Commentary

Baby Boomers And The Mobile Push To Action

Mobile devices have irreversibly altered the consumer path to purchase. Regardless of things like age, gender, location and income, mobile devices give everyone the same ability to connect with the world of information, entertainment, commerce and more. 

When looking to engage with mobile users, however, marketers need to understand that demographic differences can impact how we approach those connected capabilities. It’s these variations in preferences and behaviors that necessitate generationally sensitive approaches. 

When approaching Baby Boomers, marketers need to consider that the group didn’t grow up with glowing screens in their pockets and the world of information at their fingertips. According to AARP, adults born between 1946 and 1964 remain less likely to own a smartphone than do their Millennial and Gen X counterparts. Perhaps it’s a result of holding a “wait and see” attitude based on decades witnessing the rise and fall of different technologies (Betamax or 8-track tapes, anyone?). Still, the majority of boomers, 60.7%, now use smartphones. 

Still, these devices are rather recent entries into Baby Boomers’ lives, and as a result they view and use them differently. First, they often exercise greater caution when it comes to mobile interaction. Second, they may use their mobile as if it were just a little PC, which affects what functions they do and don’t use. For marketers looking to engage, I offer one way to confront both issues: Push messaging. 

Push notifications such as an ecommerce site’s sending a message that you’ve abandoned an item in your shopping cart or a travel site’s prompt that it’s time to check in for a fight are powerful ways to reach audiences. But, imagine you’re already a bit wary of your personal privacy – to receive one of these messages seemingly out of the blue might be more alienating than helpful. This is where permissions are critical. 

For most of us, app permissions are par for the course. Where we blindly hit okay and move on, a Boomer may view these asks at install as a deal killer. To avoid stepping over a trust line, try allowing the user to have a positive experience with your app first. After the user has done something like watched a video, played a game, read an article or booked a flight through your app, they’re far more likely to feel comfortable with you and more receptive to receiving further communication. 

Marketers also need to be aware that boomers use their devices differently than do other demographics. For example, while they perform the same types of information retrieval functions such as searching for restaurant reviews, they are more likely to be doing so via the mobile web. In fact, they may not fully understand when they’re in an app versus when they’re using a browser. If you’re a marketer looking to boost your app engagement, push messages are an effective way to get that boomer browser to install your app. 

Given confusion and mistrust, however, a simple “install the app” call to action isn’t going to cut it. Use the push opportunity to demonstrate the value of installing the app. One approach is to use a web push message to showcase a personalized offer or highlight an app feature that makes the user experience of the app far superior to that on mobile. Even if the user installs the app in this instance, he or she may not remember to launch it next time around. Set up triggers so that the user will automatically get another polite push the next time they visit your site via the mobile web. 

Lastly, let’s remember that boomers aren’t grandma and grandpa on their rocking chairs. The 50+ population today is active and eager to remain relevant. Push messaging can help them keep up with — or even get ahead of — their sons, daughters, colleagues and other favorite folks-of-a-younger-generation. For example, it is one thing to hear about the affordable drone that just came on the market or the latest findings from the International Space Station. With push messages, baby boomers can bask in the glory of being the first to know. 

Whether you’re an ecommerce site with cool products to sell, a news publisher with content you want people to read or even a weather app looking to increase app installs, push engagement can drive results while allowing you to be personal, respectful and unobtrusive. You’ll earn the loyalty of this demographic that wants to be timely and appreciates all that makes them smarter, faster, and that’s going to have positive impact on your bottom line.

1 comment about "Baby Boomers And The Mobile Push To Action".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 16, 2017 at 5:39 p.m.

    And DO NOT under any circumstances DO NOT ask anyone to provide any part of their social security number. Your doctor or any medical faciility does not need it for any reason. They just need your insurance information. One credit card company keeps asking for the last 4 digits to re-supply the pin number to use their card. Strangers ask for it at department stores when people forget their cards. The 50+ audience still give it out and are targeted. The first to know....no. The biggest fear is the FOMO.

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