Rural and Older Audiences Still Harder To Reach with PPC

As a PPC professional I’m constantly connected. I have internet service in my home, at work, and when I’m in between I have my 4G smartphone. There are very few places I can go where I’m unable to access the knowledge of the world wide web. However, I sometimes take it for granted and forget that internet access isn’t as universally accessible for large chunks of the US (and this is even more pronounced in certain areas internationally). Today I was reminded of this fact as I was reading an article on the New York Times website titled “Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In.

The article points out a federal initiative that has spent $7 billion to expand access to high-speed broadband and the results seem impressive. The article claims that “nearly 98 percent of American homes now have access to some form of high-speed broadband.” That’s great, but it also points out that roughly 20% “do not use the Internet at home, work and school, or by mobile device.” Two groups stood out to me as areas that will see significant improvement in the near future:

Rural Areas

I grew up in a small farming community in Idaho. I know firsthand how slow some of these people are to adopt new technology. But I also see great potential here. First, the proliferation of smartphones continues. As of June it was 61%. Been to a cell phone store looking for a new handset lately? Good luck finding a “dumb” phone.

My dad is a great case study. He was a very early adopter of cell phones because it allowed people to reach him for emergencies when he was in remote areas of our farm. However, he has only recently considered a smartphone because more and more customers of his grass-fed beef are finding him through his website online. Even farmers need to be connected and the infrastructure is in place to help them get connected.

Seniors (65+)

The biggest reason that more seniors will be getting online is that people are constantly getting older. Baby Boomers are much more comfortable with technology and as they continue to age we’ll see more and more of the 65+ crowd online. However, the big reason you’ll see more seniors online is social media.

A recently released study by the Pew Research Center shows that 43% of those 65+ are using social media. Yep, that’s grandma and grandpa friending you on Facebook and sending you tweets. And to stay current on your social media you’ve got to have the internet.

So if your product is a great fit for the 65+ crowd or for rural folks you’ll have more and more opportunities to market to them online in the near future.