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Members of Gen Z are more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to say they typically learn about brands or companies from social media, according to recent research from Sprout Social and The Harris Poll.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted between January 27 and February 4, 2021, among 1,006 adults aged 18-74 in the United States who use at least one social media platform.

More than half (55%) of consumers of all ages say social media is one of the most typical ways they learn about brands or companies. But there are stark differences among generations: Some 78% of Gen Z say social media is one of the most typical ways they learn about brands or companies, compared with only 35% of Baby Boomers.

Social media ranks second to TV/radio advertisements as the most influential format on brand discovery. However, a greater share of consumers say they'd rank social media over TV/radio advertising in the future as a preferred way of learning about brands and companies.

Most typical and most preferred ways to learn about brands or companies

Some 68% of consumers of all ages say social media enables them to interact with brands and companies.

Again, there are significant differences among generations: 76% of Gen Z say they strongly/somewhat agree that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies, compared with only 48% of Baby Boomers who say so.

Opinions about engaging with brands on social media

Some 43% of consumers of all ages say their use of social media to discover new products, services, and brands has increased in the past year, and 42% say their use of social media to learn about products, services, and brands has increased in the past year.

Use of social media has increased or will increase in the next 3 years

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted between January 27 and February 4, 2021, among 1,006 adults aged 18-74 in the United States who use at least one social media platform.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji