It should be no surprise that there is a generational difference in the content that influences people to visit a company’s website from social media, according to a new survey from creative portfolio website Visual Objects.

One key difference involves eye-catching visuals. Images are more likely to persuade millennials to click through to businesses’ websites from social media (33 percent), while offers/promotions are more likely to influence baby boomers (38 percent).

Experts advise businesses to pay attention to both preferences: “Younger generations are a little skeptical with things like promotions and time-sensitive deals,” said Jeremy Durant, business principal at B2B agency Bop Design, in a news release. “They want more straightforward, direct ways of doing business.”

Social media promotions don't influence millennials—here’s how to reach them

It’s important for businesses to pay attention to millennials’ content preferences as this generation gains more buying power. “If you’re going after millennials with promotions, that may not resonate that well versus a more direct sales approach,” Durant said.

Most people use social media to visit a company’s website

Eighty-one percent (81 percent) of people surveyed click through to businesses’ websites from social media, suggesting it’s in a company’s best interest to make it easy for customers to visit their websites from social media.

“What you’re typically trying to do with social media is taking blog and news content that you’re regularly creating for your website and amplifying that to a new audience,” Durant said. “Social media gets your thought leadership content in front of the right audience and drives them back to the website.”

People prefer online channels when contacting businesses

Most people prefer to use email (31 percent), social media (21 percent), or contact forms (19 percent) to contact a business for a general inquiry.

Only 9 percent of people prefer to contact businesses with chatbots, but experts predict the popularity of chatbots will increase.

Social media promotions don't influence millennials—here’s how to reach them

“Live chat provides a fast and easy way for people to get a quick answer to a question about a service or product,” said Mikel Bruce, CEO and founder of San Diego-based web design and development agency TinyFrog Technologies, in the release. “It is less daunting than a phone call.”

Generations are split on best method of contacting businesses

Millennials are most likely to use social media (26 percent) to contact a company, while baby boomers are more likely to use a contact form on a company’s website (30 percent).

“Millennials have grown up with social media,” said Paul Regensburg, president and creative director of Boston-based branding and website design RainCastle Communications, in the release. “It’s a more comfortable space for them. Social media is how [they] get information.”

Read the full report here.

Visual Object’s 2019 Consumer Social Media and Website Survey included 537 people in the U.S. who use social media at least once per week.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.


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