Mother Knows Best: TV Still Dominates Online In Senior Market

Marketers see digital as the Holy Grail these days -- a better way to reach the 65+ market than that old-fashioned contraption, the television.

My Mom begs to differ.

She loves to watch television. And, although I’m in media, she thinks every DRTV spot we place was written, shot and produced by me. “I saw ‘your spot’,” she says.

So there you have it…proof positive that TV is the right place for advertisers to be.

Okay, so while my mother’s TV watching habits may not be indicative of the behavior of the entire senior market, there are other facts that support this notion.

A recent eMarketer report, “Seniors Still Lukewarm on Web Activity,” highlights that TV is still the medium that matters most, stating: “Marketers regard the 65-and-older population as a sleeping giant when it comes to digital usage. And for now, at least, the giant still mostly dozes. For media usage, TV is still the medium that matters most for seniors, far more so than for younger generations.”



Sure -- seniors are active, engaged and use the Internet. But according to the report, although many of them have mobile phones, comparatively few have smartphones. Ditto their involvement with social media.

Yet in the fourth quarter of 2012, seniors averaged almost 221 hours per month watching traditional TV -- approximately 40 percent more than the total population average.

According to SpotGenie Partners, TV will continue to dominate the senior-focused advertising media mix for years to come, saying: “Television and television advertising are not only surviving in the new media age, they are thriving.”

And the cherry on top? Growth in online ad spending won’t come at the expense of television. “In fact,” the report explains, “TV is the one medium that complements social media. It impresses and motivates its audience and ensures brand recall. TV remains the medium of choice to influence consumers and drive purchasing decisions.”

I love good quotes -- almost as much as I love my Mom.

So what is the lesson here? The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of percent of population in the U.S. And this age group continues to grow. More people were 65 years of age and over in 2010 than in any previous census.

And what is the most advantageous way to sell to this large, TV-watching audience? Producing ads that motivate, tell a story and prompt a response. Two-minute spots are an ideal way to build your brand and explain or demonstrate your product or service. Seniors insist on a great deal of information before they make a decision. Longer, direct-response spots provide the time they require to get to know a brand and determine if it’s right for them.

Coupled with this approach, is the ability to buy the right stations at the right times. A spot targeted to the right people is an ideal, cost-effective formula for generating interest and response.

Our world today is dominated by people 65 and older. And they are watching TV -- lots of it. An advertiser's dream…if approached with the right strategies for reaching and influencing this important buying audience.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my Mom is calling. She wants to know more about one of the commercials that I wrote, shot and produced.

C’mon -- if she wants to think that, who am I to argue?


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