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Web marketing and ageism

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday April 16, 2008 )

Older web surfers are thirsting for more age relevant content according to a recent study and a majority feel that online advertising is out of step with their age group.

Burst Media recently conducted a survey of over 13,000 Internet users aged 18 years and over regarding their views on age focused online content, website design, and targeted online advertising.

While the majority of people up to the age of 44 feel content on the web is relevant to their age, only 35.4% of the 45-54 year segment believe online content is focused on people in their age bracket. Even fewer respondents aged 55 years and older agreed. This attitude extends beyond content and to design; even more so.

Equally as important for those of us involved with online business, over two-thirds of respondents 45-54 years, and more than 80% of respondents 55 years and older say online advertising is focused on people younger than they are.

The Internet is certainly not just a playground for the young any more, so I feel that many web marketers are leaving cash on the table by not being more responsive to this group. After all, it’s the mature age members of our society who tend to hold much of the wealth. In an article I published back in 2005, I mentioned seniors control over 70% of all disposable income and at that point were spending over $7 billion online each year.

As the years go by, a senior citizen scared witless of the Internet is becoming increasingly uncommon. Most of the older folks I know are into it in a big way. Even my partner’s somewhat web-phobic mother has taken a crack at E-Ban – what she calls E-Bay, bless her :).

These people have time on their hands, cash in their wallets and will spend it with you if you approach it the right way. While they may have the luxury of more time; they are also gun-shy, so making things difficult for them or alienating them with hip language and attempting to force youth-oriented messages down their throats will send them running. They want a good deal, but they also want substance, respect and for you to have credibility.

Pick up some tips on approaching this group in my article, Marketing To Seniors.

Read more of the Burst Media survey on Online Ageism (PDF 190kb)


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