How to Target the 65 and Over

Posted on January 17, 2013

How to Target the 65 and Over
For the past decade or so, one of the smallest market segments active on the internet consisted of individuals over 65. Previous studies have shown that this segment spends less time online compared to everyone else, and are often less willing to make online purchases.

But more recent data suggests that the baby boomer generation is becoming more comfortable with computers and the internet in general, and are poised to become a very lucrative market for online marketers.

How Big is this Market?
Back in 2010, studies estimated that there were 13 million people over 65, with that number expecting to grow to around 70 million by the year 2030. Statistics show that one third of this group have performed a search on a mobile device within the last 30 days, and 78 percent of those who viewed video ads ended up performing a branded search. These individuals are becoming increasingly more net-savvy, and since many of them use smartphones, tablets, and computers for work, they are capable of using more than one device to surf the web..

Just Who is Making Up This Growth?
To be specific, the ‘over-65’ segment of users consists of the ‘baby boomers’, individuals born between 1946 and 1964, currently aged 48 – 64. Although they did not grow up with smartphones, tablets, or computers, they have been exposed to them through work and play, and have become comfortable with actions like surfing the web, searching, and making purchases online.

Recently, data has been gathered that shows an increase in search engine activity for the over-65 market segment, and suggests that their activity will increase exponentially as time goes on. This opens up an opportunity to reach out and capitalize on this segment through paid search across multiple devices.

Who’s Paying Attention?
Save for a few companies, like Medicare and various life insurance firms, companies aren’t eager to cater to this growing crowd. The ones that are reaching out utilize PPC as their primary lead-generation method.

At the moment PPC is the best way to reach out to this segment, so if you’re planning on using PPC, follow these tips to maximize your efforts:

  • Provide lots of information: A recent study done by Google suggests that seniors are used to processing a lot of information before making any purchase decisions, and showed that they clicked on an average of seven links prior to making a purchase. Thus, it is important that you provide your visitors with as much meaningful, comprehensive information as possible to maximize your chances of converting them from visitors to paying customers.
  • Combine Online and Offline Advertising: Seniors are among the most common respondents to direct mail advertising, so it helps to ensure consistency between your on and offline advertising campaigns. Sending a common message across both increases the likelihood that visitors will become paying customers.
  • Throw in an extra or two: Just about every store and institution offers seniors discounts on products and services. Highlighting any discounts or benefits you’re offering on a particular ad campaign will give you an edge over your competitors.
  • Use branded terms: Despite the increase in the number of computer-savvy seniors, there are still plenty out there who aren’t very proficient with computers. One of their tendencies is to put exact search terms and website addresses into search boxes, so you can capitalize on this (at least in the short term) by purchasing branded terms and domains, thus ensuring that they end up on your site and not anyone else.

Statistics have shown that as the baby boomer generation ages they become more and more comfortable with computers and the online world, and this will, in turn, result in the over-65 segment becoming a lucrative market for online advertisers. For online marketers, this means that now is a great time to start catering to this crowd while the barrier-to-entry is low.