The Social Media Age Gap

The Social Media Age Gap

“I’m 35.”

That was my response to Jules, our marketing coordinator, and resident celebrity gossip expert when she asked me to write about Snapchat’s platform updates. There are two things I can always count on her for: informing me on Justin Bieber’s newest tattoos and hitting me with a blog assignment. How is a 35-year old supposed to know what’s happening on Snapchat? I can’t even remember the last time I tapped the ghost. This assignment got me thinking about age differences in social media. As the old guy in the office (don’t get me started), I find myself trying to keep up with the latest trends. Amber, a Graphic Designer on my team, is always referring to this meme and that meme, and I always laugh but immediately Google what the hell she’s talking about.

Have I graduated to a new demographic?

I’ve gone from seeing Snapchat promos of shirtless guys on Spring Break to purchasing a $50 electric toothbrush because a Facebook ad convinced me I needed to “refresh my ritual.” Everything changes as you get older and social media is no exception. I decided to tap into Snapchat to see what I’d been missing. Nothing. I had three snaps for the past four months. Two were from people I don’t even remember, and the other was a video of my mom’s dog running in circles. My lack of activity on the platform is partly because Instagram Stories took off this year, and partly because Snapchat is known to serve a younger audience. The only stories I saw on Snapchat were from two of my cousins that are still in high school, and the rest were from people who are still trying to figure out how to use the app.

The Great Age Divide On Social Media Platforms

Lately, I’m noticing the platforms seem to be dividing more and more by age. High schoolers and college kids are still running Snapchat. The older chunk of this group overlaps onto Instagram up into the mid-40s. And then that group overlaps into Facebook. Of course, this isn’t to say that all age groups aren’t on all platforms. But for the bulk of their content, this seems to be how things are stacking up. Everyone has a Facebook profile, but younger people use it for their serious updates and utilize Instagram for in-the-moment posts. Then you have all ages on Twitter, depending on interests. My boyfriend is 28 and has had success tweeting political jokes and comments. One of his more sarcastic masterpieces landed him 39K likes and 18K retweets this year, garnering hilarious replies and follows, even from celebrities. A lot of people go to Twitter for real-time updates, from breaking news to live commentary on Beyonce’s Grammy look. It seems to be a love-it-or-leave-it platform, and for this reason, advertising content is very specific here.

Approaching The Social Media Age Gap

We’re taking these shifts into consideration when thinking about our clients. Would you advertise expensive furniture or home security on Snapchat? Absolutely not. The same people posting puppy filter selfies at an Ariana Grande concert aren’t shopping for a $2,500 armoire. Place those ads on Facebook, targeted to homeowners that make the appropriate income to make that purchase. Save your ads on sour candies and fidget spinners (are those still a thing?) for Snapchat. Be careful, the holidays are coming up! Don’t exclude Facebook for these types of items. Make sure you’re targeting parents, grandparents, and other demographics that have gift-hounding children in their lives.

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