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I fall at the very end of the baby boomer generation.  I often feel more a part of the generation just behind me than to anyone born in 1946.  It used to be hard for me to picture any of my “older” relatives tweeting the latest news or checking their Facebook feeds first thing in the morning. I imagined them squinting at the screen, trying to figure out what the little icons below each post represented.

It turns out that I was mistaken.  My “older” relatives and their peers are quite a force to be reckoned with on social media!

Some interesting statistics from Liquid Lock Media

82.3% of baby boomers belong to at least one social media site. (Source DMN3)

Takeaway: they’re called “Silver Surfers” — Baby Boomers navigating the complex platforms of social media in order to reach out to each other in ways previously unknown. They’re here, and they’re growing en masse!

Baby boomers spend 27 hours per week online, which is two hours more per week than those who are between 16 and 34. (Source Colorado University)

Takeaway: they’re there — hidden, silently, among the nooks and crannies of the internet. And they’re much more active than you think!

Baby boomers are less likely to use other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. 5% of 65+ year olds online use Twitter as compared to 31% of 18–29 year olds, and only 1% of the same group online has an Instagram account. (Source Post Control Marketing)

Takeaway: social platforms that have instantaneous updates, or continuous streams of information (aka “noise”) tend to be less interesting and user friendly to the Baby Boomer crowd.

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site for baby boomers. (Source Colorado University)

Takeaway: Facebook is probably the most popular of all social media sites; it’s a great way to connect with family, friends, colleagues, and vicariously live through any and all of them.

Baby boomers take action based on what they see on social media, and most of the time it’s focused on finding more information. (Source DMN3)

Takeaway: this audience is highly intelligent, and highly inquisitive. They read far more than their younger counterparts; seeking information and answers, and traverse multiple sources to get it.

Female baby boomers are 26% more likely to share content more than once a day as compared to their male counterparts. (Source Digital Trends)

Takeaway: women in general have a stronger tendency to share content, experiences, insights, and express themselves online.

Baby Boomers are 19% more likely to share content compared to any other generation, reinforcing the notion that Facebook’s demographic is trending slightly older. (Source Digital Trends)

Takeaway: this almost infers that the Baby Boomer crowd spends more time digesting content, and passing it on based on relevancy.

Videos that are slower paced and have a great deal of information are more likely to appeal to Baby Boomers than faster paced videos with too many visuals. (Source QuickSprout)

Takeaway: this crowd is quite a bit older, and have the obstacles of aging to deal with. Content that understands these issues will be garner greater impact.

“As the baby boomers like me are retiring and getting ready to retire, they will spend whatever it takes – and they’re the wealthiest generation in our country – to make themselves live an enjoyable life in their retirement years.” –David Rubenstein

Besides the fact that there are 77 million of them (that’s roughly 25% of the U.S. population), Baby Boomers have money and want to spend it. They control 70% of disposable income ($7 trillion) and spend more money per-person than any other age group. In fact, Baby Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis.

By 2050, it is estimated that the Baby Boomers population will more than double to 161 million people. This is a large, growing, wealthy and winnable demographic.


So what do baby boomers want?

  • Boomers Demand Excellent Customer Service
    • Members of this demographic grew up in the age of consumerism. Their sheer size helped define brands, and they’re used to influencing the products and services they use. Brands who are fast to respond to questions, comments, and concerns will win their trust and business.
  • Boomers Are Tech-Savvy
    • Throw out the belief that Baby Boomers are not comfortable with social media, online shopping or mobile apps. 27 million people over the age of 55 use social networking. Over one third of all tablet owners in the U.S. are over the age of 45.  Approximately 66% of U.S. adults over the age of 50 regularly buy from online retailers.
  • Keep Things Easy
    • Engage Baby Boomers with a social media campaign that requires little effort. They are less likely to take part in complicated contests or crowd-sourced campaigns. They prefer taking polls, rating, ranking and voting items, and providing user feedback.
  • Don’t Wait
    • You should already be marketing to Baby Boomers via social media.  The number of baby boomers on social media has tripled in the past four years.  By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 it will grow to 86.7 million people, according to the U.S. Census.
    • To connect with Baby Boomers on social media, you need a fresh strategy. Make sure your campaigns provide transparency and empowerment to your audience using whichever social platforms your demographic is using. Baby Boomers are using social media and if you aren’t, plain and simply you’re losing out on business.

Baby Boomers are your demographic.  The more you understand who they are and what they want the more effective your marketing will become.  According to a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine,

“Effective marketing is often what separates rapidly growing companies from slow-growing or stalled companies that started at the same time, serve the same market and offer similar merchandise.”