Influencer Marketing Isn't Just for Reaching Gen Z
There are some misconceptions about who influencer marketing is for, so we’ll just put it out there, then back it up with data: Influencer marketing for older audiences can yield unprecedented results. Marketers need to recognize how older audiences and younger audiences differ… and how they’re the same.
Cutting through the noise with authentic influence moments from trusted content creators is a great way to reach ad-avoidant audiences. Across demographics. And just because someone didn’t grow up with digital doesn’t mean they’re less receptive to the influence content creators earn. Indeed, older audiences might even be more receptive precisely because they didn’t come of age online.
Understanding the Influence of Older Generations
Social media users are estimated to number nearly 4.9 billion and with people spending over 2 hours a day (144 minutes) on social media, it’s fair to say that social is here to stay, even though the players may change.
Older generations are no strangers to social media platforms with eight out of every 10 (82.3%) baby boomers belonging to at least one social platform. The most popular platforms for the older US demographic are Facebook, followed by YouTube with 78% and 67% respectively, but they’re certainly not the only platforms where boomers make their presence felt.
50+ audiences are outnumbered almost 5:1 by users under 30 (47.4% of users) on TikTok. Still, given how niche-focused many content creators, and how hyper-personalized individual content feeds are, there’s an easy case to make for influencer marketing for older generations, even on platforms like TikTok.
Older generations represent incredible purchasing power. Baby Boomers in particular have money and know how to spend it, accounting for $2.3 trillion in annual consumer spending. That is a staggering figure; almost a tenth of the US GDP.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing for Older Generations
For brands willing to break new(ish) ground, influencer marketing has already proven to be highly effective in engaging older audiences. For example, Lyn Slater, @iconaccidental on Instagram, is an older content creator and influencer. Her authenticity and follower count (756K at last check) led to successful brand collabs with brands like Hermès Beauty, La Prairie and Dior Parfums to name a few. Her content is targeted at an older audience and highlights authenticity above all; she won’t collaborate with any brand that uses “anti-aging” in its marketing message.
When Mountain Dew tapped residents of Cypress Falls retirement community to launch Hard Mountain Dew, an alcoholic twist on the iconic soft drink, it took a different approach. Its “Definitely Over 21” event made waves locally with access to the launch party restricted to those 55+. The resulting social content though appealed to audiences across demographics.
One of the reasons influencer content resonates with older audiences is the relatability factor. Influencers who are closer in age to older demographics can establish a genuine connection and provide valuable insights and recommendations. This builds trust and increases the likelihood of engagement and conversion.
Influencer Marketing for Older Generations Works
Of every 10 Baby Boomers or Gen X’ers, seven have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a content creator (70% and 67% respectively). So it’s not a question of whether influencer marketing for older generations works. It’s already working.
Broad strokes, older audiences tend to be more selective in who and what they choose to follow. As a result, we see higher engagement rates among these audiences. Audiences aged 55+ engage at an average rate of 7.3%, higher than the 5.3% that influencers targeting younger demographics top out at. So not only are older generations actively engaging with creator content, they’re uniquely open to engaging influencer messages.
Furthermore, when comparing the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing with other marketing channels, brands that tap the power of influence can see 11x ROI among Gen Xers compared to traditional digital marketing methods.
How to Reach Older Audiences with Influencer Marketing
The data is in; influencer marketing for older audiences is a smart bet. Many of the same core tenets of successful influencer marketing apply. However, brands must recognize that baby boomers and gen X are their own generations with their own sensibilities.
AUTHENTICITY IS KEY
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Authenticity is the single most important factor. That means identifying the right influencers for your brand and message. Look for influencers who resonate with an older audience, and that resonate with your brand values.
BENlabs Smart Creator Matching is key here. Smart Creator Matching finds the perfect brand values and audience match to give your influencer marketing a boost.
CREATE CONTENT THAT CONNECTS
Brands shouldn’t ask content creators to pander to an audience (that’s not authentic) but they should definitely consider how their content will land with the target.
Deep audience intelligence, of the kind BENlabs Audience Cluster Analysis provides, is the key to understanding an audience. Understanding an audience is the key to creating the kind of creator content that moves them to action.
Facebook is the platform to beat when it comes to reaching older audiences. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and is ubiquitous across generations. Don’t ignore other platforms though.
As we mentioned, older audiences may be dwarved by younger generations on TikTok (less so on Instagram) but could present a huge opportunity for brands willing to write a new chapter in the influencer marketing playbook.
One strategy might be to create influencer content on “younger” platforms and boost the most successful content on Facebook. BENlabs Smart A/B Testing can simplify this process greatly, automating your paid ad strategy using the best performing content from your organic efforts across all platforms.
Don’t Count Out Older Audiences for Influencer Marketing
Older generations are more and more active on social media. Baby boomers and gen X may not be digital natives like millennials and gen Z (AKA zoomers) are. Successfully tapping influencers marketing for older generations starts with recognizing the opportunity these audiences represent.
And let’s not downplay the incredible buying power these generations wield.
It all comes down to this: influencer marketing for older generations is the exception, not the norm. Savvy marketers and smart brands see that for the opportunity that it is.
Influencer Marketing Made Simple
The BENlabs team uses proprietary AI tools to help make influencer marketing smart, scalable, and successful. From finding the perfect content creators, automating A/B testing of content, copy and CTAs, and surfacing clear, predictive analytic insights early, when they can make the most difference, BENlabs is here to help.