There’s a misconception that older generations don’t do a lot of reading online. And many assume that today’s seniors are too intimidated by digital devices or lack the wherewithal to navigate online publications. Studies however point to this group as becoming more adept with consuming content online.
Though the seniors’ group are underrepresented in the population of digital audience, the seniors who do get online, aka silver surfers, enjoy online reading as much as younger people do. These silver surfers are the same core base of users that actually subscribe to print versions and use digital publishing apps as an avenue to read.
Originally posted by Craig Constantinou on Carat, the article below suggests that tablet publishing is the best way to target the older generation. The uptake of publication apps in tablets is increasing, and the easy handling experienced with using bigger touchscreens and user-friendly interfaces make them the preferred device of this generation.
Clearly, the emergence of digital app publications is something that older generations have taken quickly and I think this growth is likely to continue as the convenience of digital publications becomes even more ubiquitous through tablets. The older generations’ paradigm shift offers huge and profitable opportunities for publishers who wish to package content for this growing class of digital media users.
iProspect’s study, “The Ageless Internet: From Silver Surfers to Golden Geeks”, reveals that confidence in technology and internet usage is just as high in the over 50s as it is amongst 30-49-year-olds.
There is a huge between what is perceived of the older generation’s technological capabilities and tendencies and what is actually occurring – a gap we would do well to bridge.
The Rise of the Tablet
The catalyst for the now “digitally savvy” Silver Surfers may well have been the rise of the Tablet. The design and usability of a tablet device are much more in line with the habitual tendencies of the older generation, potentially making it the most important digital platform for the over 50s.
Tablets are easier to navigate, better for reading and watching video content and perhaps most critically, have a horizontal swipe and eye movement design rather than being predominantly vertical in layout. The tablet satisfies the innate tendencies of the older generation far more than any other online device.
The Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report (OFCOM), showed that the use of tablets by 65-74-year-olds trebled over 2013. This is reflected in app usage in new brands. The Guardian, for instance, sees an average age of 55 reading their tablet app, compared to an average age of 31 for the same app on a smartphone.
There is a similar trend with the Times app, which has an average age of 51, six years older than the smartphone equivalent.
Only just ahead of browsing newspaper apps and websites is the fact that Silver Surfers spend a lot of time buying online. Behind only general browsing and emails, shopping is the third most frequent activity that the 55+ age bracket does online. A survey, conducted by Experian Simmons in 2013, showed that the 55+ age bracket makes up 27% of all online shoppers.
And the Silver Surfers certainly have the money to spend… Take an audience with money to spend and add it to a new love for digital technology and you have an emerging market that should be difficult for advertisers to ignore.
Brands should not take this task lightly, however, as the older consumer of today is very different from the past. They are a lot more digitally savvy and will demand the same user experience and targeted content as the younger generations. Those who can get the formula right have a great opportunity to take their respective markets.
Keyways we can use tablets to target Silver Surfers
- Within newspaper apps – Newspapers generally have an older audience compared to most other advertising mediums and we are seeing a migration from the printed product to their tablet equivalents. Tablet subscriptions are rising as newspaper circulations are decreasing.
- Take advantage of cross platform – When planning your digital budget, don’t forget to include tablet devices for both in app advertising and tablet browsing. More and more websites are built with responsive design and so the user experience is just as good as desktop.
Lucrative silver surfers do read and pay for apps, provided they have stories of concern to them. You might be making a mistake if you overlook this potentially huge market. Realview can help you seize this opportunity by enabling you to create, monetize and optimize content for tablet devices. Publish an app with Realview today to start distributing to your silver surfer audience, free!