For Advertisers, Older People Are the New Youth

AARP goes where the money is

Now that advertisers have realized that older consumers are worth targeting—it helps that they’re one of the few groups that still has money to spend—the AARP is launching a new online network to chase those dollars.

The group has built a network consisting of and more than 600 complementary sites, like and, that it says will reach 40 million boomers. Using a data management platform, AARP says it can further slice and dice that audience by characteristics like age, gender, income, and buying behavior to meet advertisers’ goals. “What this allows you to do is have this highly efficient ad play with scale,” said Peter Zeuschner, AARP’s Northeast media sales manager.

The time seems ripe for such an offering. Marketers have begun to realize that older folks have money, are active, and are less brand loyal than previously believed, said Brad Adgate, svp of research for Horizon Media. But not all ad categories are ripe for the picking. Zeuschner sees AARP’s network being especially popular with finance, health, travel, and food advertisers. But beauty tends to be print-centric, and technology companies still aim younger, even though older consumers have been shown to be heavy spenders on tech.

Advertisers will also need to keep in mind the psychology of their audience. “Boomers don’t want to be targeted physically,” said Lisa Phillips, senior analyst at eMarketer. “They don’t want to see themselves in ads.”