How Different Generations Consume Content Online [Infographic]

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Millennials as a demographic receive a lot of attention when it comes to studying online behaviors. We know how Millennials search for news online, and why your content might not be reaching them. We seem to pay less attention to the other generations, and the differences between them. However, Fractl and Buzzstream teamed up to analyze how the different generations consume online media.

Interestingly, a higher proportion of Baby Boomers spend more than 20 hours per week consuming online content than either Millennials or Generation X users. Across other time brackets results are largely similar; however, more Gen-Xers and Millennials spent about 5-10 hours consuming online content.

More Boomers prefer to consume content in the early and late morning (5:00 a.m. to noon) rather than any other time of day. Millennials and Gen-Xers prefer to access content between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. In fact, 8:00 p.m. to midnight is when the majority of content is consumed overall.

There is also a generational split when it comes to devices. Boomers prefer desktops and laptops, as do Gen-Xers. Millennials are the biggest users of mobile, but only approximately 25 percent primarily use mobile devices, while most still use desktops and laptops.

When considering content type, every generation ranks blog articles as their favorite. All generations also agree that images, comments, and eBooks rank in the next three places. In 5th place Millennials prefer audiobooks, while Gen-Xers prefer case studies and Boomers prefer reviews.

Around 60 percent of each group uses Facebook to share content. The next most popular network is YouTube, but only 10 percent of survey respondents said they used YouTube to share content. Thereafter Boomers use Google+ the most, Gen-Xers prefer Twitter, Millennials are the primary users of Instagram and Tumblr.

For more information on the most shared visual content by each generation, and favorite content genres, view the infographic below.

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How Millennials Consume News

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Some 82% of millennials say they get at least half of their news from online sources, according to a recent report from the Media Insight Project.

Millennials report getting 74% of their news online on average, with little variation by age or other demographic factors, the survey found.

The study was conducted as part of a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research; it included two components—a survey of 1,046 adults in the United States age 18 to 34 and interviews with small friend groups of millennials. “News” was defined by the researchers as “information that you need to understand the world around you”—including stories about sports, traffic, weather, current events, business, politics, and entertainment.

Some 64% of millennials say they go online to “keep up with what’s going on in the world”; this ranks as the fourth most popular digital activity after checking and sending email (72%), keeping up with what friends are doing (71%), and streaming music/TV/movies (68%).

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Popular News Topics

The average millennial reports regularly following 9.5 different news and information topics among the 24 included on the survey.

The most popular topics are TV, music, and movies, with 66% of respondents saying they follow news about these areas on a regular basis.

Sources of Information

Most millennials report using a combination of sources to get news, including social, search, aggregators, online-only news sites, and traditional reporting outlets such as newspapers, television, and specialized media.

Social media is the most used source by millennials for news about popular culture, entertainment, local restaurants, and style/beauty

Millennials are most likely to turn to reporting organizations for news about government, business, international events, health care, the environment, traffic, and weather.

Search

Some 57% of millennials say that they first turn to online search engines when they want to dive more deeply into a topic.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 1,046 adults in the United States age 18 to 34, as well as interviews with small friend groups of millennials.

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