Pay Attention To The Baby Boomers

According to a new data report from StrikeSocial, though YouTube reaches 81% of all Americans on the internet, and is particularly popular among millennials who watch it more than any cable news network (39%), it isn’t just for the young, as 24% of YouTube’s monthly visitors are baby boomers or older.

YouTube visitors by generation 

  • Millennials (18–34)    39%
  • Generation X (35–54)    37%
  • Baby boomers (55+)   24%

To bridge the gap between the young and old, the report examines a year’s worth of YouTube data across 25 industries in the U.S., finding that each generation is well represented on YouTube, but they don’t all interact with video ads in the same way. Audiences with the highest view rates, have a lot of similarities between the topics that attract millennials and Gen Xers. That said, baby boomers are entirely different, says the report.



Top View Rates By Generation And Audience


Gen X

Baby Boomers











Movie Lovers


Fast-food cravers


 Fast-food cravers


Art & theater aficionados   


Cooking enthusiasts




TV lovers


Comics & animation fans   




Nightlife enthusiasts




 Comics & animation fans   


 Social media enthusiasts


Source: StrikeSocial, August 2017 

Among these three generations, the cost-per-view for YouTube advertising varies by only a fraction of a penny, but baby boomers have a nearly 10% higher view rate than their younger counterparts. Younger audiences are targeted a whole lot more. Millennials and Gen Xers received much more budget than baby boomers did in 2016 (156% and 137% more, respectively).

Some of this difference in ad spend can be attributed to the fact that boomers are a slightly smaller audience. But that doesn’t account for the entire gap. In 2016, baby boomers only received a substantial amount of targeting budget in 56% of the industry groups, even though they are much more likely to watch an ad. As a comparison, millennials and Gen Xers were well represented in 84% of the groups during the same period. 

In short, concludes the report, YouTube advertisers are targeting millennials the most, when actually this generation spends the least amount of money and is the least likely to watch your ads.

Here’s an action plan to reach baby boomers more effectively on YouTube, says the report. (This is by no means a complete YouTube targeting plan. Rather, this represents one piece of what would be a much larger campaign built using historical data and AI, says the report.) Also, the results are filtered by ages 55+.

1. Know the industries that perform best with boomers

  • Baby boomers were only a significant target for campaigns in 56% of the 25 industry groups that this report considered. Higher than average view rates were recorded for this generation in 13 of these 14 industries (with government & advocacy being the exception) 

2. Target the devices where boomers engage the most 

  • For view rate, desktop comes in first, followed by tablet and then phone. CPV remains consistent across device, with tablets being $0.001 cheaper. Still, that slightly lower cost comes at the expense of the view rate and the video completion rate compared to computers. Phones, while producing the lowest view rate and completion rate, have a much higher click-through rate by view

3. Develop a customized plan to target boomers on YouTube 

  • Your YouTube targeting plan will be largely dependent on your industry, target market and goals, says the report. Strike Social uses artificial intelligence for YouTube advertising to identify other interest groups that can help expand your reach

Finally, baby boomers are a slightly smaller but significantly more engaged audience on YouTube, says the report. Contrary to expectations, this generation not only watches YouTube advertising more often, but also accounts for nearly half of consumer expenses each year.

Q3 Data Report 2017

This data report was compiled and released by Strike Social. All referenced data is based on U.S. YouTube campaigns managed by Strike Social during 2016. Analysis of view rate and cost-per-view was done using Strike Social’s proprietary data science tools, including the Similarity Score designed for improved audience targeting.

For more from StrikeSocial, please visit here.


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