AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is one of the largest membership organizations in the United States, with close to 40 million members. The organization’s properties include print publications such as AARP Magazine, touted as the world’s largest circulation magazine, and a digital presence with such sites as AARP.org and an email newsletter. AARP operates as a nonprofit, but has an extensive online advertising network, partnering with roughly 600 sites, such as Healthline and Grandparents.com, which also attract the age-50-and-up crowd.
The group has recently announced what it calls “an online audience extension” (PDF), which essentially means that it will share proprietary publisher data through AARP Media Sales with other advertisers to help them target consumers more effectively.
Kate Kaye, senior editor of ClickZ, explains AARP’s market segmenting process,
In general terms, AARP categorizes its members into three segments: those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. ‘More than half of the folks in the 50s segments have kids in their households,’ said Zeuschner. ‘They’re very much part of the workforce.’ Members in their 60s tend to be more interested in travel and often have more money to spend. Seventy-somethings are in the retirement phase of life and typically are concerned with their finances and health, he said. AARP produces different versions of its print magazine tailored to each group.
The program has been in beta for six months, and advertisers like Aetna, JPMorgan Chase, and Walmart have already tried it out. Travel-related advertisers such as La Quinta Inns and Suites and Starwood Hotels are having particular success, which is not surprising. According to a study from The Nielsen Company, the most favored activity option for seniors facing retirement is travel. The rest of the top five activities are comprised of caring for grandchildren, participating in clubs and activities, gardening, and volunteering.
“Knowing that many adults age 50+ earn more and outspend their younger counterparts online, there is no better pipeline to reach this powerful demographic,” said Cathy Ventura Merkel, senior vice president of AARP Publications & Media Sales.