How native content helps consumers 50 and older make purchasing choices

For communicators looking to reach the millions of consumers in this powerful demographic, native ads offer a helpful advantage. Here’s how to get the most from your campaign.

You’re probably focusing on native advertising a lot these days—and wondering if you’re getting your money’s worth.

Native ads are integral to the media mix, with all native formats combining to represent 63% of total US digital display ad spend. It’s highly effective with target audiences, and works especially well among consumers over the age of 50.

What is native?

Native content can mean many different things. It can incorporate digital, print, video, interactive infographics, virtual and augmented reality, and more. What sets native apart is seamless brand and media alignment, creating a “sweet spot” where a brand can engage, educate and inspire in a trusted media environment.

Native content can turn awareness into engagement—and ultimately into sales. Consumers are 47% more likely to make a purchase recommendation and 27% more likely to make a purchase as a result of native advertising.

Since more brands are using this powerful tool in their media mix, here are five ideas to maximize your investment:

1.  Context is key—so look for brand-safe environments.

Brands that have run native content in a highly targeted environment for consumers over age 50 have attracted significant audience attention, seeing up to three times the industry average for time spent, according to Polar Media Benchmarks 2018. Native advertising captures the halo effect of a high-affinity editorial or programming environment to amplify a marketing message—building positive sentiment and trust for your brand.

2.  Align your goals with consumer needs.

Americans over the age of 50 are the 111 million consumers who spend $7.6 trillion annually—covering more than half of all air travel, new vehicle, and CPG sales. As it turns out, having grown up with 60-second TV spots and copy-intensive ads, and having led the digital revolution, these consumers are especially receptive to new information, products and services they experience through native content.

Connect with them by meeting a need—solve a problem, offer inspiration, provide education—in a way that’s true to your brand and the campaign environment.

3.  Follow creative best practices for your target audience.

The 50+ consumer demographic is smart, sophisticated and selective. If a native ad does not speak directly to them, they might pass it by.

Tailor your message by considering the many life stages and milestones that occur after age 50.

4.  Integrate your message across channels.

Complement your native efforts with touchpoints at every step of the purchase journey, providing a holistic, cross-channel experience. Consumers over age 50 consult an average of 18 valued sources of information for health care alone, according to AARP research. So maximize your visibility for full-funnel impact.

5.  Measure more, sooner.

Native content offers a wide range of measurement opportunities that can provide you with rich consumer insights. Pageviews and time spent are the key metrics that help measure awareness and engagement, while other types of interactions can be tracked as well, including video views, scroll depth and banner clicks.

If you develop your campaign and KPIs in tandem, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your goals and your content will be more authentic.

Native advertising offers many benefits to marketers and consumers, and it’s highly effective with an older consumer demographic. It has an important and unique role to play in your marketing strategy.

Deborah Sprague is the director of creative services for AARP Media Sales.

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