AARP is opening its ad network audience to all advertisers — a strategy that has already been tested by such early adopters as Aetna, GNC, Harper Collins, JP Morgan Chase, Starwood Hotels, Wal-Mart and United Healthcare.
The reason is that advertiser demand has grown greater than the publisher’s supply of inventory, Peter Zeuschner, northeastern advertising manager for AARP, tells ClickZ.
The system combines AARP data with Scarborough Research data and demographic data. Users are segmented into age groups in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. to segment members into categories such as people in their 50s with kids in the household, or empty nesters in their 60s.
Seniors, much like Facebook moms, and young adults, are a valued constituency for marketers. Certainly, this age group has the leisure to respond to marketing overtures. The majority of seniors facing retirement (62%), say that travel is a favored activity option, according to a study from The Nielsen Company. Other preferences include caring for grandchildren, taking part in clubs and activities, gardening and volunteering, which round out the top five post-retirement activities.
Seniors can be surprisingly tech savvy as well, opening new doors for marketers. For example, seniors have a significant presence on Facebook with women in this age category up more than 175% since fall 2008 and men up almost 138%, according to the Pew Research Center and eMarketer. Varsity, which focuses on senior marketing research, points to AARP.org's year-old social networking platform - which now has 350,000 users in 1,700 groups - as additional proof that seniors have become an important social network constituency.
Twitter, though, is an exception, Amy Beamer, COO, told MarketingVOX in an earlier interview.
"We are not seeing that many tweets from seniors. Facebook, yes. Blogging, definitely yes." In some part, this is a reflection of larger trends: Facebook is growing faster than Twitter, generally. But for seniors specifically, Facebook is more attractive from a utilitarian perspective. "It is easier to keep up with grandchildren or adult children on Facebook." There are ways Twitter marketers to reach out to seniors, however, Beamer says.