​Estimates from eMarketer show web penetration across age brackets, giving brands the ability to target custom content effectively.

​Content marketing professionals spend countless hours perfecting audience personas to better target prospective and current customers online. While marketers often consider where audiences for a particular industry spend the bulk of their time online, age plays just as big of a factor in the overall audience targeting picture. According to eMarketer, 75.7 percent of the U.S. population goes online at least monthly. However, penetration is much higher among Millennials than any other age bracket, and brands must optimize content in unique ways to reach each niche market. Here is a breakdown of content reach by demographic.

Generation X – engaged online and off

Consumers born between 1965 and 1980 make up the Gen Xers, and 88.8 percent of these people accessed the ‘net monthly as of December 2012. More, 95 percent use mobile phones and 60.3 percent use smartphones. Gen Xers also access the mobile web frequently – 30 percent access it monthly.

Research from eMarketer also shows that Gen Xers consume a lot of web content. Nearly 75 percent of these consumers also use social media networks at least monthly, and about 65 percent use Facebook specifically. Twitter had a much smaller reach among this crowd, with only 14.7 percent of Gen X consumers accessing the network by the end of 2012. Usage is only expected to grow to 19.5 percent by 2017.

Millennials – obviously active across the web

Millennials on the web

Younger consumers are clearly more active online than their older counterparts. Millennials grew up saturated in online media and incorporate blog content and social media into their daily lives. According to eMarketer estimates, 63.2 percent of Millennials use the mobile web monthly to access various sites.

Millennials also use social media more than any other age bracket, making up the highest percentage of Facebook and Twitter users. In fact, Millennials make up more than half of all U.S. Twitter users, and eMarketer notes the percentage will remain stable for the next several years.

Baby boomers – more connected than you may think

Consumers born between 1946 and 1964 may seem disconnected from the rest of the internet world, but eMarketer discovered that nearly 60 million Baby Boomers used the internet monthly by the end of 2012. Approximately 58 percent of Boomers also use social media, including 50 percent who are active on Facebook.

Brafton has reported that 50 percent of what companies think they know about their audiences is often inaccurate. Brands that struggle to reach their markets can refer to eMarketer’s estimates to gain a clearer understanding of what channels can have the biggest impact on their ideal prospects.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.