Graham Swallow: which demographic offers the most untapped potential for brands?

The Facebook juggernaut has shown its first signs of weakness in 2022, with ad revenue down several billion and users levelling off after years of steady growth. Apple and TikTok have been named as the culprits – the latter for its attention stealing video product. The majority of global ad spend forecasts have digital growing, with video largely responsible, as advertisers look to recreate the success of TV campaigns in media where their audience now spends most of their time. For young people the answer is relatively easy as we see TikTok becoming the latest platform of choice – however, for the over 35’s it isn’t so clear-cut.

So which demographic should advertisers be reaching, and where?

The traditional (highly simplified) view is that advertisers want to reach younger people, those aged 16- 34. It’s believed their disposable income is much greater and the opportunity to create long term brand affinity and exploit major life changing events that prompt new purchase categories is higher too. Advertising rates targeting these age groups are therefore generally higher than older segments, with content that reaches broad swathes of this audience being in high demand.

However, this is highly likely to change.

As society changes, brands and advertisers are starting to expand their views on targeting. There is a hefty reward for the brands such as L’Oréal (above) and Danone, who speak to the older generations as this demographic’s disposable income increases. It’s now the over-50s who are watching the ads and branded content with money to part with as the under 34s have been hit hard by increased economic uncertainty and living costs.

Our data shows that at least 50% of viewing on premium YouTube channels came from age groups over 45 and they had a 2.5 times higher RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) compared to those under 45. For brands to maximise this engaged and valuable audience in 2022 they must:

1/ Think more strategically about different age demographics and target those audience segments accordingly looking at attributes and brand fit.

2/ Look at the digital channels and platforms that 45+ are engaging with, spending time on – and in what context. Abode, a YouTube home lifestyle channel that shows home design, DIY and garden makeovers regularly receives over 60% viewing from over 45’s, with average view durations of around 15mins.

3/ Reach TV style audiences in other high quality digital video environments, such as premium YouTube channels, where up to 50% of viewing comes from CTV, combined with other audience targeting to maximise media efficiency

The UK population is ageing, and people are working longer. Brands cannot afford to overlook the 45 plus market who have income, interests and are engaged on social and digital platforms. I think we’ll see many advertisers making strategic decisions to further explore this area in the months ahead.

Graham Swallow is head of head of data, tech & product at digital content agency and media network Little Dot Studios.

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