AARP Media Solutions, which connects marketers to AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin and AARP.org, in the past two years has seen a dramatic change in their readers’ adoption of technology since the beginning of the pandemic -- so much so that in Q4 2021, the publisher ran out of digital advertising inventory.
Now, the publisher is researching opportunities to leverage Google Search in a unique way.
“We’re looking to leverage search in ways that help our brand advertisers with members,” said AARP Media Solutions Vice President Group Publisher Shelagh Daly Miller, who has been with the company for 21 years. “We’re constantly looking at new products. Digital has a lot to offer that’s new and different."
The top five keyword searches on the site are health, Medicare, fraud, COVID, and travel.
AARP Media Solutions, for the most part, sells its ad inventory direct to brands, which is why the company can sell out more frequently. The company said it "onboarded" 129 new advertisers last year, partly through a focus on digital.
“We started to see more members go online a little bit more throughout the years, but during the past two years it’s been explosive,” Miller said.
Among readers 50 years and up, the average amount spent on personal technology rose 108%. Those ages 70 and older led the largest online migration of any single demographic in U.S. history, according to company data, with a 61% increase in internet use.
The average 70-year-old's net worth per household is $507,000, according to AARP Media Solutions National Digital Ad Director Peter Zeuschner.
AARP.org traffic has skyrocketed -- averaging 31 million monthly unique visitors, up from 14 million in 2020. It has been mostly organic, rather than coming through social. Texting, video chat, social media and email are now mainstays, averaging more than a 72% increase.
Driving the digital growth are members 70 and older. “Pre-pandemic, 57% of our members 70 years of age or older used the internet,” Zeuschner said. “And that number is up 91%.”
About 73% of members 70 years and older use mobile search -- up 152%. And 69% said they made online purchases -- up 116%, due to members staying home who prefer not to go to the store during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One brand advertising on the site saw a 500% increase in sales since the start of the pandemic. There is a COVID-19 section on the website.
AARP has 37 million members. Its membership offers subscriptions to two types of magazines -- digital and print -- based on information that has been provided, geared toward people 50 years of age and older. In addition, there are discounts on services from hundreds of companies.
Throughout the past two years, AARP The Magazine added at least 600,000 new readers, reaching 36.9 million total readers.
Ads across all AARP publications inspired members to make 2.3 billion in purchases annually.
AARP Media Solutions pivoted at the beginning of the pandemic to reach consumers 50 years of age and older with a variety of advertising solutions across media channels.
New Facebook ad capabilities under the AARP Media Solutions brand have generated click-through rates at twice the industry average, the company says. Brand sponsorships for AARP’s new Personal Tech Guide in AARP The Magazine are now integrated with the online Personal Technology Resource Center.
In addition, opportunities are available for advanced contextual alignment with new print features such as the New Member Guide and Medicare Made Easy.