As the advertising industry taps into social media influencer campaigns to reach younger Gen Z consumers, only 5% of brand spend on influencer campaigns is targeted at Gen X individuals. Despite making up almost a third of 27% of global spending and accounting for over a third or 31% of the population third, only one in 10 Gen X individuals feel represented in the advertising they see.
These were the results of Wavemaker’s recent study into the global Gen X consumer titled 'Finding the Gen X Factor' which also showed that typical influencer campaigns perform poorly with this group. Gen X has experienced 30% lower retention rates, 20% fewer interactions with the content and 47% lower impact on brand opinion than Gen Z and millennials.
The report also highlighted that Gen X makes up 28% of TikTok’s user base with a majority, 92%, of Gen X using social media every day, which questions why this group is often ignored by brands and the advertising industry.
“Gen X presents a huge opportunity for brands – they’re highly engaged, loyal and wealthy consumers – and shouldn’t be overlooked by advertisers,” said Zoe Bowen-Jones, senior insight director at Wavemaker.
Influencer campaigns should not be one-size-fits-all
One way brands can engage with Gen X consumers on social media, it said, is to leverage Gen X creators in their campaigns to achieve 43% more brand site visits and 73% higher relevance scores. Posts from Gen X creators also performed better due to more in-depth and informative content that is delivered in a softer tone compared to the shorter and direct tone employed by Gen Z. Interestingly, posts by Gen X creators are on average 75% longer than those of Gen Z and millennial creators who make 10 to 25 second long videos and 25 to 45 seconds long content respectively.
However, Gen X individuals are also open to content from younger and older generations with content by millennial influencers performing almost as well as content from fellow Gen X influencers.
Brands also need to take note of how Gen X consumers use social media with many using it as a place to connect, chat about things they’re interested in, to buy and sell, to be entertained and to serve their local community, like a town square. This means that they are quicker to scroll past branded content that feels at odds with the town square character.
Interestingly, Gen X consumers consider 27% fewer brands than younger audiences and tend to be more driven by need in contrast to the impulse buying mentality found in Gen Z consumers and millennials. As Gen X are less likely to make a purchase on a whim and consider trust the most important factor in their buying decisions brands must provide a high-quality ecosystem to build and sustain trust to close a sale. Social media should be seen as part of a whole ecosystem rather than be solely relied on for this group.
“When it comes to engaging Gen X audiences, brands need to think long-term, long-form and community-based content to gain their trust, loyalty and ensure they feel represented,” added Bowen-Jones.
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