Laura Williams comments on the effects of an aging population on digital marketing
The British population is aging. With people living longer, this inevitably means that the retirement age is also increasing, leading to an older average work force and an older average consumer. Within the digital marketing field, this means paying more attention than ever to ensuring digital marketing strategies that are fully inclusive of all of the unique needs and challenges of this.
When it comes to digital marketing, there is a never a one size fits all solution. We as marketeers must consider the audience in depth and ensure each platform is tailored to meet the individual needs of each persona, to ultimately drive them towards the end goal. This includes considerations such as seniors are still more likely to access the internet through a desktop, or tablet despite us living in a ‘mobile first’ world. So, as savvy marketeers who have become accustomed to designing mobile first, it is in fact the desktop that should be the key consideration, where an aging audience is concerned. This isn’t true for all projects, as the key objectives for many businesses isn’t to reach the over 55’s. However, for those that are, they must cater accordingly and ensure that the primary focus is concentrated on the desktop journey.
This aging population also means we should be paying more attention to accessibility. Whilst not all seniors have a disability, with aging can often come visual or physical impairments. In terms of website design, this means that we must ensure that we don’t make websites simply to be visually appealing. They must serve their purpose, and this is to give the best user experience. For example, this may mean ensuring that there is enough space between clickable elements to make it easier for users to click, avoiding patterned backgrounds and following set rules on colour contrast guidelines as dictated by official WCAG accessibility standards. Without this, web experiences can become stressful, tiresome and lead some of our older users to seek websites that are ultimately easier to use.
The same can be said for language we use and how it is presented to an older audience. Information architecture, which is how content is laid out across the site, should be kept simple. We can’t expect our older users to follow complicated websites and be forced to search through a complex navigational structure to find the information they want. We also can’t expect every person over the age of 65 to understand new terminology. But don’t underestimate them as this could lead to a complete loss in potential customers. According to research carried out by AVG Technologies, almost half of seniors interviewed said that they felt patronised by technology companies trying to dumb down their content in an effort to reach the older market. This balance can be hard to find, how with detailed persona research, it can be achieved.
Ultimately, serving the needs of an aging population means understanding their needs. This requires thorough research to recognise the pain points of your audience and provide them with the best user experience possible. Everything from the imagery you choose to use, or the channels that you use to reach them. For example, one of the most popular social media channels for over 55’s is YouTube. So, if there is less of an emphasis on providing content through this platform than say Facebook, you are failed to engage a huge audience that have the potential to be loyal brand ambassadors.
As a full-service digital agency, EDGE Creative work with businesses to understand the consumer based off real world data, which allows us to create marketing strategies that produce results. We ensure that every touchpoint that a potential customer has with your brand is a positive one. Our team of specialists work together to execute holistic marketing strategies that work.