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Marketing for Adults: A New Trend in Online Games

By 2030, people aged 60+ will form a sixth part of the planet’s population. The increasing lifespan makes us confident that the online market and user monetization rates will continue to grow.

Irina Nalivaykina

December 18, 2023

4 Min Read

According to the World Health Organization, the share of the population aged 60+ will almost double by 2050—from 12% to 22%. And each new generation of older people takes more and more interest in the digital world and has a more active lifestyle. These and some other trends result in the online games market current and future growth.

Irina Nalivaykina, Deputy CMO at ZiMAD, tells how to attract the adult audience and what triggers to use for promoting online games.

The growing popularity of online games among older people is defined by several tendencies. Firstly, this audience is continuously growing. Secondly, each new generation surpasses the previous one in terms of mastery of modern technologies. Thirdly, games meet a number of their needs motivating them to play. And finally, seniors are usually more financially secure, which makes them attractive for business. This is why marketing budgets are allocated to attract such an audience.

Needs Fulfilled by Online Games

Online games are frequently stereotyped. Some consider them useless or even harmful and tend to eliminate them from their lives and the lives of their families. But in reality, games can be a highly useful tool for improving cognitive skills and keeping them in good shape if used moderately. It is also important to choose games that correspond to one’s age and needs. In August 2023, the scientific magazine Heliyon published a study that proved this thesis.

Scientists compared three groups of people: those who play frequently, those who play from time to time, and those who don't play at all. In total, over 543 people aged 18-81 took part in the study. As a result, the scientists were able to prove that higher working memory capacity and distraction-resistance were associated with strategy game playing in younger adults, but puzzle game playing in older adults.

Online games for seniors also offer relaxation. Today, not too many people are eager to retire—most of us want to have an active life filled with various events because we simply want to or because we have our personal social or economical reasons. And online games function as a switch from the corporate world to personal life while also releasing stress habitual for work days.

Games let people feel a part of society, interact with others, and communicate and enjoy this process. In the last several years, we’ve been observing a trend for disconnectedness, when the list of contacts of an average person has been decreasing due to urbanization and family ties growing thinner. The disconnectedness process was extremely boosted during the coronavirus pandemic, when people’s only contacts for days, weeks, or even months were their families or the walls of their homes.

Special Features of Online Games Promotion

Marketing strategies aimed at older adults should be different from the ones used for attracting other audiences. Apart from choosing the right creative assets that will be used for advertisement, you need to consider what content to include into the game and make sure it fits the audience, its needs, and interests. So you need to start as early as the development of the game begins.

For example, such a small detail as an icon of the app can significantly affect the results of the promotion. If you decide to use one of the children’s favorite cartoon characters, your number of users is likely to increase, but they will probably not be your target audience.

ZiMAD’s flagship product is Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, and our main target audience is older adults. So our content is mainly aimed for these people. Let’s take our collaborations with Disney and National Geographic as an example. In the first case, our goal was to evoke nostalgic feelings towards cartoons from our childhood, and in the second—satisfy the needs of those who love pictures of nature and animals.

The next step is promotion. Both the channels and key messages you use for your audience are very important. For example, aggressive and unpleasant images that break records in coverage and show the rescue of a game hero or a kitten from death, or love triangles and jealousy, are not suitable for the sensitive older adult audience.

They are mostly seeking calmness and harmony rather than additional worries and anxiety. This is why creative assets should feature messages aimed to meet the audience’s needs, such as maintaining cognitive abilities in good shape, communication, and relaxation.

Other great tools include lateral marketing, gameplay targeting, and channels of adjacent topics like, for instance, gardening, travel, and pets. But despite the fact that the market has a tendency to use creatives that reduce the cost of the user, classic gameplay creatives work better for older audiences. And even though the cost of such users will be higher, it should be compensated with better monetization metrics.

When promoting online games for older adults, you can also use an approach unconventional for digital products but classic for the offline market—various marketing strategies related to the points of contact that are always in view of your target audience.

What Awaits the Market in the Future

By 2030, people aged 60+ will form a sixth part of the planet’s population. The increasing lifespan makes us confident that the online market and user monetization rates will continue to grow. And the most important thing for us to focus on is creating each new app considering the needs of the audience and integrating in-app monetization.

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