One of the absolute best aspects of social media (and digital marketing in general) is that it has drastically reduced our guesswork. You don't have to wonder what's working to bring customers in anymore. You look at your analytics and see exactly where they're coming from.

Now, the latest social media study from Nielsen helps shed light on how (and how much) people use social media.

Read on to learn the five most surprising insights from the study and how you can use it to market your company better.

1. Gen Xers spend more time on social media than millennials

While millennials are the generation most often characterized as addicted to their phones, Gen Xers spend about 10 percent more time each week on social media. Those between the ages of 35 and 49 spend 39 more minutes on social each week, which ends up being more than 30 additional hours a year.

Action: Think of social media as one of the most effective platforms to communicate with adults 18 to 49 years old. Also, analyze your follower demographic on social, and consider targeting Gen Xers more directly in updates, sponsored posts and ad campaigns.

2. Adults 50-plus are investing more on social

From 2015 to 2016, adults over 50 increased the time they spent on social by an incredible 64 percent. This age group now spends a little more than four hours a week on social.

Action: While social media is not the first place you'd think to connect with older Americans, they spend 20 percent of their weekly media time on social. When creating campaigns, use social to complement other media outreach efforts.

3. Consumers want to be brand advocates

35 percent of people who use social media for more than three hours each day want to show support for their favorite companies.

Action: When we think of influencers, we often choose people with the biggest following. But, consider giving away low-cost freebies to loyal followers with an average size audience. These are the people who genuinely love your brand and want to sing your praises from the rooftop — or at the very least, their Facebook page.

4. Snapchat isn't in the top 5 social network platforms for smartphones

By the size of unique users, Facebook is the biggest social platform on smartphones, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Action: Snapchat gets a lot of attention, mainly because of its growth rate. But it may not be the best place to reach your audience. It's OK not to post or focus on Snapchat if it's just not a fit for your business.

5. People want three things from your brand on social

When individuals decide to follow your brand, their biggest motivator was to find out more about products and services. Then, they want to receive exclusive offers and coupons and be able to rate or review your company.

Action: Give the people what they want! When planning your social editorial calendar, make sure you're checking offering or promoting these three categories at least twice a month.