The Generational Content Marketing Gap

November 30, 2015 Karen Axelton

millennial content

You spend a lot of time creating content to help market your business — so don’t you want to make sure it’s as effective as it can possibly be? One way to improve the results of your content marketing efforts is to pay attention to the content consumption habits of your target market. How do Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers differ in their content preferences? A new study, The Generational Content Gap, has some useful insights for marketers.

The survey defined Millennials as those born 1977-1995, Generation X as those born 1965-1976 and Baby Boomers as those born 1946-1964. The results of their poll might surprise you.

Who consumes the most content? If you guessed Millennials, guess again. Baby Boomers on average spend almost 10% more time with online content than do the younger age groups. One-fourth of Boomers spend 20 or more hours a week consuming content. In contrast, the most common amount of time Gen X and Millenials spend with content is five to 10 hours a week.

How do generations consume content? Not surprisingly, Baby Boomers typically use a laptop (43 percent) or tablet (40 percent) to consume content. However, for more than one-fourth of Millennials, the smartphone is their primary method of consuming content.

When do different demographics consume content? There are some important differences here for your content marketing. In general, Baby Boomers consume most of their online content during weekdays. Millennials consume most of their content on the weekends. Gen X is somewhere in the middle, consuming content throughout the week.

Time of day is also a factor in successful content marketing. Baby Boomers are early birds, consuming most of their content in the morning. Almost four out of 10 Boomers report they are typically online between 5 AM and noon. Both Millennials and Generation X, however, consume most of their content between 8 PM and midnight.

What type of content do they prefer? Surprisingly, all three generations prefer written content to be about 300 words in length. Generation X is most likely to prefer content longer than 500 words; 20 percent prefer this type of content, and only 10 percent prefer very short content (under 200 words). Baby Boomers, however, are more likely than other groups to prefer articles less than 200 words in length.

What’s the takeaway as you create content marketing to attract prospective customers?

  • If you’re targeting Baby Boomers, you’ll need to create more content to meet their demands then you would for other generations.
  • To reach the widest overall audience, post your content between 8 PM and midnight local time.
  • If targeting Millennials, keep in mind they are likely viewing your content on a smartphone. It doesn’t need to be super short, but should be formatted for easy smart phone viewing — for example, with very short paragraphs and lots of white space.
  • Generation X has the widest range of interests in terms of content length, as well as the widest range in terms of when they consume content. If they’re your target audience for content marketing, spread your content over the week and create a variety of different content lengths.

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Author information

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at


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