The digital conversation typically starts and ends with Millennials. After all, they’re dialed heavily into technology. But as the world continues to plug in, the rest of society is adapting as well.
That includes Baby Boomers.
“People sort of forget that Boomers are the pioneers of the digital age,” said eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver in an April episode of the “Behind The Numbers” podcast. “They were the ones who put personal computers on the map and made that a common household appliance. If you think about the very famous 1984 Apple commercial, that was very much aimed toward Boomers with the kind of countercultural imagery (used). They’re the ones who made email a kind of non-tech nerd communication.”
With that in mind, we decided to take some time to examine some of the best ways to engage digitally with Baby Boomers.
Email Marketing: a time tested way to interact with Boomers
If there’s one digital platform that has a proven track record of success among young and older generations alike, it’s email.
For Boomers, email remains one of the go-to-activities of their online experience. Last year, AARP polled people around the US who owned desktop computers and tablet devices. They found that 88 percent of those surveyed, ages 50 to 59, used those devices for email.
Email’s appeal for Baby Boomers is understandable considering like most people, they provide addresses to hear word on exclusive deals. In a survey by Adestra and ClickZ earlier this year, more than 84 percent of respondents ages 56-67 said they provided brands their email addresses with the hopes of receiving special offers.
For advertisers that are looking to improve their email marketing strategy to target Baby Boomers, consider cultivating offers around these five options:
1. Free shipping
2. Dollars off
3. Buy one get one free
4. Percentage off
5. Loyalty programs
According to a 2016 report by Mapp Digital, these offers garnered the most positive feedback from Baby Boomers when it came to email marketing.
Of all the social media platforms in existence today, Facebook is most popular among the 50-and-up crowd. eMarketer estimates that close to 90 percent of Baby Boomers who use social media are on Facebook.
Studies have shown that Baby Boomers are very active users of the medium. Research by Cowen and Company found that 62 percent of Facebook users ages 55 to 64 revealed that they use it daily. Sprout Social also found similar patterns of usage, sharing that 65.2 percent of respondents 55 and older preferred to use Facebook over other social platforms.
Content that matters to Baby Boomers is what drives them to Facebook and what sparks interest in that generation is current events. A Nielsen Q3 2016 study found that Boomers spent more time consuming news and politics more than any other generation. Media Post reported they also spend nearly twice as much time as Millennials with news content.
Video has proven to be the best format for serving content to Baby Boomers. More than 65 percent of them are using Facebook as a means of viewing digital video according to a study by Jacobs Media. Short-form video also performs best among Baby Boomers, with more than 70 percent of them preferring their videos to last five minutes or less according to Media Post.
Voice technology: a platform with baby booming promise
Technology powered by voice-related artificial intelligence is a growing market. Advertisers and marketers have taken notice and are actively seeking solutions to gain leverage.
But voice assistants aren’t just a hit with young consumers. They’re also catching on with Baby Boomers as well.
“Look at Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home,” Jody Holtzman, Senior Vice President of Market Innovation at the AARP said in an interview with eMarketer. “If these devices continue to effectively combine voice interaction with artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things [IoT], then the technology will become easier to use. In that case, Boomers will increasingly use it because it will be much more intuitive.”
Boomers already make up a large share of interest in voice-assistant tech. Recent research from Slice Intelligence, a Palo Alto-based data firm, found that Baby Boomers accounted for more than a quarter of all Amazon Echo Purchases over the last two years.
As integration of voice assistants into the home continues to progress, voice technology is another platform to keep an eye on for potentially reaching the 50-and-up generation.