Digital marketing continues to evolve at a rapid pace. With new technologies and shifting consumer behaviors, marketers must stay up to date on the latest digital marketing trends to effectively reach their target audiences. Keeping an eye on digital trends among older adults is particularly important when it comes to targeting the 50+ market, whose online presence has continued to grow over the past decade. Let’s explore some of the top digital marketing trends for 2023 and what they mean for marketers targeting older adults in senior living and active adult housing.
Digital marketing trend 1: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
By now, you’ve probably heard about Chat GPT and the many varieties of AI tools that are transforming the way we approach digital marketing. These technologies can analyze data to identify patterns and make predictions about consumer behavior, allowing marketers to create more personalized campaigns.
For example, AI-powered chatbots can engage with website visitors in real-time, answering questions and providing helpful information, all using natural human-like language. AI can also be used to optimize digital ads, targeting specific demographics and locations for maximum impact.
For marketers targeting older adults, AI and machine learning can help identify the types of content and messaging that resonate with this demographic. By analyzing data on previous interactions with older audiences, marketers can create targeted campaigns that address their unique needs and preferences. For example, AI could help identify the types of products or services that are most popular among older adults and help marketers create messaging that highlights these features. Automating routine and repetitive tasks using AI will become an increasingly important way to save time in order to shift focus onto strategy and creative — areas where the human touch is necessary.
Digital marketing trend 2: Voice search
COVID-19 propelled tech adoption among older adults, as Wi-Fi, smartphones, smart speakers and social media enabled families to stay connected virtually, helped mitigate social isolation and provided sources of information and entertainment.
As a result, voice search is becoming an increasingly important trend in digital marketing. According to a report from The Manifest, 64% of voice technology users ages 55+ use voice to search for information, products and services online. Many older adults may prefer to use voice search over typing due to physical limitations, making it essential to optimize content for this format to ensure it appears in relevant search results. Optimization may include using long-tail keywords, natural language and answering common questions within your content
Digital marketing trend 3: Short-form video
With so much content available, catching consumers’ attention quickly has never been more important. As the popularity of TikTok videos and Instagram reels filter down into other platforms, people are increasingly enjoying shorter, more casual videos. According to Hubspot’s State of Marketing report, video has the highest ROI of any media format — and 90% of marketers who use short-form video say they will maintain or increase their investment this year.
Many older adults prefer visual content to written content, making video an ideal format for 55+ and senior living marketers. Short-form videos are popular on websites and landing pages as well as social media. According to our research, Facebook is the most popular social media platform among older adults, with 92% of respondents reporting they use it at least once a week (60% use it every day). Facebook also has the best ROI compared to every other social platform, says Hubspot.
Some of our clients have also seen success leveraging personalized videos in email, with a 3% increase in tour to sale ratio using video email messaging.
What sort of content should you leverage in your videos? Video can be used to showcase products, share educational content or tell your brand’s story. Video can also be used to showcase your unique differentiators in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand.
Digital marketing trend 4: Value-based content
However, gone are the days of creating content around products and services without much thought as to the social, political and economic backdrop in which people are engaging with your content. Consumers increasingly want to work with companies whose purpose and values resonate with them. Now that Gen Xers are creeping into the older adult market (the oldest Gen X consumers are now 58!), they’re bringing increased preference for companies aligned with their values. According to eMarketer, 61% of Gen X respondents prefer to buy from companies that reflect their social values — although the trend is seen across generations.
What’s more, Gen X consumers are loyal: They have a high affinity for trusted brands and are willing to pay a premium for them. However, they’re less likely than younger consumers to try a new brand.
Now is the time to consider if your website and consumer-facing content showcases your organization’s values — like commitment to diversity, inclusivity and giving back to the communities you serve — and ensure your in-person experience matches the expectation your digital brand has created.