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Trying to reach baby boomers and seniors online? Here’s the latest look at how 50+ adults use the internet — and how you can use this data to improve your marketing strategies. See the full infographic: What Are Older Adults Doing Online?

1. Who’s Online?In a recent survey, Pew Research Center found 87% of adults ages 50 to 64 are online, while 66% of those 65+ reported using the internet. If you dig deeper, you see that it’s really the 80+ segment of that upper age band that’s bringing down the average – 82% of those aged 65-69 and 75% of 70-74-year-olds are online. However, if you want to reach the 80+ prospects don’t forget to target their adult children – they are online and reachable.

Attitudes are also changing: “older Americans who use the internet tend to view technology in a positive light and incorporate digital technology into their everyday lives,” says Pew Research Center. Perhaps most importantly, about “three-quarters of internet-using seniors say they go online daily – and nearly one-in-ten go online almost constantly.” All of this means that a dynamic digital strategy is a must.

2. What Are They Doing There?

More boomers and seniors are taking action while online. According to research done by Google and Ipsos, search engines are the No. 1 way mature consumers are gathering information. Your marketing plan needs to include strong search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to ensure you’re being seen by your prospects. They also found that “relevancy, familiarity, and trust are equally important in influencing which search results are clicked on,” so make sure you’re staying true to your brand when creating online content.

Mature consumers have a wide variety of interests with the disposable income to pursue them. Make use of display ads and sponsored content, which will showcase your brand on sites across the web.Don’t forget about the power of a strong email campaign. Baby boomers and seniors still use email to share information, and 85+ adults continue to identify it as a social network. With a smart, targeted campaign, you can increase your reach within the segment. Just remember not to flood their inbox! Our 2016 Social Silver Surfers study found that 35% of older adults complain about being hounded by sales.

Use automated (drip) email campaigns to nurture new leads, with triggered workflows that identify when a lead is shifting from a discovery stage of the purchase journey to an action stage. Train your sales teams so that they recognize the line between “persistence” and “pest.”

3. Are They Using Social Media?Don’t get caught in the mindset that online videos and social media only appeal to Millennials and generation Z! More and more older adults are engaging with brands via social media, but they still have reservations and need to be nurtured differently.

Ensure your social media strategy aims to enhance their experience with posts that inspire and educate — not just sell. Give your audience multiple avenues to connect, including the phone, and whenever possible, award them special offers and invitations. Everybody loves a deal — and it’s consistently the top reason why mature consumers say they fan/friend/follow a brand.Google and Ipsos found that 3 in 4 boomers/seniors took action after viewing an online video, including searching online for more information, clicking on an associated link or forwarding a link or video. If you create good content, older adults will notice and share. Identify, recognize and thank influencers who extend your brand in a positive way through their reviews, shares and comments.

Even better — mature consumers are being influenced to purchase by social media!

4. How Do They Get Online?

According to a 2017 Pew survey, seniors place a high value on the importance of home broadband service. The vast majority of adults ages 65 and older say they believe having access to high-speed internet at home is either essential (42%) or important (49%).

Pew also found that “4 in 10 seniors now own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013!”

Key Marketing Takeaway

Be sure you’re spending your time and money where your 50+ prospects spend theirs. The prevailing attitude of older adults is that the web is a useful tool. They’re ready to engage online — are you?

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Download the Infographic Here: What Are Older Adults Doing Online?

About The Author

Susan Monahan