Best Practices for Targeting Boomers Online
Baby boomers are 76 million strong. As part of the country's largest demographic, baby boomers have always been a unique marketing target — and they expect to stay that way. After all, they control more than $2 trillion in annual spending and account for the largest share of sales across most product categories.
For marketers though, reaching out to baby boomers is something of a conundrum. They worry about "aging" their product with blatant appeals to older consumers. Boomers themselves aren't making it any easier as they turn their noses up at ads with a hint of grey hair. "Speak to me," they say, "but don't remind me that I'm aging."
The online opportunity
Online marketing may be the ideal way to reach baby boomers that are dissatisfied with the current representation they see in print and broadcast advertising. Digital media offers a way to target boomers without alienating younger consumers.
If you think people over a certain age aren't spending their time online, you're wrong. They're actually spending more time and money online than any other age group. In fact, according to a December 2010 study from Nielsen, consumers aged 50-plus comprised roughly one-third of the active internet audience in countries like the U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia and France. The U.S. leads the way with older consumers representing 32 percent of the active internet audience. Accounting for work and home usage, baby boomers spend almost 62 hours online each month.
Not only do baby boomers spend more time online, they're more likely to interact with online ads. According to Crowd Science, consumers age 55 and older are more likely to click on online ads. A 2011 study found 76 percent of respondents age 55-plus had clicked on an online ad during the preceding six months, compared to just 58 percent of 15-24 year olds.
Let's talk cash: Forrester Research reported that baby boomers spent an average of $650 online over a three-month period in 2010, compared with $581 for Generation X consumers and $429 for Millennials. It's the boomers who have the money to spend.
Related story: 4 Tips to Protect Your Brand's Online Reputation