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From Boomers to Gen Z: Crafting Ads That Speak Across Ages

In today’s marketplace, understanding the unique experiences and needs of specific customers is essential to winning their attention. According to Sender, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. What’s more, 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number is very important to winning their business. 

At their essence, terms like “segmentation,” “personalization” and “dynamic customization” describe something that all effective communication entails: speaking to your audience in terms that engage them.

In the name of knowing our audiences so that we can better serve them with the messaging, products and services that fit their needs, this blog will tackle the advertising preferences of different demographics.

Advertising Across Age Groups


Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964, Age 60-78)

Rather than a generation that has become irrelevant in the face of fast-emerging younger generations, Baby Boomers continue to represent a key consumer bloc with valuable purchasing power.

According to eMarketer, 63% of Boomers report having a credit card and 30% fall in a high income group. Notably, Boomers are engaged and influenced by marketing channels that are often stereotyped as geared towards younger generations. This year, 36.4 million baby boomers ( 53.8% of the demographic) will use social networks. In fact, 10.8 million consumers 65 and older will make a purchase via social media. Facebook is the most popular social media app used by Boomers, butTikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, and Instagram are also growing in popularity among this audience.

Despite Boomers’ engagement and purchasing power, only 10% of Boomers see themselves represented in advertising according to a report by GWI.

According to BRK Global Marketing, Boomers place a high regard on brands that foster trust and consumer loyalty. They value face-to-face communication and still resonate more with traditional media, such as television and direct mail, along with digital channels.

Marketing Strategies for Baby Boomers 

  • Traditional TV Ads: While Boomers are adopting streaming services, they still watch a significant amount of traditional TV. Making TV ads is an effective way to reach them.
  • Print Ads: Boomers are more likely to engage with print ads in newspapers and magazines compared to younger generations.
  • Desktop Display Ads: Boomers spend more time on desktop computers than younger generations, making desktop display ads a viable option.
  • Facebook Social Media Ads: With Boomers engaging with Facebook far more than any other social media platform, launching a Facebook ad campaign with advanced targeting is a smart strategy to reach this demographic. As video ads perform well across demographics, we recommend creating Facebook video ads that slowly explain concepts in detail to align with the needs of this generation.
  • Messaging: 
    • Deliver clear and honest messaging that reflects trustworthiness
    • Include more detailed and straightforward product/service information
    • Avoid slang or terms like “old” and “elderly”.

Gen X (Born 1965-1980, Age 44-59)

Known by marketers as a generation that straddles the digital divide between digitally native and non-native generations, Gen X is both easily reached by digital marketing campaigns but picky about the content that resonates with them. Generation X currently makes up 31% of the total U.S. income.

According to eMarketer, more than 88% of Gen Xers own a smartphone. This represents 57.9 million people. 

Source: eMarketer

According to a report by Aki Technologies, Gen Xers are particularly engaged by ads on their mobile devices while multitasking or on the go. More specifically, Gen X users are most receptive to smartphone ads while watching TV (57%) or in bed before sleeping (51%). This is true for users across demographics. However, Gen Xers are also specifically receptive to ads while shopping in-store (37%), exercising (39%) and running errands (39%).

Other notable trends within this generation include their use of traditional media like listening to radio (48%), reading newspapers (62%) and watching linear television (85%). More than 58 million Gen Xers use the internet every day.

Marketing Strategies for Gen X 

  • DOOH Campaigns: Given Gen Xers’ resonance with ads on-the-go, exploring digital-out-of-home campaigns that serve dynamically optimized content in public spaces, is a smart strategy.
  • Email Marketing: With Gen Xers checking their email everyday, email marketing campaigns can be a cost-effective way to reach this demographic. Focus on  creating highly visual emails that highlight your products; Or, include a short video of your product, company or customer testimonial.
  • Messaging:
    • Include customer testimonials in your messaging to foster a sense of security.
    • Use keywords and visuals that grab their attention as this generation is often on the go when they shop.

Millennials (Born 1981-1996, Age 28-43)

Currently, Millennials are the largest and most educated generation, with 39% of US millennials holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 29% of Gen X. As the first natives of the digital age, Millennials are highly engaged on digital platforms. Around 94% of millennials use social media regularly, indicating the value of social media ad campaigns on apps like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. What’s more, 82% of Millennials interact with their favorite brands on social media and 49% follow the brands they love. 

As a generation that’s had more challenges building economic independence, 40% of Millennials have experienced living with their parents throughout their adult lives. Seventy-seven percent of Millennials agree that the economy has impacted their ability to save and spend money. As such, Millennials are cost-conscious and tend towards experience-based purchases. They also value brands associated with a cause — 87% of Millennials are willing to purchase products with a social or environmental benefit. 

Other notable facts about Millennial users: they are highly multi-platform with 55% of Millennials watching videos across different platforms throughout the day. They also value personalization with 85% of Millennials more likely to make a purchase if it is customized to their interests both in-store and on digital displays.

Marketing Strategies for Millennials

  • Social Media Campaigns: With 94% of Millennials actively using platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, tailored social media campaigns are essential. Utilize these platforms to showcase your brand's commitment to social and environmental issues, which strongly resonates with this group.
  • Experience-Driven Content: Millennials favor brands that offer more than just products—they seek enriching experiences. Create campaigns that tell a story or offer a unique experience, such as behind-the-scenes content, DIY projects, or community-driven challenges.
  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data to deliver personalized ads that reflect the individual preferences and behaviors of Millennials. Use dynamic ads that adapt to users' past interactions with your brand to enhance relevance and engagement.
  • Multi-Platform Strategy: Since Millennials consume content across various devices and platforms throughout the day, ensure your campaigns are optimized for different formats. This includes mobile-friendly designs, fast-loading content, and seamless transitions between devices.
  • Messaging: 
    • Be transparent about your products and the values your brand upholds.
    • Millennials appreciate honesty and are more likely to trust brands that communicate openly about their practices and the impact of their products. Test UGC ads and feature testimonials from real customers about products.

Gen Z (Born 1997-2012, Age 12-27)

As of 2023, Gen Z represents 20% of the US population with an estimated $360 million in purchasing power. They are, arguably, the most digitally-savvy generation, having grown up using smartphones and other digital devices throughout their lives. They care about social causes such as mental health awareness, environmentalism and LGBTQIA+ rights. In fact, 53% of US Gen Zers want brands they shop at to support mental health, while 47% shop with brands that support environmental causes and racial equity.

Source: eMarketer

Gen Zers are more likely to cite streaming video, streaming music, and playing video games as daily activities compared with the general adult population. Their social media usage differs from other generations, with Snapchat the most-used social platform of Gen Z. This highlights the power of short-form video within this generation.

Source: eMarketer

With endless entertainment at their fingertips, Gen Z does lose attention quicker than other generations. It takes just 1.3 seconds for Gen Z to lose active attention for ads—less time than any other age group. This means ad content must grab their attention immediately, or risk being passed over for something else.

Marketing Strategies for Gen Z

  • Embrace Short-Form Video Content: Given Gen Z's preference for platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, focus on creating engaging, short-form video content that can capture their attention quickly. This content should be dynamic and visually appealing to stand out in a crowded media landscape.
  • Leverage Social Causes: Align your brand with the social and environmental causes important to Gen Z. Campaigns that highlight your brand’s commitment to sustainability, mental health, or equality can resonate deeply, fostering a loyal customer base that values action over rhetoric.
  • Utilize Influencer Collaborations: Partner with influencers who genuinely resonate with your brand to create authentic content. Gen Z values transparency and can distinguish between forced and genuine endorsements. Select influencers whose lifestyles and values align closely with your brand for more effective collaborations.
  • Implement Interactive and Shoppable Features: Introduce interactive elements like polls, quizzes, and shoppable posts to keep Gen Z engaged. These features not only maintain their attention but also drive direct conversions, leveraging their comfort with digital transactions.
  • Messaging: 
    • Gen Z appreciates a platform where they can express their opinions and engage with content. 
    • Facilitate this interaction by creating branded hashtags, hosting live sessions, and responding actively to comments and feedback.


Navigating the diverse landscape of consumer demographics demands a deep understanding of each generation's unique preferences and behaviors. From leveraging traditional media for Baby Boomers to embracing mobile-first strategies for Gen Z, successful marketers tailor their approaches to meet specific generational needs. By aligning advertising strategies with the values, media consumption habits, and technological fluency of each demographic, brands can enhance engagement, build lasting relationships, and drive conversions effectively.

Ready to transform your marketing approach to resonate with audiences from every generation? Contact us to discover how our tailored creatives can amplify your reach and impact across all age groups.