Why You Need to Know Your Audience

In Marketing by Amy Tribolet

Whether we want to believe it or not, some of our favorite social media platforms are older than we think. Recently, both Twitter and Facebook celebrated double-digit birthdays. With the aging of these platforms has come the aging of users. To some, this idea may not seem very important. But in this instance, age does matter.

Age and some other demographic variables have considerable impacts on the way users engage with and perceive information. For marketers, advertisers, designers and other media or communication professionals, age is an important factor in day-to-day efforts. For example, if a high percentage of your users or viewers are older, then their age is going to affect the way you construct or disseminate messages. Additionally, if a majority of your target audience (for sales or viewership) are concentrated on one social media platform, you need to know which platform it is to be successful.

According to an infographic in an Adweek article, females take the majority on Pinterest (81%), Instagram (61%) and Facebook (57%).  As a marketing or adverting company, this information is valuable in that it provides your company direction in terms of which social media channels to use.  So if you were developing a campaign for a new beauty product, you would most likely pick female-dominant media platforms.

The infographic also reveals that both Facebook and YouTube have seen aging in users. In Fall 2015, the median age of YouTube users was 38 and 40 for Facebook users. Could this be related to the fact that both of these platforms are relatively older compared to platforms like Twitter or Instagram, thus users are more familiar with them? Maybe the more simplistic view and usage of these platforms keeps ‘older’ users around?

What may not be surprising is the fact that some of the newer platforms like Instagram have a majority of millennial users. The study (where the information used in the infographic comes from) by media and consumer research company GfK MRI, found that 67 percent of Instagram users are millennials. Perhaps the rationale for this is the freshness of the platform and how that freshness is more attractive to millennials. Or it could be that newer platforms, generally used more by millennials and teens, are platforms that parents have yet to master.

Other important variables that were accounted for and reflected in the study include median household income, gender and education level. As with age, these variables can play a huge role in the way people use or don’t use social media along with the content on these pages. Therefore, if you want to successfully engage with or reach your target audience it is best research them. The goal of this research should be to find out what platforms, design styles/elements, layouts, visuals and wording work best.

So basically, if you want to launch campaigns or engage with your publics on social media pages start by segmenting the age groups and then picking the appropriate social media channels. This segmentation gives your company or client a greater chance in achieving goals like increase of sales, awareness, or engagement.

About the Author

Amy Tribolet

Amy Tribolet is a fourth-year student with a major in public relations and minor in international development and humanitarian assistance at the University of Florida. She writes for the College of Journalism Distance Education Program and serves as a public relations intern for the Giving Foundation for Children.