In the age of digital marketing, choosing the right social media platforms for advertising is crucial. Beyond the obvious factors of audience demographics and advertising costs, understanding the underlying values and reputations associated with these platforms is equally vital. Our recent research study was aimed at uncovering the perceived values of users across several prominent social media platforms and provides some thought-provoking insights that can guide advertisers in their decision-making process. 


Demographics and Platform Preferences 

One of the significant findings of this research is the alignment of demographics among users of various platforms, with some intriguing exceptions. The platforms in the Meta family, YouTube, TikTok, Spotify, and LinkedIn are aligned in terms of gender representation, while Pinterest, the outlier, is used significantly more by Gen Z women. X stands out as the preferred platform for Gen Z and Gen X men, and Twitch attracts a younger male audience. 


Interestingly, Instagram and TikTok are the favored choices of Gen Z users, with a notable decline in usage among the older generations. In contrast, LinkedIn caters more to Gen Z and Millennials, with Boomers not prominently engaged on any of these platforms. Notably, LinkedIn also exhibits a regional concentration, with higher usage in the north-western part of Italy. 


Values: Unveiling the Core 

Moving beyond demographics, the study delves into the core values associated with these platforms, shedding light on the unique characteristics and reputations they convey to their users. 


Discretion, Trust, Transparency, and Closeness 

None of the platforms score significantly for these values, indicating that users do not perceive any of these social media platforms as notably strong in terms of transparency, trust, or discretion. This observation highlights the relatively uniform or consistent nature of these perceptions across the platforms, rather than emphasizing nuance. It’s worth noting that users may not feel exceptionally close to these platforms either, signifying that building deeper connections with users is a continuous challenge for brands within this digital sphere. 



Facebook’s strong positive concentration in the Community and Familiarity categories highlights its role as a digital town square, where users connect with friends, family, and communities they identify with. Despite the negative rating for Innovation, Facebook’s enduring appeal as a communal space is noteworthy. 



Pinterest’s positive spike in the Creativity category suggests that it’s a treasure trove of inspiration and innovative ideas. This niche position sets it apart from the competition. 


The Quest for Uniqueness: 

Interestingly, no platform stands out as particularly unique, suggesting that users do not perceive any platform as distinctly different from the rest. This opens up an opportunity for platforms to differentiate themselves more prominently. 




Values Across Age Groups 

Unpacking values by age group further illuminates how users perceive these platforms and the unique associations they make. 


Gen Z: 

TikTok is the go-to platform for Gen Z, strongly associated with “Fun.” Pinterest captivates with “Inspiration” and “Creativity,” while LinkedIn lacks a strong association with any particular value for this generation. Facebook is not seen as an innovative platform by Gen Z, and Twitch appears closer to “Entertainment” and “Community.” 



Facebook is embraced as a “Community” and “Familiar” platform by Millennials, with a stronger association of “Closeness” compared to other generations. LinkedIn, like with Gen Z, is not considered an entertainment destination. 


Gen X: 

Gen X users appreciate the “Community” and “Familiarity” offered by Facebook, while Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify are valued for their entertainment content. As expected, LinkedIn maintains its professional image. 



For Boomers, Facebook serves as a source of “Entertainment,” “Community,” and “Familiarity.” YouTube is seen as a source of knowledge, fun, and entertainment. 


social media values per generation


In conclusion, understanding the values perceived by users on different social media platforms is crucial for advertisers. It not only helps in crafting more targeted and effective ad campaigns but also in aligning the brand message with the platform’s inherent reputation. While demographic factors and advertising costs are undoubtedly significant, this research suggests that considering the values and reputations of social media platforms can provide a competitive edge in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. Advertisers, in turn, can leverage these insights to create more resonant and targeted campaigns that align with their audience’s values and expectations, fostering a stronger brand-consumer connection in the world of social media advertising.