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Growing old is a fact of life – even for marketers. So why is it that a large number of people in older generations still feel under-represented in ads and other marketing activities?

That is what Simon Kemp, CEO of Kepios and chief analyst of Datareportal, hopes marketers will give greater thought to as they plan for the future.

Kemp presented his latest findings at The State of Digital in Q4 2022 Briefing, held at the Greater Club on 15 November.

 

 

“An ageing population and declining births mean that the number of people over the age of 65 will more than double over the next 30 years, overtaking the number of people between the ages 0 and 12 by 2055,” says Kemp, referring to new data from the United Nations.

“In the United States, 53 per cent of consumer spending is attributed to people over the age of 50. And yet, just 10 per cent of marketing spend goes towards targeting this age group,” he says.

“As marketers, we’re wasting a huge opportunity,” he adds. “Data from GWI shows that very few people over the age of 55 feel represented in ads,” Kemp continues.

While the trend of an ageing population is well-known, particularly in developed countries and the West, marketers should start rethinking how they approach older audiences.

“First of all, any products and services that cater to older people are going to be increasingly valuable, because the size of the potential audience keeps growing,” says Kemp.

He advises marketers to put some serious thought into their over-50 marketing strategies. “Ask yourself, how can you as an organisation do more to address the needs, wants and desires of people over the age of 50?” 

Here are more noteworthy insights from Kemp’s findings.

 

People are spending less time on the Internet

People have cut their time online by an average of 20 minutes per day, compared with this time last year. 

One possible reason for this change is that people are becoming more considered and “purposeful” in their online habits. 

But what does this mean for marketers? “We may be wasting less of our time online, or we may be doing fewer of the things that are bad for our psyche,” he says.

But this change in behaviours presents some new challenges for marketers.

Firstly, they must avoid irritating their audiences. Increasingly, that means avoiding “interruptive” ads.

“As people become ever more conscious of how and where they spend their time online, they’re likely to become more sensitive to irritations, and especially to the sense that they may be wasting their time by watching interruptive ads,” wrote Kemp in Datareportal’s 2023 snapshot.

Instead, think of how to add value to your audience, by creating relevant content and looking for common interests in order to connect with the audience. It also becomes part of the brand identity.

 

Metaverse isn’t for everyone

Metaverse-like worlds are incredibly popular among the gaming community. There are 200 million people playing Roblox each month, with similar numbers on Minecraft, while Fortnite has 250 million players. But those kinds of numbers are almost exclusive to gamers.

User figures for other Metaverse worlds tell a less compelling story. 3D virtual world Decentraland is valued at US$1.5 billion, but the company itself reports that only 57,000 people use it each month.

“The metaverse still isn’t a compelling marketing environment for most brands out there,” says Kemp. In particular, it will take some time for the metaverse to evolve beyond gaming, and offer more tangible opportunities for value creation.

 

The hype for NFTs seems to have died

The value of trades of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has plunged by 93 per cent since its peak in late 2021, as the market adjusts to reflect the digital asset’s real value. Moreover, according to an analysis by NonFungible.com, the relatively high value of NFT trades in the first few months of 2022 may have been inflated by “wash trading”.

Wash trading is a practice whereby the same trader simultaneously buys and sells an asset that they already own, in order to artificially inflate that asset’s perceived value.

The data shows that NFTs have yet to deliver on their hype. “I would find it very difficult for almost any brand in the world to justify including an NFT in their marketing activities in the next few months,” Kemp says.

“We’re going to need to move quickly away from scams and novelty – and deliver much greater utility – if we’re to see NFTs fulfil their potential in 2023 and beyond,” wrote Kemp in the 2023 snapshot.

 

Facebook is NOT dead, and BeReal is still a tiddler

With 2.9 billion active users, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform in the world. 

It is very much alive, contrary to what the mainstream media says. 

Last quarter’s drop of 2 million active users was largely due to Russia blocking access to Facebook because of the war with Ukraine. But worldwide active user numbers bounced back again in Q3, with Facebook adding 24 million monthly active users.

On the other hand, BeReal, a new social media app that uses your phone’s front and back camera, and allows you to post the reality of your daily life, has amassed 53 million downloads since its launch in 2020. 

However, data from Sensor Tower shows that only 9 per cent of the users who downloaded the app actually opened it in October 2022, which suggests that the platform has just under 5 million daily active users. 

For comparison, that means BeReal’s active user base is just 1 per cent the size of Facebook’s, although Kemp noted that there is still a good chance that the platform may gain momentum later, as we saw with TikTok.

The average social media user uses about seven platforms each month. While user numbers unique to each platform are low, there are huge overlaps in usage between platforms. For instance, 83 per cent of TikTok users use Facebook. 

“It’s more important for marketers to focus on users on existing platforms, than channel all efforts and budget into the next big social media platform,” says Kemp. “It’s also not enough to blast ads over all social media platforms – marketers need to find their audiences and engage them too,” he adds.

 

Théâtre D’opéra Spatial (Space Opera Theatre), Jason Allen’s A.I.-generated work using MidJourney. Credit: Jason Allen

Learn to love generative AI

Lensa is the latest AI art app to make headlines. But art isn’t the only thing that AI can do – it can also generate copy with just a few text prompts. Some news outlets have outsourced simple articles to AI-powered writing robots. 

Marketers are somewhat concerned over having to compete with AI-generated content, but Kemp advises that marketers might as well embrace them and use them to their advantage.

“Don’t get caught up in the debate about whether this is “true” creativity,” says Kemp. “It’s going to be a thing – just get on with it and have fun,” he adds.

 

Will Elon Musk destroy Twitter?

Attendees, who are mainly in marketing and advertising, don’t view Twitter as very lucrative when compared with Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. They don’t see Elon Musk’s hostile takeover as a threat to their marketing plans, according to their post-event sharing session.

In fact, most brands don’t use Twitter, with one attendee noting that there is an active academic community on the social media platform. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Elon Musk’s presence could elevate Twitter into a more formidable marketing machine, says another attendee.

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