How Different Generations Consume News and the Impact on Marketing Strategies

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Americans have a strong appetite for news consumption, but how and when how they get their news varies greatly across generations. Understanding how different age groups seek out news can be beneficial for professional service firms looking to get in front of new markets or stay engaged with a particular audience. We have analyzed the characteristics of each generation and how their respective interests and values can influence your marketing.

How Baby Boomers Consume News & Content

Where: Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964 / 60 – 78 years old) lived the majority of their life without the internet and social media, so it’s no surprise they tend to rely on traditional sources like TV and radio for their news. However, this group is on social media more than most may think, with Facebook as their preferred platform followed by YouTube. Despite this activity on social networks, 48% say they don’t regularly use these platforms for news. It’s worth noting that of the Boomers going online for news, they are more likely to visit outlets directly to be informed, e.g.,,,, etc.

When: Boomers typically consume most of their content between the hours of 9 am and 12 pm or early evening from 6 pm to 8 pm.

How: After television, most Boomers use a desktop or laptop to get their news versus a smartphone.

Core Values: Competitive but prioritize teamwork, stability and professional development. They prefer structured communication methods like phone calls.

How Gen X Consumes News & Content

Where: Gen X (born 1965 – 1980 / 44 – 59 years old) was the first generation to crossover from the analog to digital age. So, while they pay attention to television news, they are more technologically advanced than Boomers and are typically more active on social media. Facebook continues to rank as the most engaged platform, followed by YouTube and then Instagram.

When: The target time to reach Gen Xers is between 8 pm and midnight when nearly 35% are engaged.

How: Television is in the mix, but with 91% of Gen Xers using the internet, they are primarily relying on their desktops and laptops for news.

Core Values: Work-life balance, autonomy and adaptability, with an appreciation for direct, concise communication.

How Millennials (or Generation Y) Consume News & Content

Where: Millennials (born 1981 – 1996 / 28 – 43 years old) were alive before the internet and smartphones but grew up as teens and young adults alongside the development of the internet. They have the highest social media consumption amongst adults and spend over 250 minutes per day on apps or the internet via a smartphone. It’s reported that this generation is more likely to use social platforms for consuming news because it’s brief, to the point, and highly personalized given that they have chosen to follow the account for real-time alerts. Too, they aren’t being asked to log-in or pay for a subscription. Within social media, Millennials are most often connecting with businesses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Video and podcasts are also important to Millennials, and this points to them being more open to getting news from a range of sources. A survey reported that on average, Millennials obtained news from approximately six different traditional sources or social media platforms weekly.

When: The two most popular times to reach Millennials are 8 pm to midnight followed by 9 am to 12 pm.

How: Millennials spend an average of only 12 minutes a day watching TV news because 90% are getting their news digitally, according to Nielsen. This group has a higher smartphone use than Gen X and Boomers, and can often be found using two devices simultaneously, such as a phone and laptop.

Core Values: Appreciate transparency and seek meaningful connections. Preferences include open, collaborative, digital communication.

How Gen Z Consumes News & Content

Where: Gen Z (born 1997 – 2012 / 12 – 27 years old) is the first generation to have the internet and smartphones always accessible, which has led to an ability to easily adapt to new technological advancements. They are often referred to as “digital natives,” meaning they lead the way in media trends and engagement. It’s no surprise then that they are consuming most of their news via social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, etc. Like Millennials, they also listen to and trust podcasts. Of note, Gen Z considers recommendations from friends, influencers and strangers online more trustworthy than legacy outlets.

When: Los Angeles Times reported that Gen Z’s consumption changes throughout the day. Often, they will start their morning scrolling TikTok and turn to YouTube around lunchtime –watching videos for an average of 7.2 hours a day! In the evening, they are watching “TV” but not for news; it’s predominantly apps like Netflix or Hulu to tune in to a series.

How: Smartphones, computers and tablets, such as an iPad, reign king for Gen Z. They have shorter attention spans than other generations so it’s common to have two or more devices out at once.

Core Values: Entrepreneurial mindset and innovative. Preferences include real-time, instant messaging and visual communication.

Similarities Across All Generations

While these generations may use different platforms at different times of the day, there are some consistencies across all four age groups that can be helpful for marketing purposes.

  • Video Content: Video is becoming increasingly popular across all generations. If you’re not creating video content as part of your marketing mix, it’s time to start.
  • Social Media: As evidenced above, most everyone is accessing social media for news purposes. One age group may spend more time on Facebook versus TikTok, but there is an opportunity to reach every audience on social platforms.
  • Digital Savviness: Younger generations are clearly more comfortable with technology, but even Boomers are picking up tablets and heading to sites like YouTube.

The Marketing Takeaway

Unfortunately, there is no magic marketing bullet to get in front of all these age groups. Like most things in life, preferences still come down to the individual person, so how and when someone gets their news will be dependent on their interests, education level, access, etc. Leveraging available data can guide you in tailoring marketing approaches for each demographic. Before you assume, “Boomers are never on YouTube, so my firm doesn’t need to have a presence there,” do your research and make educated decisions on where you want to allocate resources. Consider the core values of each age generation as you craft content. This can enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and help to ensure they are paying attention to what your firm is saying.

Partner with a Trusted Los Angeles Marketing and PR Firm

Berbay Marketing & Public Relations has nearly three decades of experience providing law, real estate and financial firms with marketing and public relations services that propel your business forward. Berbay’s dedicated team has demonstrated success securing media placements, achieving nominations and rankings, revitalizing websites and social media, obtaining speaking engagements and more.

Looking to grow your firm with Los Angeles’ proven Marketing and PR team? Contact Berbay at 310-499-2584 or


How Well Do You Know Generational News Consumption Habits?

Quiz Answers

  1. False. Most Boomers get their news from television as they rely on traditional sources versus digital sources like social media. 
  2. True. Gen X is most active on Facebook for social engagement.
  3. False. Millennials actually obtain news from approximately six different sources.
  4. False. Video content is popular across all generations and Boomers can often be found accessing YouTube.

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