28% of TikTok users are Gen Xers. Only 5% of brands target that cohort with influencer marketing.
Generation X is often described using modifiers like “lost,” “forgotten,” and “invisible,” and those labels also apply to the cohort’s activities on TikTok. According to research published by the media agency Wavemaker, influencer marketing campaigns are underserving Gen X, which accounts for 28% of TikTok users and possesses significant spending power.
In its report, Wavemaker (which is a subsidiary of global media firm GroupM) defines Gen Xers as individuals between the ages of 45 and 60. 92% of that group is active on social media every day, but Gen X is chronically underrepresented in media campaigns. According to Wavemaker, only 5% of brands target the former “latchkey kids” through influencer marketing, even though those consumers are now responsible for 27% of global spending.
The Wavemaker report argues that Millennials, Gen Z, and Generation Alpha receive more attention from marketers because they were early adopters of internet-age technology. “In an industry that prides itself on audience insight, this blind spot is bizarre,” reads the report. “The adoption pattern of social channels provides some clues, with youth audiences always first in and moulding the functionality and user experience, followed more sedately by older consumers.”
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The sedate nature of the so-called “slacker generation” informs its purchasing habits. Compared to younger cohorts, Gen X is less likely to dress up social posts with filters and other cosmetic effects. 45-to-60-year-old users tend to use social media to wax nostalgic and connect with old friends. They prefer informative content, Wavemaker says, and they’re less likely to see platforms like TikTok as vectors for cultural change.
Because of those generational differences, marketers can’t expect Gen Z-focused campaigns to sway Gen Xers. Older cohorts are more interested in brands they trust, while Millennials and Gen Z are more prone to impulse purchases.
Brands that cultivate a sense of trust can have success among Gen X. Wavemaker cites L’Oreal — a former client — as a company that effectively targets that cohort. The beauty brand partnered with over-45 influencers to promote its Age Perfect Rosy-Oil Serum. The resulting campaign exceeded its KPIs more than four times over.
Wavemaker’s Gen X report is available for download via the agency’s website. There are plenty more findings that we don’t have space to get into here. For those insights, all we can say is oh well, whatever, nevermind.