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Why you need to rethink advertising to the over 65s


The advertising world has been slow to adapt to the idea that pensioners exist online. There’s a long held belief that to target this demographic, you simply buy traditional tv and print. Enter last week’s Ofcom report that showed a record decline in the reach of traditional (linear) TV, plus the first ever drop in daily viewing among the over 65s, and suddenly it’s a news story.

The over 65s in Britain today

In the UK, 65 has traditionally been seen as the beginning of older age because it was the start of the state pension for men, but the idea of what it means to be "old" has evolved. Many individuals in this cohort are still actively engaged in work (the UK pension age is likely to rise to 67), pursuing higher education and embracing an active lifestyle.

The over 65s in Britain today are pioneers, navigating uncharted territories and shaping the future of aging. One key example is their use of the internet, and while digital exclusion is still an issue, Age UK research recently found 75% of 65–75s are online daily with around half of those 75+ using the web nearly every day.

The perception that older generations shy away from the online world is being challenged. As technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly, these cohorts are increasingly recognising the value of digital connectivity.

Understanding the changing media landscape

While there’s a growing number of over 65s online, they tend still to be found on the open web (websites rather than closed social media networks). For example, Meta’s audience reach was lowest across 65+ males, only indexing 4.1% of available audience.

Key websites for the over 65’s are the BBC and local & national press. Trust is essential when reaching senior audiences, which is why established news brands online are the best way of reaching them. Research by industry body Newsworks found 71% of people trust what they see in news brands versus only 29% who trusted what they saw on social networks.


How to engage with content

Engaging the over 65s demographic begins with a deep understanding of their needs, desires and challenges. This generation values quality, reliability and a sense of belonging. Tailoring marketing content marketing to cater to their interests and concerns is essential for building a strong connection. Here’s 5 ways to create content that resonates…

          1. Crafting authentic and relevant content

Genuine communication is key. Develop content that speaks to the values and aspirations of the cohort. Share stories that resonate with their life experiences, building an emotional connection that goes beyond mere sales pitches.

2. Utilising nostalgia and emotional appeal

Nostalgia is a powerful tool. Incorporate elements from the past into your content, tapping into fond memories that evoke positive emotions and establish a sense of familiarity. We’ve successfully used this on a few campaigns both for long-established brands and new products and services which aim to ape the quality of the past.

3. Provide clear and concise information

Simplicity matters. Present information clearly and concisely, ensuring your messaging is easy to understand and act upon. If you want users to complete an action, explain what is needed to complete it. We’ve also reduced friction on some campaigns by explaining exactly why the information is required, and how it is to the user’s benefit.

4. Leveraging testimonials, reviews and success stories

Showcase real-life success stories and testimonials from over 65s customers. Highlighting how your offerings have positively impacted their lives can inspire others to engage with your brand. Embed Trustpilot / Feefo / carousels.

5. Engaging audiences with educational resources

Offer valuable resources such as informative articles, how-to guides, and tutorials. Position your brand as a knowledgeable source that cares about their well-being.

Engaging today’s over 65s in the UK requires a thoughtful and tailored approach as they defy simplistic categorisations. By embracing digital platforms, crafting authentic content and fostering a sense of community, your brand can form lasting connections with this incredibly valuable audience.

To learn more about how to reach them successfully, take a look a previous blog post – Silver Surfers: How to reach mature audiences online.