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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

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Which Social Networks are Boomers and Seniors Using Now?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

The Pew Internet & American Life Project kicked off their New Year’s celebration on December 30, popping the cork on a new report that details which social networks are used by baby boomers, seniors and other adults. The data reinforces Creating Results’ Social, Silver Surfers research showing that Facebook is the dominant platform for people over 50.

Per Pew, 73% of all American adults who use the Internet now also use social networking sites. Which social platforms are frequented by boomers (represented by the 50-64 year age group) and seniors (found in the 65+ group)?

Chart - percentage of online adults by age group using facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and linked in

(Click on the chart above for a larger, share-able image.) Pew’s report points out that use of Facebook by people over 65 increased 10 percentage points since 2012.

As we noted in Social, Silver Surfers, Creating Results’ new ebook on the digital practices and preferences of older adults,

“… we believe that if you had to choose only one social network for your mature marketing efforts it should be Facebook.

It’s clear from our survey and from documented usage patterns that Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla in the social networking zoo.

When it comes to unaided awareness, Facebook is thought of first, it is thought of the most. 85% of all respondents (even those who don’t use social networks at all) answered Facebook when asked to name platforms that they were familiar with.”

Our data showed a higher use of Instagram and LinkedIn by older social networkers, as the following table illustrates:

Chart - social networking platforms used by online adults over 40

Creating Results posed this query as an unaided question, so you’ll note that we discovered 70% of older adults see YouTube as a social platform. We also learned a significant number of elders see email as social. Don’t overlook these channels!

It’s a New Year, but it seems an “old” platform remains dominant for boomers and beyond. How will you apply this information to your digital marketing program? Please share your thoughts below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 10/8/12

Monday, October 8th, 2012

This week’s round-up of the top 50+ resources, links and articles has a bit of a non-profit, planned giving tilt. To be expected, as we were live tweeting several sessions from the excellent National Conference on Philanthropic Planning in New Orleans last week. But never fear! There’s something for everyone whose passion is marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Allons! (let’s go)

* MOST CLICKED: Jon Gelberg’s recommendations of 5 Tweets to keep in your rotation. Here’s a summary –

  1. Check out this interesting article (stop selling, start sharing items of mutual interest/relevance)
  2. Here’s some news about our favorite charity (demonstrate your membership in and support of the larger, offline community)
  3. Check out the cool people who work for us (people like to hire likeable people)
  4. Check out this hilarious video (show a sense of humor)
  5. We hear you (respond thoughtfully to all feedback — positive and negative)

Read the post: http://bit.ly/SFrSIy

* MOST SHARED: The Pew Research Center has new data on news audiences, including these profiles of, from youngest to oldest, who is watching or reading what. As Pew puts it “In general, the regular audiences for most television and print news outlets tend to be older than the public as a whole.” This blog frequently addresses the fact that more older adults watch TV every day than use the Internet, read email or participate in online social networks. If you’re considering advertising in newspapers or on broadcast news, here’s where you’ll find your targets.

Chart detailing the ages of news audiences - print and TV - new data from Pew Research Center.

“Regular readers of the New York Times also tend to be younger than average. Nearly a third (32%) of regular Times readers – are younger than 30.

In contrast, political talk shows, particularly conservative talk programs, have older audiences. Large majorities of the regular viewers of Sean Hannity (66%) and The O’ Reilly Factor (64%) are 50 and older. Just 43% of all Americans are 50 and older… Liberal talk show audiences also skew older, but not as dramatically. Still, among regular Hardball watchers, 59% are 50 or older, and 28% are at least 65. Among regular Rachel Maddow viewers, 57% are 50 or older and 25% are at least 65.”

Read the full report on trends in news consumption: http://bit.ly/QImikE


* A LITTLE LAGNIAPPE (something extra) … Some highlights from the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning annual meeting:

– Stelter research shows that when it comes to current planned givers vs prospective givers, age & marital status are bigger indicators than income.

– There is no gender difference for planned giving among Millennials, but there is a significant difference among baby boomers and seniors. Currently, baby boomers give the most to charity, Millennials the least.

– Social giving has more than doubled in the last 5 years. An Idealware survey showed that 47% of nonprofits using social media for their marketing do no measurement at all.

– “Tracking the metrics forces you to think about the next question to be answered, to test & be more effective,” said Rebecca Scott of Tufts University in presenting a great case study on email vs. postcards vs. Facebook ads — a case study with, of course, terrific metrics to show ROI and impact.

– “Philanthropy is personal and transformational,” said Michael Kateman,


Ça va! (that’s enough) We welcome comments below and look forward to sharing additional insights with you next week.

Facebook, Internet Users More Similar to Offline Population Ages Than Ever

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

With all the excitement over the Facebook IPO, Heather Dougherty at Experian Hitwise today rounded up 10 stats about the social network that are key to understanding its reach and impact. We focused in on Stat #5 – a demographic breakdown of Facebook users, which include 19% younger Baby Boomers aged 49-54 and 20% older Boomers or seniors aged 55+.

The chart (below) shows the visit share by age for the big four social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. And the age breakdown of the (US?) online population.

As eMarketer has noted, “The average age of Internet users is rising in tandem with that of the general population.” It appears so far Facebook is the online social network that most closely mirrors the age diversity of our offline world. Twitter continues to appeal to GenX and GenY. And LinkedIn continues to be an excellent if underappreciated network for reaching 55+ adults – 57% of users are baby boomers or beyond!

Chart from HitWise showing Facebook visits by age, including baby boomers and seniors

I was surprised to see Google+ have a larger audience over the age of 55 than Twitter, but on second thought its design and functionality is so similar to Facebook, it might feel more comfortable to older users.

Stat #8 wasn’t a surprise to us. As Dougherty writes, “Facebook” is the most searched term in the US and Facebook-related terms account for 14% of the top search clicks.” We shared that insight with a team of social media marketing ambassadors from a leading continuing care retirement community just two days ago. It was terrific to see their excitement for how the network could promote deeper relationships with their senior prospects and adult children.

If your organization needs help turning social media stats into social media strategies, please check out these related posts (or give us a call – we’d love to help).



Gaining Boomer and Senior Marketing Insights from Social Media

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Using social media as part of your marketing program? Most likely you are. May 2011 research from Brian Solis revealed that two-thirds of marketers are conducting social media advertising activities. More and more retirement communities and other organizations targeting baby boomers and seniors are jumping on the social media bandwagon each day.

What doesn’t seem to vary is the struggle to act on or measure what your brand gains from social media. As eMarketer notes:

From the early days of the internet, the prospect of detailed metrics fueled the promise that online advertising could yield unprecedented insights about customer preferences and behavior. That promise has only partially materialized. True, online channels provide feedback that offline media cannot, but marketers are still grappling with how to make this input work toward the bottom line.

From my presentation to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) last week, here are tools and tips that can help marketers spot and make sense of customer preferences and behavior.

We’ve focused on resources that are built-in or free, and are accessible to organizations like our clients – continuing care retirement communities, estate planners and 50+ housing developers with a lot of heart but little budgets.

Free Social Media Tools You Should Be Using


* Facebook Insights: built-in and free, this tool helps you analyze your brand’s page metrics.

– Find out which messages hit (and which miss) their mature marks through “people talking about” and noting which posts attract the most engagement.

– Demographics and locations reported by Facebook also offer (free) insights. We discovered one client’s site was attracting more adult children than prospects themselves. And for another, we found that Friends were quirkier than we thought – one report showed a healthy portion of fans used Facebook with the language set to Pirate. Now our posts contain more humor and get more engagement than before.

* Facebook search: type your brand name into the search bar and then, on the results page, click on Public Posts. As Search Engine Journal put it, “what you’re left with is real time results for wall posts from all (public) profiles or pages on Facebook!”


* TwitterCounter: track follower growth – yours or a competitor’s – for free on a weekly or monthly basis. Upgrade and you can see who is retweeting or sharing your tweets.

* Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Argyle Social, TweetAdder and Co-Tweet are tools for managing your Twitter account. All offer varying degrees of monitoring as well. Our personal favorite is HootSuite. You can track clicks and shares, and set up searches for key phrases (your brand name, your brand plus words such as LIKE, LOVE or HATE). Reports can even be exported and shared, a time-saving feature for smaller organizations.

* Twilert: Baby boomer blogger Linda Bernstein swears by this service, which delivers a regular email update with tweets containing keywords related to your brand, product or service.

3. LINKEDIN:Statistics on Groups in LinkedIn give insights for marketing to baby boomers, seniors

* Company page Analytics: see at a glance the interest your brand is generating and what kind of traffic, segmented by industry or other selects.

* Group Statistics: visualize your group members by seniority, function, location and industry.


* There are a number of paid social media monitoring services out there, including Trackur, Radian6, sysomos, Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Alterian. You might first want to read a few comparisons (like this one from FreshMinds) to see what the strengths of each system is.

* A FREE and easy tool is Social Mention: Per MarketingSherpa’s Adam Sutton,

“… more than 80% of marketers say measuring brand sentiment is important, yet fewer than half actually track it. You can start gauging sentiment today by spending two minutes playing with Social Mention.

This fantastically simple and free tool provides a stunning amount of data, including a sentiment analysis of your online mentions. You can even click “positive” and “negative” to see a list of results used to generate your score. How cool is that?”

Very cool indeed.


What tool do you feel is cool for marketers focused on baby boomers and seniors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



  • *Part 1: Following the True Leaders: Your Boomer and Senior Customers
  • * 41 Percent of Americans are on Facebook (and 98% have at least one TV set)
  • * Social Networking Habits of Baby Boomers and Beyond
  • Top Mature Marketing Tweets of the Week

    Monday, November 7th, 2011

    Tweet, tweet! Twitter now has more than 100 million active monthly users and Creating Results is one of them. Tweeting under the handle @CreatingResults we’ve tweeted more than 7500 times with links to new research, best practices, tips, insights and articles about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Twitter bird

    We’re honored that nearly 1000 people choose to follow and share our tweets. But, despite the rapid growth of Twitter, we know a lot of people interested in marketing to the mature consumer aren’t yet using this social/micro-blogging platform. Pew Internet & American Life has estimated that 13% of online adults use Twitter while 92% use email.

    So, we’re introducing a new blog feature. Every Monday, we’ll bring you those tweets that were most shared/clicked/actionable/discussed during the past week. All with greater detail and delivered straight to your inbox.

    Top Tweets This Week:

    1. MOST CLICKED: Elderblogger Ronni Bennett (www.TimeGoesBy.net) tells the editors of the New York Times to stop using the word “elderly” and perpetuating ageism. http://bit.ly/sPr98L

    2. MOST SHARED: Associated Press & LifeGoesStrong Poll: Baby Boomers prioritize living near adult children or family (73%) over living in a community with people “of your own age” (27%) in retirement. http://prn.to/tlHMtT

    3. We love this idea from the LeadingAge 2011 Conference: Elie Wiesel promotes partnerships between children and elders in nursing homes. http://bit.ly/rKZcVl

    4. We have @ChuckNyren to thank for this chuckle: 40 things that make old people happy … according to the stock photography so many organizations draw from. http://bit.ly/sRNKNa

    (When you’re ready to invest in authentic photography that will move the sales needle, be sure to download our eBook with national “Photo Finish” research.)

    5. Using Facebook for social engagement? You need to know that Facebook is showing your brand messages to more people, but fewer times. AdAge: http://bit.ly/s9tgbC

    6. A new AARP surveys finds baby boomers and seniors are worried about today and tomorrow – specifically their own financial well being. http://bit.ly/uQ1d80

    7. Do you want to reach Gen X and baby boomers? Consider radio advertising between 6a and 9a. Research from Magid Associates gets broken down at http://bit.ly/tTqGB8

    Tell us what you think of this new feature! Use the comment section below or … Tweet @CreatingResults. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

    The Age of Social Networks? Mature

    Thursday, March 25th, 2010

    “In social media, not only do women rule, but it seems that the middle-aged are Social Media’s largest share holders,” writes Brian Solis in a new blog post.  Solis shares new data from a Pingdom study of 19 social networks which found the age groups that dominate the social Web are 35-44 (Gen X, 58%), 17 and under (21%) and 45-45 (younger Baby Boomers, aka Gen Jones, 16%).

    In the past, we’ve counseled those marketing to Boomers and beyond to go slowly and be choosyPingdom’s studycould help marketers make some of those choices.  They found that the 35-44 age group “dominates the social media sphere,” representing 25% of the users across 19 sites.  This age group is the largest segment on 11 of the 19 social media sites.  Those 45-54 are tops on another 3 out of the 19 sites Pingdom reviewed.


    Where will you find …

    The average user of a social networking site is 37 years old, reports Pingdom.  They then calculated an average age for each of the sites they studied.

    * Looking for Millennials?  Try Bebo – average age 28.4.  MySpace and Xanga are close behind.

    * For the not-so-Silent Generation, you might have luck with Classmates – 8% are over 65, making Classmates the site with the largest share of this mature cohort.

    * Does (Gen) X mark the marketing spot for your organization?  61% of Facebook users, and 64% of Twitter-ers are over 35. 

    * We were surprised to discover 20% of Friendster users are between the ages of 45 and 54, which makes them trailing edge Baby Boomers (also known as Generation Jones).

    * And LinkedIn, as we’ve noted before, appears your best bet for Boomers in general.  Average age is 44.3 years old.  That’s up three years since we shared our thoughts on LinkedIn as a mature marketing vehicle in September of 2009.  More than 35% of are between 45 and 64 years old.

    Be sure to read Pingdom’s post for a chart with the average ages for each of the 19 sites under review.  Useful information for those preparing their social media marketing strategies.

    P.S.  Creating Results has been conducting research into the attitudes of 40+ consumers towards social media.  We recently opened up our survey to a national audience, putting a 3-minute poll online.  Whether you love or hate social networking, we’d love to hear from you!  Follow this link:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/233384/40-plus-social-media

    Can Twitter Drive Sales with Older Generations?

    Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

    Part 2 of a series on using Social Media to market to Boomers and beyond.


    The media appears to have fallen in love with Twitter (heck, even my 97-year-old Nana has heard of Twitter by now). Who’s on Twitter? The New York Times reports that younger Boomers are fueling Twitter’s growth, while Sysomos data suggests 81% of all Twitter users are 29 or younger.  How important is Twitter for marketing to Baby Boomers and seniors?

    Paul Briand of the Examiner notes “Baby Boomers 55 to 64 are Twitter users on a slightly lower level, but at a greater frequency than users aged 18 to 24. That’s because Twitter has become less of a social network and more of a marketing/social network.” We see that as in keeping with this cohort’s lifestage; it’s a time in their lives when they are focused on both social and vocational development.

    The New York Times points out mature consumers and technology adoption are not actually strange bedfellows.

    As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter’s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology’s success has proved to be largely a myth.

    Adults have driven the growth of many perennially popular Web services. YouTube attracted young adults and then senior citizens before teenagers piled on. Blogger’s early user base was adults and LinkedIn has built a successful social network with professionals as its target.

    At Creating Results, the jury’s still out on Twitter’s effectiveness as a business engine for effectively motivating seniors and Boomers to buy.


    Social Media and Marketing to Boomers, Seniors

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

    Curious about the role social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can play in your Boomer marketing programs?  When deciding where to budget your dollars and effort to reach mature consumers, consider the research/statistics.  Also, consider the similarities between the offline and online behavior of Baby Boomers and beyond. 

    “Businesses and mature consumers often approach challenges and decision-making in a similar fashion – cautiously,” we wrote in our summer newsletter.  As Creating Results works with clients on comprehensive internet marketing strategies, we recommend acting like the Boomers and Silent Generation members we target:  go slowly and be choosy.

    Over the next few posts, we’ll be sharing stats on how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or niche sites are used by mature (40+) consumers, along with some generational marketing insights to help your organization reach its goals. 


    eMarketer statistics identify which social networking sites are used by Baby Boomers, WWII, and Generations X, Y and Z:

    Networking Sites Used in US by Generation.eMarketer 

    (Where are the Silents? Anderson Analytics either lumped the roughly 59 million people born between 1925 and 1942 in with the WWII generation or this cohort is very, very quiet indeed.)

    The reasons for joining a social network are quite similar across the generations, per eMarketer:


    Video Watching Grows Across Age Groups; Twitter’s Still Unproven

    Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

    Twitter, the current media darling, is not effective with older consumers.  Online video such as YouTube, no longer the new kid on the block, is growing its audience across all ages.  That’s the bottom line from two recent reports, and useful data for marketers deciding where to invest time/money to motivate Boomers and Beyond.

    eMarketer shares the results of LinkedIn/Harris Interactive research on the effectiveness of Twitter.  They find quite a gap between the perceptions of advertisers vs. consumers.  We note that only 31% of all internet users are familiar with Twitter.  And 80% of those 55 or better say they’re not familiar enough with Twitter to form an opinion.  Now that’s a gap!

    The Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that online video is becoming pervasive, with growth across all age groups.

    [The findings] mark an important moment in the evolution of America’s television and movie-viewing habits.

    The use of video-sharing sites currently outranks many other headline-snatching internet pastimes among American adults. Watching online videos on sites like YouTube is more prevalent than the use of social networking sites (46% of adult internet users are active on such sites), podcast downloading (19% of internet users do this) and the use of status updating sites like Twitter (11% of internet users do this).


    0609 OnlineVideoGrowthAges.PewInternetSpecifically, the Pew data points to growth in online viewing among “silver surfers.”

    Among internet users ages 50-64, 41% now say they watch video on sites like YouTube, which is up from 34% in 2008. Likewise, 27% of wired seniors ages 65 and older now access video on these sites, compared with just 19% who were doing so at this time last year.

    More mature consumers, for now, are clearly saying “Make mine video!”

    Psst:  Have you seen the one where Craig Ferguson explains advertisers’ obsession with youth?

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