well.
  • Economic and/or Environmental Impact: 43% of Gen X are more likely to buy a product made by a small business, and the same amount are more likely to buy from a business that actively tries to reduce its environmental impact
  • Moderate DI&B Standards: 36% of Gen X are more likely to purchase from a brand committed to diversity/inclusion, and 36% say a brand advocating for racial justice makes them more likely to become a customer. Additionally, 32% of Gen X say they’re more likely to buy products from brands owned by a person of color.
  • Gender and LGBTQ+ Advocacy: 36% of Gen X say brands that advocate for gender equality are more likely to get their purchases, while 31% of them are more likely to buy from brands that advocate for LGTBTQ+ rights.

We know that social issues are part of Gen X’s purchase decisions, but which other factors do they consider, and which are most important? Let’s take a look.

What Drives Gen X’s Purchase Decisions?

Unsurprisingly, price and quality are the top factors when it comes to Gen X purchase decisions.

what drives gen x purchasing decisions

But let’s take a look at which factors Gen X find most important when forced to choose just three of those they consider in their purchase decisions.

1658522846 690 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Whether a brand has an active community around it, a brand’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and whether a brand donates a portion of its profits to charity all rise to the top. While these are nowhere near the top factors in Gen X’s purchase decisions, for those who consider them, they are highly important.

How Does Gen X Prefer to Purchase Products?

73% of Gen Xers prefer to purchase products in-store. 53% favor online retailers like Amazon, while about 1 in 4 like to go directly through a company’s website, and just 13% prefer to purchase products through social media apps.

How Does Gen X Like to Pay?

63% of Gen Xers prefer to purchase a product for full price as needed, while 27% favor payment installments, and just 10% like to use a subscription plan.

But at the same time, 37% of Gen X has purchased a subscription plan for a physical product in the past three months. 

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Now that you know all about Gen X purchase habits in 2022, let’s end with a deep dive into the shopping habits of Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomer Shopping Habits in 2022 (ages 55+)

Cable TV Drives Boomer Product Discovery

Boomers’ shopping habits stand out the most of any generation. While Gen X shares some similarities with Gen Z and Millennials in terms of frequently shopping on social media, Boomers are discovering products in their own way – through cable TV ads. 

channels baby boomers use

Over half of Boomers have discovered new products through television advertisements in the past three months, and 62% of them say their TV set is where they discover products most often. On top of that, 45% of Boomers say they prefer to discover new products through TV, the highest of any channel and far above any other generation.

Leveraging Online Search Is Second-Best For Reaching Boomers

Boomers fall back in line with younger generations when it comes to searching the internet, with 45% of them having discovered a new product through online search in the past three months. 1658522846 510 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

59% of those who discover new products through online search say it’s the channel they find things on most often, coming in 2nd after TV ads. It is also the 2nd most preferred channel for product discovery among Boomers, with 40% of them saying they like to find items through online search more than anywhere else. 

So which devices are Boomers using most often when shopping online? 

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boomer shopping devices

Unlike all other generations, over half of Boomers use their computers most often for online shopping, while 1 in 4 use their phones more frequently.

Boomers Prefer Retail Shopping More Than Any Other Generation

44% of Boomers have discovered new products in retail stores in the past three months, and 38% of them say that’s where they find new items most often. Additionally, 37% of Boomers prefer discovering new products in online stores over any other channel.

boomer shoping channels

Social Media Falls Flat For Boomer Product Discovery

When we ask Boomers about their preferred way to discover new products, just 10% say through social media, and it ranks behind all the channels we just mentioned, as well as word of mouth and direct mail (snail mail). 

On top of that, just 17% of Boomers have discovered a product on social media in the past three months, and only 4% have purchased a product on a social app.

Regardless, two in three Boomers use social media. While about a third of them spend less than an hour on social media a day, the other 65% are spending over an hour on it daily.

hours baby boomers spend on social media

But which apps are they using?

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what social media apps have boomerrs used in past 3 months

91% of Boomers who use social media are on Facebook, higher than any other generation. Over half use YouTube, and about one quarter are on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. 63% of Boomers who use Facebook also say it’s the app they use the most, with YouTube coming in second at 21%.

We see the same picture when looking at the social media apps Boomers consider their favorite, with 58% of them choosing Facebook, followed by YouTube at 20%.

boomers favorite social media apps

So you know where to find Boomers on social media, but what kind of content do they want to see when discovering new products?

1658522847 662 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Similar to Gen X, Boomers are perfectly content with being advertised to more directly, though the current trend of “making content, not ads” popular with Gen Z and Millennials is sure to improve their experience. 

Boomers also favor buying through social media marketplaces where purchases happen outside of the app, showcasing their preference for real-life shopping experiences.

Unsurprisingly, Boomers are the least interested of any generation in discovering new products through in-app shops or through influencers, with 13% saying they prefer to find products this way 

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Almost Half of Boomers Say Companies Shouldn’t Take a Stance on Social Issues

Boomers are often considered the polar opposite of Gen Z, and in the case of whether companies should take a stance on social issues, the two groups are completely at odds. While 1 in 2 Gen Zers think companies should engage in advocacy, about half of Boomers say they shouldn’t.

many boomers say companies shouldn't take a stance on social media

Still, one in four Boomers want to see companies taking a stance on social issues, so let’s take a look at which ones they want to see businesses speak on the most.

which social issues do boomers want to see companies talk about

The social issues Boomers want to see companies advocating for most are climate change, affordable healthcare, racial justice, and income inequality. This is right in line with the issues we saw were important to Gen X, though climate change is significantly more important to Boomers than any other generation.

Keep in mind the above is only among Boomers who want to see companies take a stance on social issues, which is just 25% of them. For the rest, social issues are either irrelevant or simply aren’t something they want to hear about when interacting with brands.

product purchase considerations of boomers

  • 20% of Boomers have chosen a product based on it being made by a small business in the past three months
  • 10% of Boomers have chosen a product based on the brand’s commitment to diversity/inclusion in the past three months
  • 6% of Boomers have chosen a product based on the brand being woman-owned in the past three months
  • 5% of Boomers have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a person of color in the past three months
  • 5% of Boomers have chosen a product based on the brand being owned by a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the past three months

While one in five Boomers have chosen a product based on the brand being a small business in the past three months, identity-based issues are clearly not resonating with Boomers. 

But is that due to Boomers being averse to companies taking a stance on social issues, or is it because they simply don’t consider them in their purchase decisions?

To find out, we asked all Boomers in our survey how the following attributes impact their purchase decisions, if at all, using a 5-point scale from much less likely to much more likely.

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purchase considerations of boomers

When looking at issues related to identity, from the middle to the right side of the graph above, Boomers are overwhelmingly likely to say they have no impact on their purchase decision. A small percentage of Boomers say they are more likely to purchase when it comes to identity-related issues, while an even smaller group say they’re less likely to buy. 

So it’s much less about whether they’re for or against a certain social cause – these issues are simply just not part of their purchase decisions, with a few exceptions.

It turns out Boomers are overwhelmingly more likely to buy from companies they trust with their data and those that treat their employees well. Boomers are also more likely to buy from companies that donate a portion of their profits, try to reduce their environmental impact, and are small businesses, though many also say these actions have no impact on their purchase decisions. 

Since Boomers generally aren’t impacted by ESG initiatives, let’s dive into the factors they do consider in their purchase decisions and find out which are most important.

What Drives Boomers’ Purchase Decisions?

Price and quality are the most considered factors in Boomers’ purchase decisions, far above any other generation.

boomer purchasing decisions

But which are the most important? Let’s take a look at what Boomers prioritize when forced to choose just three of the factors they consider when making purchases:

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1658522848 991 How Each Generation Shops in 2022 New Data from Our

Here we see a similar picture as before, with the addition of the way a brand treats its employees and whether a product is a necessity or a luxury. While the latter is part of 29% of Boomers’ purchase decisions, just 6% of them take how a brand treats its employees into consideration, though it is highly important for those who do.

How Do Boomers Prefer to Purchase Products?

81% of boomers prefer to purchase products in-store. 53% favor online retailers like Amazon, and another 36% like to shop directly from a company’s website. Boomers also prefer using a company’s mobile app over ordering by phone or through social media.

how boomers prefer to buy products

How Do Boomers Like to Pay?

Boomers overwhelmingly prefer buying products at full price whenever they need them, according to 86% of those over age 55. 10% of Boomers prefer paying in installments, and just 4% favor a subscription model.

Still, 13% of Boomers have purchased a subscription plan for a physical product in the past three months:

Meeting Your Targets Where They Are

Now you have all the data you need to find and engage your target audience! 

While this guide has what you need to know right now, consumer shopping habits change rapidly – that’s why we’ll be running this same survey every few months and reporting back on any trends you need to be aware of. 

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For an overall look at how general audiences are shopping, you can also check out this post on overall shopping trends from the same survey we note above.

And for even more data on the key consumer trends that could impact your marketing strategy in the next six months, check out our upcoming State of Consumer Trends Report and downloadable PDF.  

In the meantime, check out our most recent research report below.

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Should Your Brand Shout Its AI and Marketing Plan to the World?

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Should Your Brand Shout Its AI and Marketing Plan to the World?

To use AI or not to use AI, that is the question.

Let’s hope things work out better for you than they did for Shakespeare’s mad Danish prince with daddy issues.

But let’s add a twist to that existential question.

CMI’s chief strategy officer, Robert Rose, shares what marketers should really contemplate. Watch the video or read on to discover what he says:

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Should you not use AI and be proud of not using it? Dove Beauty did that last week.

Should you use it but keep it a secret? Sports Illustrated did that last year.

Should you use AI and be vocal about using it? Agency giant Brandtech Group picked up the all-in vibe.

Should you not use it but tell everybody you are? The new term “AI washing” is hitting everywhere.

What’s the best option? Let’s explore.

Dove tells all it won’t use AI

Last week, Dove, the beauty brand celebrating 20 years of its Campaign for Real Beauty, pledged it would NEVER use AI in visual communication to portray real people.

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In the announcement, they said they will create “Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines” that people can use to create images representing all types of physical beauty through popular generative AI programs. The prompt they picked for the launch video? “The most beautiful woman in the world, according to Dove.”

I applaud them for the powerful ad. But I’m perplexed by Dove issuing a statement saying it won’t use AI for images of real beauty and then sharing a branded prompt for doing exactly that. Isn’t it like me saying, “Don’t think of a parrot eating pizza. Don’t think about a parrot eating pizza,” and you can’t help but think about a parrot eating pizza right now?

Brandtech Group says it’s all in on AI

Now, Brandtech Group, a conglomerate ad agency, is going the other way. It’s going all-in on AI and telling everybody.

This week, Ad Age featured a press release — oops, I mean an article (subscription required) — with the details of how Brandtech is leaning into the takeaway from OpenAI’s Sam Altman, who says 95% of marketing work today can be done by AI.

A Brandtech representative talked about how they pitch big brands with two people instead of 20. They boast about how proud they are that its lean 7,000 staffers compete with 100,000-person teams. (To be clear, showing up to a pitch with 20 people has never been a good thing, but I digress.)

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OK, that’s a differentiated approach. They’re all in. Ad Age certainly seemed to like it enough to promote it. Oops, I mean report about it.

False claims of using AI and not using AI

Offshoots of the all-in and never-will approaches also exist.

The term “AI washing” is de rigueur to describe companies claiming to use AI for something that really isn’t AI.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission just fined two companies for using misleading statements about their use of AI in their business model. I know one startup technology organization faced so much pressure from their board and investors to “do something with AI” that they put a simple chatbot on their website — a glorified search engine — while they figured out what they wanted to do.

Lastly and perhaps most interestingly, companies have and will use AI for much of what they create but remain quiet about it or desire to keep it a secret. A recent notable example is the deepfake ad of a woman in a car professing the need for people to use a particular body wipe to get rid of body odor. It was purported to be real, but sharp-eyed viewers suspected the fake and called out the company, which then admitted it. Or was that the brand’s intent all along — the AI-use outrage would bring more attention?

To yell or not to yell about your brand’s AI decision

Should a brand yell from a mountaintop that they use AI to differentiate themselves a la Brandtech? Or should a brand yell they’re never going to use AI to differentiate themselves a la Dove? Or should a brand use it and not yell anything? (I think it’s clear that a brand should not use AI and lie and say it is. That’s the worst of all choices.)

I lean far into not-yelling-from-mountaintop camp.

When I see a CEO proudly exclaim that they laid off 90% of their support workforce because of AI, I’m not surprised a little later when the value of their service is reduced, and the business is failing.

I’m not surprised when I hear “AI made us do it” to rationalize the latest big tech company latest rounds of layoffs. Or when a big consulting firm announces it’s going all-in on using AI to replace its creative and strategic resources.

I see all those things as desperate attempts for short-term attention or a distraction from the real challenge. They may get responses like, “Of course, you had to lay all those people off; AI is so disruptive,” or “Amazing. You’re so out in front of the rest of the pack by leveraging AI to create efficiency, let me cover your story.” Perhaps they get this response, “Your company deserves a bump in stock price because you’re already using this fancy new technology.”

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But what happens if the AI doesn’t deliver as promoted? What happens the next time you need to lay off people? What happens the next time you need to prove your technologically forward-leaning?

Yelling out that you’re all in on a disruptive innovation, especially one the public doesn’t yet trust a lot is (at best) a business sugar high. That short-term burst of attention may or may not foul your long-term brand value.

Interestingly, the same scenarios can manifest when your brand proclaims loudly it is all out of AI, as Dove did. The sugar high may not last and now Dove has itself into a messaging box. One slip could cause distrust among its customers. And what if AI gets good at demonstrating diversity in beauty?

I tried Dove’s instructions and prompted ChatGPT for a picture of “the most beautiful woman in the world according to the Dove Real Beauty ad.”

It gave me this. Then this. And this. And finally, this.

She’s absolutely beautiful, but she doesn’t capture the many facets of diversity Dove has demonstrated in its Real Beauty campaigns. To be clear, Dove doesn’t have any control over generating the image. Maybe the prompt worked well for Dove, but it didn’t for me. Neither Dove nor you can know how the AI tool will behave.

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To use AI or not to use AI?

When brands grab a microphone to answer that question, they work from an existential fear about the disruption’s meaning. They do not exhibit the confidence in their actions to deal with it.

Let’s return to Hamlet’s soliloquy:

Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

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With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.

In other words, Hamlet says everybody is afraid to take real action because they fear the unknown outcome. You could act to mitigate or solve some challenges, but you don’t because you don’t trust yourself.

If I’m a brand marketer for any business (and I am), I’m going to take action on AI for my business. But until I see how I’m going to generate value with AI, I’m going to be circumspect about yelling or proselytizing how my business’ future is better.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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