“Baby boomers aren’t technology Luddites. More than 60 % of them consume socially created content. You’ll find them leaving their opinions on Web sites and joining social networks.”
- Jeremiah K. Owyang (@jowyang), researcher with Forrester Research
There is this perception that adults over 50 only dabble on the Internet, but research is finding that they are spending more time online and interacting in robust social networking communities. Baby boomers using social networking sites such as Facebook™, MySpace™, LinkedIn®, Twitter and YouTube™ are not as uncommon as you may think.
According to The Pew Internet and American Life Project, boomers now account for 35% of all Americans online. A consumer survey of U.S. consumers, from the NPD group, Inc., a leading provider of reliable consumer research, shows that 61% of baby boomer Internet users (age 44 to 61) had visited sites that offer streaming or downloadable video, while 41% had visited social networks.
Baby boomers are finding social networking sites appealing for the same reasons most people do- to stay in touch with people. They are interested in reconnecting with old friends and classmates whom they haven’t talked to in more than 30 years. They enjoy sharing photos with family and friends and staying connected to their children and grandchildren. High school and college reunions are also being organized via Facebook. Nielsen Reports that moms (aged 40-50 with 3+ children) are heavy online shoppers who stay connected via social networking more so than mom’s 39-54. Some are even replacing e-mail with social networking sites for staying in touch with people on an ongoing basis. In addition to sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, they are also using boomer-specific sites like eons.com, boommj.com, boomertowne.com and the aarp.org social network.
According to Facebook, women over 55 remain the fastest growing group on the site, and growth among the teen and college-age set has been relatively paltry. In absolute numbers there are now even slightly more members between the ages of 45 and 65 than there are 13-to 17-year-olds. Analytics company iStrategyLabs has examined the demographics stats from Facebook’s Social Ads platform, and they have found staggering results. Interestingly, they found that the number of users aged 25-34 has grown 60.8%; the number of users aged 35 to 54 has grown 190.2%, while the number of users older than 55 years has grown a tremendous 513.7%.
Baby boomers are making themselves known in the social media space of the online world. Marketers who neglect to speak to them in the language they are now adapting to will miss out on a rewarding opportunity!