Every generation contributes to the global conversation around brands, products, and services. Recent Bazaarvoice study though uncovered interesting truths about the differences in behaviors among Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

In general we know that consumers are primarily positive when they review products online. Overall, 82 percent of all consumer opinions are positive. Even though Boomers contribute the most online, this sentiment stands as we look across the generations.

The study pulled age group data from January to March 2012 across 6 million consumer-contributed online opinions in multiple countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom, US. And here is what it uncovered:

  • Millennials are more negative when it comes to product sentiment. They give more 1-star reviews than Gen X or Boomers.
  • The most negative Millennials in our analysis hail from Ireland, where 12% of them give products 1- or 2-star ratings.
  • New Zealand’s Millennials are the most positive, giving products 4- or 5-star reviews 92% of the time, which beats the 82% global average by 10%.
  • Millennials’ share of product feedback globally falls below their global share of the population by 3%.
  • Canadian Millennials are overrepresented in their share of product feedback by 12% relative to their population, while UK Millennials are underrepresented by 11%.
  • Australian Millennials give 89% of products 4- or 5-star ratings, while Boomers give 84% of products 4- or 5-star ratings.
  • In Germany, Millennials contribute two percent more fourand five-star reviews, and two percent fewer one- and two-star reviews compared to Generation X. German Millennials rate 85 percent of products very positively.
  • In fact, in France, Generation X is the least positive, with only 73 percent of products receiving four- or five-star ratings. In comparison, French Boomers rate 87 percent of products very positively, and Millennials rate 83 percent of products very positively.

Jason Dorsey, CEO of The Center for Generational Kinetics notes: “The different ways each generation engages in the online consumer conversation can be as revealing as what they are actually saying.”

The recommendations are:

Let social data reveal who’s really using your products: You may think your core audience is the Boomer generation, but is that who’s talking about you? For instance, in Mexico and Canada, Millennials are overrepresented in UGC relative to their population by 12 percent and 7 percent, respectively. In the UK, Boomers are overrepresented by 7 percent relative to their population.

Get specific: When you learn what different generational cohorts are talking about and emphasizing by way of their UGC, you can create targeted marketing that emphasizes what each generation cares about, featuring words from their generational peers that align to those themes, needs, and concerns.

Pay attention: The fact that consumers take time to give feedback reveals that they care about the products and what to emphasize the differentiators that are important to them. Learn what’s important to them, then use that knowledge in your marketing and product development.

Uncover key words consumers use for your products, then use them in marketing: use consumer language to power meaningful motivations to buy.

Image: Andrew Mason, via Flickr