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How older audiences are erased, distorted and misunderstood in social & search, and the ethics of using AI to address representation gaps in advertising

With Stuart Bowden, and Aleksandra Grabowska
Date & Time:
17:00 - 18:00,
Wednesday 8 November, 2023
Seminar room, 1 St Giles
How to attend:
Book now


When researchers and advertisers think about creator led media platforms it can be hard not to visualise them through the behaviours of early adopters. Whilst 92% of GenX are on social platforms daily they are the subject of less than 5% of platform research; their different needs and preferences are poorly understood and woefully underserved. Worse, the platforms and search engines themselves actively work against their interests; wildly underrepresenting them in search results and in content delivery.

Our new research into this bias, and into real midlife platform usage, uses granular platform data, a purpose made 67k strong quantitative survey, tracking of real behaviour on over 4k devices & a content analysis of 7,000 creators on the Tik Tok & IG platforms. Additionally, we constructed two unique computer vision driven experiments – peeling apart 135,000 visual search results and 68 hours of TikTok video content to shed light on the challenges of being an older user in digital environments that fetishise being young.

We’ll also share results from the advertising industry’s research and real world uses of synthetic voice and chatbots in marketing to under-represented audiences, and discuss some of the ethical questions raised.

Stuart Bowden is the Chief Strategy & Product Officer of Wavemaker, the media planning agency representing L’Oreal, TikTok, Adobe, Netflix & the UK Government and is a Visiting Policy Fellow at the OII.

Aleksandra Grabowska is Wavemaker’s Product Development leader and AI engineering leader.


Aleksandra Grabowska

Aleksandra Grabowska

Product Development Leader and AI engineering Leader, Wavemaker

Aleksandra Grabowska is Wavemaker’s Product Development leader and AI engineering leader.