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The Silver Economy: What We Know About the Senior Generations on Connected TV

Older adults are the wealthiest age group in the world, who account for more than half of the nation's spending. Here's how you should be targeting them.

The Silver Economy: What We Know About the Senior Generations on Connected TV

6 Min Read

This post was produced in partnership with Coming of Age, a Lever Interactive company that specializes in marketing to audiences over the age of 50.

Move over Gen Zs, Millennials and Gen Xers, there’s a new consumer group in town. Well, it’s not actually a new group… In fact, this audience has been around for quite some time—we’re referring to older adults, aka the “silver economy”.

According to the Census Bureau, there are ~54M adults 65 years or older living in the U.S. Of that ~54M, nearly half are Connected TV (CTV) users. Additionally, Baby Boomers (ages 58-76) have $2.6 trillion in purchasing power. Considering these stats, this segment of the population poses a huge advertising opportunity for brands from a wide variety of industries.

Lever Interactive, one of MNTN’s esteemed agency partners, highlighted the importance of this consumer group—noting that it is vital for advertisers to tailor marketing and creative strategy to this audience, who possesses high spending power and holds the majority of the wealth in the United States.

Older adults may not be up to date on the latest TikTok dances or consistently posting to Instagram, but the senior generations shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to advertising, particularly on CTV.

Older Adults Are Tech Savvy

It’s not shocking that older adults trail behind younger generations when it comes to technology ownership and social media usage. That said, the silver economy’s tech and social media behaviors are shifting in significant ways. In 2021, 61% of people 65+ reported owning a smartphone—up from 46% in 2018 and a particularly dramatic increase from 13% in 2012. Forty-four percent of the same group said that they currently own a tablet (only 6% did in 2012). And, almost half of older adults (45%) reported that they use social media of some sort—a 4X increase since 2010. To top this off, 75% of people 65+ are internet users.

When it comes to CTV, the silver economy is contributing significantly to the cord-cutting revolution. In 2021, 20% of adults 55 years of age or older said that they planned to leave their cable subscriptions behind, up from just 8% the year before.

Knowing that older adults are becoming increasingly more tech savvy and are active CTV users, it’s in many brands’ best interest to develop robust CTV advertising plans that specifically target this audience.

Use CTV Audience Building to Target the Silver Economy

In the first article of this series, we spoke about the precision audience targeting that CTV offers advertisers. The ability to hyper-target audiences can be used to your benefit when messaging to older adults. You can leverage 3rd party audiences to target specialized segments of this audience on platforms like MNTN Performance TV.

Here are some examples of audience segments that could be helpful for your advertising strategy:

1.) Segment name: Baby Boomers

  • While Millennials recently became the largest living generation, there are still ~71.6M Baby Boomers in the U.S. And, as mentioned previously, Baby Boomers have a considerable amount of generational wealth. Advertisers from all industries can benefit from targeting this Baby Boomer audience, largely made up of individuals with substantial disposable incomes.

2.) Segment name: Seniors and Retirement

  • This segment is close to or already in retirement. Many of these consumers have lots of free time and are searching for ways to fill their day—a new hobby, their next travel adventure, etc. When advertising to this group, speak to how your product/service can integrate with or enhance retired life.

3.) Segment name: Health Conscious Seniors

  • Many older adults are interested in living a healthy lifestyle. That said, it’s important to note that the definition of being “health conscious” can vary greatly from consumer to consumer. When marketing to this segment, communicate the ways in which your product/experience can support viewers in living a healthy lifestyle, no matter what that might mean to them.

4.) Segment name: Baby Boomer Travel Intenders

  • After two years in various levels of lockdown, consumers have been returning to travel in full force and Baby Boomers are no exception to this trend. Travel brands can appeal to this segment by developing clear messaging that drives purchase urgency and builds excitement in Baby Boomers who intend to travel.

5.) Segment name: Most Resilience – 55+

  • This group is made up of households that are likely to be most resilient in times of financial change. With a potential recession looming large, this segment should be top of mind for advertisers.

How to Ensure Your Message Resonates With Older Adults

By strategically using CTV as a performance marketing channel, you can get your ads in front of the right audience. However, if your messaging doesn’t resonate with your ideal customer, all of your hard work could go to waste. How you advertise to older adult audiences should be pointedly different than how you speak to Millennials and Gen Zs.

“When designing creative for older adults and seniors, it’s essential to understand what their motivators are and how they process information in the second-half of life,” – Coming Of Age, a Lever Interactive Company

Here are some tips to ensure your message resonates with senior consumers:

  • Tell an engaging and authentic story: Storytelling is paramount to any advertisement, but especially when marketing to the silver economy. To catch this audience’s attention, your creative should tell a clear story that both features your product/services and gives context around why it could be useful or provide a meaningful experience to an older adult. In addition, you’ll want to focus on the genuineness of your brand. Eighty percent of Baby Boomers reported that they value product authenticity and will look for this in the companies they choose to support financially.

    For more information about how to tell a great story in your ads, check out this post.
  • Focus on customer needs: Older adults are interested in clear product value and how it could benefit their lives. With this in mind, your ads should focus on this customer group’s needs and wants. Some key values of older adult audiences are: improved health, autonomy and control, cost-effectiveness and efficiency. If you align your brand’s value prop with any of these, your ad is likely to engage older adults.
  • Keep it simple: While ads that feature current social media or pop culture trends will resonate with younger generations, they likely won’t land with the silver economy. So, keep ad copy and imagery simple. As mentioned previously, it’s important to tell a compelling story. However, to best appeal to older adults, ensure your storytelling is straightforward and concise.
  • Embrace video advertising: Older adults may not be overly active on social media, but many are consuming video content online—70% of consumers aged 55-64 watch digital video content on an internet connected device at least once a month, with 50% of people 65+ reporting the same behavior. Knowing that the majority of older adults are not only familiar with watching digital content, but that they choose to consume content this way, advertisers should put resources into video advertising—another reason CTV is an effective channel for reaching senior audiences.

Closing Thoughts

It might be tempting to focus all of your advertising efforts on the younger generations, but because of the increasing use of various digital platforms and their generational wealth, the silver economy shouldn’t be overlooked. No matter what you’re selling, it’s vital to develop targeted CTV advertising strategies that speak directly to older adults’ needs in order to drive ad performance and engagement.