As marketers further embrace digital platforms and continue to craft online campaigns, you would think that grandma and grandpa are the big losers, right? Children and grandchildren alike have heard the questions before:
“What is the Facebook?”
“Why are you tweeting like a bird?”
“Do I need a board before I can surf the web?”
Senior citizens’ proclaimed digital media hardships have even inspired in-depth tutorials such as this:
While seniors’ interactions with the digital world can occasionally be the subject of a good laugh, it’s important to recognize that this demographic many online marketers choose to forget is worth more attention than a simple chuckle. Your grandparents may not share your knack for applying the perfect Instagram filter, but they are picking up on digital platforms faster than it might take you to create your next 100-like status. The data speaks for itself: More seniors are logged onto the Web than ever before, and in an engaging manner that should make marketers think twice about ignoring the old folks.
According to a recent study, MediaPost reports 52% of U.S. seniors (ages 65+) are “engaging with online content on the daily basis.” Throw that figure into the computer and you’ll find 52% means more than 20 million U.S. seniors are scrolling through digital media every single day. That’s a big number to disregard. The same MediaPost report states 77% of seniors “now view the Web as the number one source for gathering a variety of content,” illustrating a significant majority of seniors are becoming comfortable enough to rely on digital media as their primary information platform. Turns out, Gladys and Don down the street may know how to navigate Google Chrome a little better than you expected.
More importantly for marketers, seniors are taking action after viewing online content, especially after watching videos. MediaPost points out 57% of baby boomers and seniors were “inspired to visit a retailer” after viewing an online video and 37% “called a business or organization as a result of seeing a particular online video.” An eMarketer report adds that nearly 64% of seniors made at least one purchase online within in the past year, and “spent an average of $297 on online purchases in the prior three months.” This data shows seniors have the capability to be influenced and spend money online, granted you take the right approach.
Not forgotten in the hubbub surrounding the digital advertising market for seniors is the bruising reality that senior citizens do not consume online media like their middle-aged and young adult counterparts. According to eMarketer, nearly 57% of the U.S. population uses a smartphone, compared to only 23% of seniors. The 65+ age demographic still has some distance to cover in social media usage as well: 67% of the U.S population will visit a social networking website at least once a month, while a significantly less 36% of seniors can say the same. Even though seniors may represent a smaller portion of the digital audience pie, the big takeaway is that the millions of seniors who do surf the web are engaged and ready for your marketing pitch.
As a part of building a digital campaign catered to seniors, it’s important to understand the strategies available to better reach your target audience. At Mediaspace Solutions, we understand the benefits of local digital advertising and work with businesses to identify local strategies that can increase campaign visibility online. Check out our eBook titled The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising to learn more about how local digital advertising can enhance your next campaign.
Kyle Stowe is a marketing intern with Mediaspace Solutions. He will begin his senior year at the University of Minnesota this fall majoring in journalism with an expected graduation date of May, 2014. His previous internships include stints with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. You can connect with Kyle on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.