Social Experiment

The Science of Social Media


Where Do Seniors Fit in Your Social Media Strategy?

Remember when Facebook was mainly filled with young adults and you were horrified when you got that first friend request from someone over 30?

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 11.19.14 AMWe were convinced that now that “they” had found us, we’d have to go somewhere else. That’s all in the past, now people of all ages are on social media, which means a more authentic experience for all of us.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “the 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic migrating onto social networks.” There are over 39 million people aged 65 and older using Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. The Pew Research also found that 13% of adults 50 years and older are already using Twitter and estimate this figure to continue rising.

Seniors Are Social

An All Assisted Living Homes report found that senior citizens are turning towards Facebook mostly to connect with others, just the same as every other user.

  • 40% to connect with family and old friends
  • 30% to share photos
  • 20% for social gaming
  • 10% for contests and sweepstakes

Facebook allows seniors the ability to keep in touch with friends and family, especially with grandchildren who are extremely tech-savvy. Seniors have the same desire to stay informed on their children and grandchildren, as well as reconnect with lost friends.

As for Twitter, seniors are finding it an easily accessible resource for following streams of information, like news stations, health websites and literary publications.

They’re Here and Have Money To Spend

  • The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  • An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  • By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).
  • The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
  • Boomers and seniors have seen a decrease in their median family net worth, however they still have a net worth 3 times that of younger generations (Economic Policy Institute).
  • Boomers’ median household income is 55% greater than post-Boomers and 61% more than pre-Boomers. They have an average annual disposable income of $24,000 (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).

Seniors Online HabitsScreen Shot 2015-03-09 at 8.39.18 AM

  • Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
  • In 2012, baby boomers (47-65) spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week then Millennials (16-34) at 25 hours per week (WSL/Strategic Retail).
  • 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  • 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
  • Adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users (comScore TabLens).
  • 4 million people age 55 and over engaged in social networking with nearly 19 million of those people using Facebook (comScore).
  • Adults 50+ spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
  • The Internet is the most important source of information for Baby Boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).
  • 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  • 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).

If this data proves anything, it’s that digital marketing can and DOES reach the older generation. In fact, the Baby Boomers are the most tech-savy senior generation that has ever existed. It’s time business adds seniors to their social media strategy.

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