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Getting Found Online: How Boomers use the Internet

By September 20, 2012May 13th, 2019

Are your Marketing Efforts Reaching the Great Generation of Boomers and Beyond?

We’re continuing to look at how marketers can reach the great generation of boomers and beyond. This is the eighth installment in a series as we continue our exploration to the many facets, tips and tricks to “Getting Found Online.” Our seventh in the series can be found here.

Continuing our series on Getting Found Online, today we’ll look more closely at how Boomers are spending their time online and how best to reach them…

For a quick, entertaining and informative look at how this generation is using today’s technology, check out this great video from AARP:

 

  • The fastest growing group of Americans are over 65 (and that’s 1/3 of the entire country)
  • Boomers have 3 trillion in disposable income
  • 85% of people 50+ use social media
  • 32% of social media users are 45+
  • 75% of 39-75 year olds smartphones
  • 54% use a computer as the device they use most often to communicate
  • Smartphone owners age 55-64 rose 86% = 6.5 million
  • Smartphone owners age 65+ rose 127% = 4.4 million
  • Facebook users age 55+ grew 10X in just 3 years
  • Boomers are using dating sites more than any others, up 39% in the last 3 years

Baby Boomers are set to become one of the most powerful consumer groups online.

There’s no doubt boomers are online (and loving it) like never before!  They’re also holding our country’s greatest amount of disposable income. Even more telling, according to a study by eMarketer, Baby Boomers aren’t as technology challenged as one might think. According to the report:

  • At 78.2%, baby boomers spend more time and money online than any other generation and this percentage is likely to stay the same through 2015.
  • By 2015, 40% of all Boomers will use the internet via mobile.

This study shows that in 2010 an average of $650 was spent online by Boomers over a three month period, whereas people aged 35-46 (Generation X)  spent on average $581 and people aged 18-34 (Millennials) spent $429. According to Forrester Research, consumers ages 56 to 66 spend the most online among all the generations.” Enough said?

Knowing that the Boomers are a worthy force to be reckoned with, what is their enthusiasm for social media?

Although email is still the preferred channel of communication among boomers, the statistics suggest that social media is swiftly catching on and baby boomers are jumping on the social media train. According to Pew Internet, “Social networking site use among seniors has grown significantly over the past few years. In fact, more than 60% of them consume socially created content: From April 2009 to May 2011, for instance, social networking site use among internet users ages 65 and older grew 150%, from 13% in 2009 to 33% in 2011. As of February 2012, one third (34%) of internet users ages 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18% do so on a typical day. Among all adult internet users, 66% use social networking sites (including 86% of those ages 18-29), with 48% of adult internet users making use of these sites on a typical day.

Baby Boomers are the New Facebook Users

A few years ago it would have been hard to imagine people in the 55+ range adding “friends”, liking “pages” and “posting” comments, yet, according to Forbes, the fastest growing age segment in Facebook includes 55-64 and 65+ users. With boomers becoming more tech savvy and having little time restraints, this generation has more freedom to join online communities and engage in discussions, thus giving them a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. Relationship building is an important component of this that carries a significant amount of weight. For brands that have a strong Facebook presence, understanding this will not only allow them to capture and retain this market, but will also help them to build customer-specific campaigns.

Your Digital Boomer Marketing Campaign

As you can see, there is great incentive and value in marketing to this great generation. However, as you might have guessed, the current 55+ generation doesn’t think “old” anymore. You are marketing to a generation, not an “age bracket.” Today’s boomers are tech-savvy, relationship oriented, eager to experiment with new products, willing to make online purchases and have the money to spend.

Be sure to join us next week for our final in this series: Getting Found Online! We’ll explore what core values appeal to boomers, drives their online behaviors, and what drives their buying decisions.

Next: Boomers Online Behavior: How Boomers use the Internet

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.