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Seniors On Social? YEP! Psychographic Targeting Hot House


Sometimes the conventional wisdom can get you in trouble. “My B2B audience isn’t on social” is one piece of conventional wisdom that, thankfully, has finally been put out to pasture (at least by companies savvy enough to know better).

Conventional wisdom might also say to focus your online advertising efforts on younger generations who are most accustomed and most likely to spend money online. While there is data to back up that assumption — consumers aged 18–34 do spend the most money online — experienced digital marketers know that with the right targeting, every audience is reachable.

In this week’s edition of Targeting Hot House, we’ll look at ways to turn the conventional wisdom on its ear and find retirees in the wonderful world of Facebook advertising.

Behavior & Demographic Strategies

You wouldn’t think being retired has a job title, because the key factor in being retired is to not have a job. But Facebook lets users set their own job title, and a lot of retirees like to do exactly that:

2015.09.21-aimClear-Psychographic-Targeting-Hot-House-Senior-Citizen-Targeting-01As always, however, be careful not to automatically assume everything with the “retire” root is a relevant title. Retirement Officer doesn’t necessarily indicate the person with that job is retired.

If you were proud of your career, would you simply list yourself as retired, or would you include what you’re retired from? Stemming the root search term opens up a whole world of more precise job titles:


Remember, too, to check for retirees who identify through their employer:

2015.09.21-aimClear-Psychographic-Targeting-Hot-House-Senior-Citizen-Targeting-03Down in the Behaviors bucket, you’ll find more ways to pinpoint retirees and seniors:


At this point, we should mention targeting by age. Yes, it’s obvious that you can target likely retirees by their age. But you need to stay on top of what that age is most likely to be. According to Gallup, the average retirement age is rising: From age 59 in 2002 to age 62 in 2014. Why? Broader economic conditions can cause people to stay in the workforce longer, particularly if declines in the stock market deliver a hit to their retirement savings.

The Less Obvious Ways

Those are the basic ways to find retirees in Facebooks ads. The next set of tips can help as well, but you’re not going to want to rely on just these and assume you’ll be hitting retirees. You’ll want to pair them with the segments mentioned above, taking advantage of Facebook’s “and/or” operators to make sure you hit your mark.

2015.09.21-aimClear-Psychographic-Targeting-Hot-House-Senior-Citizen-Targeting-05You can see why we would recommend not using these on their own and trusting they’ll identify only retirees. Not every empty-nester is retired, nor is every investor. But if the product you sell is relevant to those audience segments, you’re going to want them in there, provided you have other indicators to ensure the investors you target are retired.

Further Refinements

This is also a case where looking for data outside of Facebook can help refine your targeting back inside Business Manager.

For example, income is one way to build smaller audiences within broader categories like retirees. The median income for someone 65 or older is just over $21,000, meaning half earn more and half earn less. If you’d rather target by net worth, which can be a better financial status indicator for retirees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data like this to guide your efforts. For example, if you want to target retirees in the highest strata of net worth, the BLS data indicates you’d want to start with the $200,000–$500,000 level in Facebook and work your way up.

Once you have your audience of retirees surrounded with behaviors and job titles and refined it with other potential indicators, you’re prepared to layer in the psychographics that will find the retirees who will most likely want to purchase the product you’re marketing. When the sales start rolling in, you’ll know you’ve proven the conventional wisdom wrong. Happy targeting!

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