People over the age of 50 are using the internet "as much as anyone younger" and are more web-savvy than many people think, according to one expert.

According to New Age Media Magazine (NMA), older people are engaging in social networking, internet banking and are communicating with friends and relatives using the web – creating a whole new target audience for internet advertising.

Justin Pearse, editor of the weekly magazine, said that this has meant the term ‘silver surfer’ was no longer relevant as it had been proven that older web users were viewing online content and that social networking in particular had proven very popular.

"Every social network tends to have a different demographic. Bebo is for young kids, MySpace is slightly older and with a music focus, Facebook is more work and university based. It’s just the fact that Saga have launched a site for that demographic".

With a wider range of people using the internet online advertisers will have to appeal to a new demographic as a great deal of web content is directed at the younger market.

A recent study from Frost and Sullivan revealed that paid search advertising was growing twice as fast as the regular market with more people taking advantage of online shopping.

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