Social Media: It’s Not Just The Early Bird That Catches The Worm.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Switch the kettle on and make a brew, or get showered and dressed? Well, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 34 and you live in the UK, it seems the answer to that question is you check your social media profile. That’s the conclusion reached by Lightspeed GMI, the leading provider of online access panels for global market research. In a study carried out by the company and reported on eMarketer, it found that most people in that age bracket checked their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ accountants before they even got out of bed in the morning.

In the November 2014 study Lightspeed GMI found that 26.9% of 18 to 34 year old respondents checked their social media profiles as soon as they woke up.

Only after doing that did they even think about getting up and getting on with their day. Maybe that shouldn’t really come as such a surprise: after all, this is a group which has effectively grown up with social media. But what may come as a surprise is the survey’s finding that 23.2% of the respondents prioritised checking their profiles over brushing their teeth. If there’s a moral there, it’s that if you’re targeting that particular segment of the market, then the early bird will catch the worm.

What about older generations?

Are they up bright and early and checking their Facebook news feed? Well, they’re certainly up with the lark, but checking Twitter doesn’t seem to have the highest priority. The survey found that only 8.5% of 35 to 44 year olds checked in first thing in a morning. The rate drops off even further the older you get apparently. Only 3% of 45 to 54 year olds and 1.6% of over 55s reported using social media first thing in the morning. What’s more, the older social media user – those aged over 55, reported that were likely to take social-free days occasionally: 25% of users aged over 55 regularly go for days without checking their newsfeeds: by comparison only 2.8% of the 18 to 24 age group admitted to that.

But what does this mean for the future? What impact will social media have on the age ranges in the coming years? Well, eMarketer is predicting that by 2018 mobile phone social network user penetration will  stand at 94% amongst 18- to 24-year-olds – quite a rise from the current level of 86%. However, that rise pales into insignificance compared to the age range that is often neglected by marketers – the over 65s, or the grey foxes. The predicted rise for mobile phone social network user penetration amongst the over 65s is 28% by 2018. User penetration currently stands at only 10%. So maybe it’s time for marketers to think again and reassess their strategies.

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