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The Best Ways to Reach Baby Boomers with Video

Not sure if you’re ready to engage your customers with video? Well, reaching baby boomers with video online may be easier than you think – and neglecting it is probably more costly, too.

In fact, ignoring video as a medium means missing out on 69 percent of mobile traffic! Google/Ipsos says that 15% of boomers spend more time watching online video than TV, and it’s not just for entertainment; it’s utility. Khan Academy had 44.6% of their views from the 45+ audience.

But enough about that – we know boomers are online, we know they are the fastest growing group on Facebook, and we know they are engaged with video (just like everyone else!). The real question isn’t whether or not boomers are engaged with video; it’s how to reach them with it.

With that in mind, let’s review a few of the ways you can effectively reach baby boomers with video so that you can take advantage of the incredible opportunities the medium provides.

Let’s start by addressing the biggest online video platform in existence:

YouTube

YouTube is undeniably the heavyweight in online video. In fact, it’s the second largest search engine in the world, with over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute. That’s a lot of video.

Of course, for those looking to market to seniors, it’s not just the where of the platform, it’s also the who. According to Google, seniors typed the word “YouTube” into the Google search engine 3,621 time per minute.

Boomers are just as hooked on YouTube as everyone else. YouTube videos are shareable, embeddable, easy-to-use, they show up well in Google searches, and YouTube is on nearly every device out there – from cell phones, to smart TVs, to video game consoles. If you’re not on YouTube, you are missing out on massive potential exposure and shareability.

So, if you want to market to boomers with video, YouTube is essential. It’s not the only platform to consider, though. The next big up and comer in video is:

Facebook Video

Dave Werner of okaysamurai.com gave a fantastic presentation at SXSW in 2015, during which he released one of his videos, a cover of the Sesame Street song, “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon”, across multiple channels – including YouTube, Facebook, and others.

What he found was that, while his video got about 16,000 views on YouTube, it actually got over 21,000 views on Facebook. He had expected YouTube to generate more views than any other channel, but Facebook was the actual winner.

What’s behind the rise of Facebook video? Well, Facebook has started emphasizing their native video experience with a player that works directly in the Facebook timeline. It has a larger, more prominent graphic to show the play button. In contrast, sharing a YouTube link to Facebook yields a smaller preview and forces the user to load an external link. Even video ads can auto play in the user’s timeline (with sound off – that’s why using captions can be effective).

Ultimately, while Werner suggested being on as many channels as possible, YouTube and Facebook were by far the biggest performers. If you’re looking to reach boomers with video, those are the places to start.

Now to the “filmmaking” side:

Plan and edit for your audience.

While boomers are on the same video channels as every other demographic, it’s worth taking the time to design your content with their unique needs in mind. Here are a few tips.

Make Sure It’s Easy to Watch on All Devices

We know that it takes more than just large text to reach boomers, but it’s worth reiterating: be mindful of how your content will look across all of the YouTube and Facebook compatible devices your audience will inevitably view it on. Use text size that is readable at small sizes. You may be editing your video from 1 foot away on a 4k screen in Final Cut Pro, but someone may be viewing the finished version on a tiny iPhone 5S while they wait in line at the grocery store. Make sure that your ideas are communicated clearly at both sizes.

Consider the Best Way to Get Your Ideas Across

Are you doing super fast, quick cuts? It might be worth slowing things down a bit to let people see what’s happening. Is your video narrated? Consider having the voice actor slow down their pace.

It can also be really helpful to upload captions with your video, or even to have them rendered directly into it. It’s a great fit for those autoplay videos on a Facebook timeline that have the sound disabled by default!

Mix Audio on Multiple Devices

It’s easy to get lost in a sound mix while wearing headphones in the edit room, but make sure to play your video back on a phone or a laptop to make sure that dialog and narration is crisp and clear in likely use cases. Does your music overpower the voice on phone speakers? Is everything muddy coming from a MacBook air? Give it a test, rebalance, and pull things back if need be.

Tell a story instead of selling a product

Use video as an opportunity to make an emotional connection. Let somebody picture themselves in the situation with age appropriate actors (live action and voice). Don’t be afraid to use humor; older adults like to laugh as much as any other age group.

Choose appropriate music

The right music can go a long way when it comes to evoking meaningful emotional responses. Choosing appropriate music for seniors doesn’t always mean going with a playlist from Woodstock. When you use a song, consider why you are using it. What does the memory of this song conjure up in your boomer audience? Were they college age, or young parents? Could the feel of the music and the memories associated with it connect in a relevant way to the story that you’re sharing?

At Immersion Active, these are a few of the things we make sure to keep in mind when creating video content for baby boomers. There are a lot of tactical options to choose from but if you plan, create, and edit your videos with the who in mind, you’ll have success. Understanding your boomer audience is the most important step in reaching seniors with online video.

If you have any thoughts on how to use video online, or if you want to improve your understanding of boomers and seniors, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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