Older Web Users: Online Content, Ads Aimed at Young

April 14, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Media & Entertainment | Pharma & Healthcare | Social Media | Travel & Hospitality | Videogames | Youth & Gen X

Most internet users age 45 or older say content online serves less their needs and interests than those of younger persons, according to (pdf) a Burst Media survey on the availability of age-appropriate online content, website design and targeted advertising.

Still, 67.7% of all respondents say their daily routine would be disrupted if their online access was taken away for one week (42.9% say “significantly”) – with “the oldest segment looking very much like the youngest segment,” according to Burst.

Some 43.9% of those age 55+ surveyed say there would be significant disruption in their lives if internet access were taken away.

Additional findings issued by Burst are outlined below.

Though most (52.0%)of the more than 13,000 adult online users surveyed in February said internet content is focused on their age group, there was significant variation in the responses of various age segments:


  • Some 76.0% and 73.9% of the 18-24 year and 25-34 year segments, respectively, say online content is aimed at their age groups.
  • Most (55.7%) of those age 35-44 also say so.
  • However, just 35.4% of those age 45-54 year say internet content is focused on people their age. The proportions of those 55 or older saying so are significantly less.

Website design elicits similar opinions:

  • 75.9% of those age 18-34 years say websites are designed for them.
  • 55.2% of those age 35-45 say so.
  • 36.9% of those age 45-54 say so.
  • Only 19.9% of those 55 or older say websites are designed for people their age.

Online advertising is apparently also missing the mark overall – but also particularly in the case of older users:

  • Just 38.6% of respondents overall say online advertising is focused on their age group.
  • Only respondents in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups tend to say online advertising is focused on them: 56.6% and 56.5% say so, respectively.
  • Some 43.8% of those age 35-44 say online advertising focuses on people their age; 52.9% of them say it targets younger people – as do 72.5% of those age 45-54 and 83.2% of those 55+.

In search of more and new content: Most respondents (59.6%) say they are typically visiting more websites than a year ago – and that’s the trend for all age groups, including nearly 63% of those 55 or older.


Nearly half of those surveyed (48.9%) cite local/national news as their favorite content, but content popularity varies by age group:

  • Age 18-34: Entertainment info (44.7%); local/national news (40.1%); online games (38.1%); shopping/product info (36.1%); info for work (35.0%); social networks, forums and blogs (31.4%).
  • Age 35-54: Local/national news (54.2%), shopping/product info (44.8%), info for work (42.7%), health info (37.1%), entertainment info (37.0%), travel info (33.7%).
  • Age 55+: Local/national news (55.9%), shopping/product info (44.0%), health info (42.5%), international news (38.9%), travel info (38.2%), food information/recipes (34.1%).
45th Parallel Design Ad

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