Who Are The 'Granfluencers' Making The Most Of Social Media?

Question: Do you happen to know any “granfluencers” -- that is, social media influencers over the age of 54?

We live in a society where virtually everyone is connected online. Generations of young people have grown up with social media in their lives, and many people earn a living through sponsored posts. But what about our older generation?

A report from Pew Research shows that 45% of people aged 65 and older in the U.S. are on social media, an increase of 37% since the start of 2010. Some of those older adults are raking in huge figures through social media influencing, hence granfluencing.

How prevalent are these older influencers, and how much exactly are they profiting off their social media presence? How does it compare to a pension?

Well,––a company that compares online casino offerings for U.K. residents––partnered with private media company, Influencer Marketing Hub, to find the answers.

The resulting study created a seed list of granfluencers featured in relevant articles from Influencer Marketing Hub, Vice, and Diply. Influencer Marketing Hub developed a social media earnings calculator used for both TikTok and Instagram accounts. The average amount was taken for each account and then, interestingly enough, compared to the average pension for the country of the granfluencer’s residence.

Let’s look at the top earners.

Pauline “Granny Smith” Kana (@rossssmith), age 95, is the head honcho for TikTok, making an estimated income of $18,080 per sponsored post. Kana, whose brand surrounds her dressing up in eccentric outfits with her grandson, has a whopping 23 million following on TikTok. 

The study predicts that Kana could earn more than the average pension in the U.S. with just three sponsored posts.

Helen Ruth Elam (@baddiewinkle), also 95 years old, makes the highest estimated income through Instagram, with $8,886 per sponsored post, which could earn her the average U.S. pension in just seven posts. Elam is a fashion icon for older folks, and even has her own catchphrase: “Stealing your man since 1928.”

In second for TikTok is Lynn Davis (@cookingwithlynja), age 73, who earns an estimated $9,121 from sponsored posts featuring homemade recipes. Davis has over 11 million followers and nearly 200 million likes.

In second for Instagram is designer Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel) who turned 100 years old this month last year. Apfel has a 2.2 million person following and earns $5,968 in sponsored posts.

It feels like social media news is typically centered around the preferences of Gen-X. Meta’s rebrand from Facebook, followed by its incessant fear of a TikTok takeover makes sense, sure, but it’s important for brands to remember the impact and presence of older adults.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 all baby boomers will be older than age 65, expanding the size of the older population so that one in every five residents will be retirement age.

In a world with a larger focus on the influencer and creator economies, the increase in older adults may provide brands more targeting opportunities in terms of channels and influencers.

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