It comes at no surprise that the younger generation ore more likely to use social media through the use of their smartphones. This generation is one that has skipped the desktop and went straight for mobile devices. Through integration of such platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and the countless others it does create a shift your business needs to address for future opportunities.

The Pew Research Center and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation teamed up to collect data through telephone surveys over two four-day periods last December. At the same time the American Trends Panel surveyed such type of individuals during November.

Here is some of the key points from what they found:

  • 64% of U.S. Adults own a smart phone (up from 35% since 2011)
  • 91% of those between 18-29 use social networks through their phone (compared to 55% of those aged 50 and older)
  • 75% of the individuals mentioned they had used social media within the previous hour and at least once during the study

So then how does this break down visually? Have a look at a few of these data points:

What it means for the affiliate marketer

It may come as a shock (to many) that so few older individuals are using social media on a normal basis despite it being integrated into most smartphones (or can easily be added through the app stores).

The division in usage may soon change your focus with social media marketing within the affiliate marketing business:

  • Older individual are more likely to react logically to promotions but are big winners if you are able to get them on board since they hold a large amount of wealth vs. the young.
  • Younger individuals are keen on using the platforms so your efforts in customer service, networking, and sharing will see greater engagement but their lower income may not directly translate to greater profits.

Pew devulged this snippet of insight from within the study:

Three smartphone features in particular — social networking, watching video and listening to music or podcasts — are especially popular with younger users. Fully 91 percent of smartphone owners ages 18 through 29 used social networking on their phone at least once over the course of the study period, compared with 55 percent of those 50 and older (a 36-point difference). These young smartphone owners reported using social networking in an average of 5.6 surveys, tied with Internet use as the second-most-frequent smartphone behavior among young adults after text messaging.

Activities such as social networking, watching video and listening to music or podcasts vary substantially in terms of their overall popularity. At the high end, 75 percent of smartphone owners indicated using social networking on their phone in the previous hour at least once during the study period, while on the low end, 41 percent used their phone at least once to listen to music or podcasts. But although they differ in terms of their overall usage rates, they share the common characteristic of having especially high rates of engagement among younger smartphone owners.

Now is a time to assess the direction of your affiliate marketing business.

  • The “old guard” is beginning to shy away from these new platforms (based on their usage versus the younger generation). Sticking with them, no matter how lucrative, may prevent your business from taking the next step in its growth by adopting new technologies and commitment to social media marketing.
  • The younger generation may have expendable income but they are also the type that seeks free information and are quickly disgruntled when advertisement and other marketing motives get in the way of their content and communication.

I, for one, would try to find a balance in these two (without throwing off the other):

  • Support the legacy but take the time to discover and promote the older generation so that they may become brand ambassadors through their experience and knowledge. Having them in place will allow your business to find other like-minded, older generational individuals that will bring in the larger sales while simultaneously weeding out the low-quality leads.
  • Work with the newer generation to figure out the platforms you deem best for your business to expand toward so that you may reach these communities. Consider hiring a younger individual to bring the work force up to speed about how social is evolving. A younger, social media savvy individual on board will allow you to reach their peers, experiment with new strategies, and find a sweet spot in the marketing/advertising that can reach both types of individuals.

Once you have a firm control over how to best deal with the two groups you may then begin focusing on the areas that are most attractive to each whether it’s video, email, text messaging, voice/video calls, and even music.

All of this, of course, relies on whether you’re using social within your business. If you are lagging behind on joining the major networks then now’s the time to do it as this adoption rate continues to climb among younger generations. You existing system to reach older individuals is most likely already in place but through the adoption of social in your business you can bring those older-types to the new channels and combine the divided marketplace to one.

Article inspiration from SocialTimes of