Reaching Millennials & Boomers with Retargeting


There has been much debate lately about reaching Baby Boomers and Millennials online, but little in regard to retargeting and how you can reach either or, in the event you’re ambitious as we bet you are, both.

First – How They are Different

Millenials are their own medium. But when it comes to their devices each plays a different role – laptops have become their catalog and link to retail as well as an information center and a preferred device for watching TV. Tablets fall in the middle of laptops and smartphones, and their phones have become much like an extension of themselves – always on, always connected. They don’t necessarily share the same passion for tangible media like magazines, as their older counter parts did and do.

Boomers have more time and disposable income to spend. Older boomers (aged 56-66) spend the most money online, an average of $367 in a three month period. They are still fans of traditional media – spending an average of 174 hours a month watching TV, while Millennials only spend about 107 hours a month watching TV. This generation will grow more rapidly than Millennials between now and 2030 – boomers will expand 34%.

Second – How They are the Same

They spend a lot of time on digital devices

  • Millennials spend 59% of their time on smartphones, 35% on tablets and 70% on laptops. 91% of Millennials are regular Internet users
  • Boomers are integrating digital media into their daily lives – not only are they using devices to gather info, after getting info boomers: look for even more info, make purchases, visit sites, contact businesses/organizations & talk to others about what they find. 79.5% of boomers are regular Internet users

They have massive spending power

  • Millennials have an estimated $200 billion spending power
  • Boomers have 70% of all US disposable income

How to Target Millennials with Retargeting

Millennials buy things for 3 reasons:

  • What they can do with it – take the iPhone for example – the product has meaning and is relevant because of it’s features
  • What they can tell others about it – Millennials love to share and be social – sharing creates a bond
  • What having it says about them – does it reflect their values? Is it a status symbol?

– Utilize search and site retargeting through Facebook Exchange to target users on Facebook after they have: searched for products/info online and visited sites

– Utilize search retargeting combined with creative that speaks to Millennial’s core values to target them online. This messaging has to be relevant/specific to your product of course – see Campbell’s Go below as an example. Aim your messaging at them in a way that resonates as they browse the web

Campbells Go

– Millennials tend to look online for entertainment – they do more video watching, music downloading and gaming online – so retargeting for products in those categories is specifically effective in reaching Millennials while they are online.

How to Target Boomers with Retargeting

– Boomers want to be appealed to in their current life stage – they have an innate desire to be different in their current life stage than their predecessors – for example, they want to be ‘cool’ grandparents, not viewed as tired and weathered as the generation before them

– They are more likely than those who came before them to try new media – their use of digital media, as mentioned above, is exploding – don’t underestimate their willingness to try new things.

– Utilize site retargeting to connect with them after they visit websites online

– Use search retargeting combined with relevant creative to reach them while they perform searches/gather info and do research online. Boomers have a commonality: age – many are grandparents – so including messaging/creative in your retargeting campaigns that speaks to this commonality is a sure fire way to reach them – they desire to

– Tie messaging in display/retargeting campaigns in with offline messaging for consistency – this generation is more likely to read a newspaper or magazine so be sure your messaging online is consistent with messaging and branding offline.

– Older boomers are often searching for health related information online a keyword contextual campaign featuring your health/retirement related product/service is well timed, relevant and effective. Target users as they browse websites containing health-related keywords specific to your campaign.

– Older generations tend to do more banking online so products/services in finance/retirement/banking aimed at boomers online are a hit with site and search retargeting.

How to Reach Both

They both like to search: 90% of Millennials and 89.5% of Boomers are using search engines – so utilize search retargeting to reach both groups based on the terms they are searching for online

Retargeting with Facebook Exchange – it’s no question that Millennials like social media, but a lesser known demographic is Boomers: 44% of Facebook users are over the age of 45. Further the fastest growing Facebook segment is Boomer women. Utilize site retargeting through Facebook Exchange in addition to search retargeting across Facebook Exchange to reach both groups. Create different campaigns featuring different creative for both – or if your product/service allows – keep it simple and target both groups with a general set of creative.

71% of Millennials will buy a product online and 69% of Boomers, so target both by utilizing site retargeting to show them your ads after they leave your site, but before purchasing to bring them back to purchase.

84% of Millennials and 81% of Boomers use the internet to do research in regard to a product – making online a prime place to reach users before a purchase who are in market – use retargeting with recency control to get the most out of this purchase stage. Recency allows you to control the time window in which you desire to reach users – so you can dial it down for reaching someone say, searching for pizza, to target them instantly to within a few minutes of the search as not to miss an opportunity. And, dial it down for those searching for say, a white dress – target them instantly, within a few minutes and anywhere from a day, week, few days to 30 days.

Search retargeting – combine search retargeting with creative that speaks to both generations desire for self-empowerment. Millennials are constantly out to prove themselves and Boomer’s sense of self-empowerment comes more from the desire to be the best they can – by getting more education late in life for example. Create separate search retargeting campaigns that feature creative desginged to look appealing to and speak to each group’s different self-empowerment desire.

Millennials and Boomers are buying travel services and making reservations online, both get their news online and use the net for job-related information – making targeting Millennials or Boomers in any of these areas online a smart move.

How Different Generations use the Internet

Whether looking to reach Millennials, Boomers or both we have the solution. For more information about how to reach Millennials using retargeting/display, Facebook Exchange and/or keyword contextual targeting contact us. Our team of experts has the knowledge to help create custom campaigns, and our platform has the capability to make your campaigns perform.