facebook demographics: biggest growth in older users

July 9th, 2009

SFGate.com reports that Most Facebook users are older, study finds.

“Long a hangout for college students, the social-networking giant has morphed into a virtual parlor for the middle-aged, according to a new study. People 35 to 54 are now the biggest age group on the Web site, accounting for 28.2 percent of all U.S. users as of July, according to iStrategyLabs, an online marketing firm. Following close behind are 24- to 34-year-olds, who represent 25.2 percent of users.”

The demographic data was extracted from facebook’s ad generation platform, which offers an estimate of the number of people matching your target audience description. For example, targeting your ad for people aged 55-60 living in Maryland shows that there are about 56,000 of them.

facebook users are old and in the way

Of course, there may be a downside to broadening the facebook community.

“Corbett said the influx of middle-age users raises the question of whether Facebook can retain its younger audience. How cool can a Web site be after Mom and Dad join? “Does this younger audience now leave Facebook and try to find their own place where they can be themselves?” Corbett asked.

And there are advantages to some in the change.

“If anything, the influx of older users makes Facebook a more attractive place for advertisers, said Corbett, the study’s author. There’s a lot of hype about the attractive 18-to-24 demographic, he said, but its people who are older who have more money to spend. “Do you want a massive population of wealthy Baby Boomers who have disposable income or a bunch of poor college kids?” Corbett said. “The audience that is growing now on Facebook is a really valuable one to have.”

This demographic data also shows dramatic declines in the number if facebook users in high school (-16.5%) and in college (-21.7%), but this if probably due to the fact that the school year just ended and the groups will shrink due to graduation before regaining their numbers in the fall.