Posted in on February 3, 2012

Facebook, Internet Users More Similar to Offline Population Ages Than Ever

With all the excitement over the Facebook IPO, Heather Dougherty at Experian Hitwise today rounded up 10 stats about the social network that are key to understanding its reach and impact. We focused in on Stat #5 – a demographic breakdown of Facebook users, which include 19% younger Baby Boomers aged 49-54 and 20% older Boomers or seniors aged 55+.

The chart (below) shows the visit share by age for the big four social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. And the age breakdown of the (US?) online population.

As eMarketer has noted, “The average age of Internet users is rising in tandem with that of the general population.” It appears so far Facebook is the online social network that most closely mirrors the age diversity of our offline world. Twitter continues to appeal to GenX and GenY. And LinkedIn continues to be an excellent if underappreciated network for reaching 55+ adults – 57% of users are baby boomers or beyond!

Chart from HitWise showing Facebook visits by age, including baby boomers and seniors

I was surprised to see Google+ have a larger audience over the age of 55 than Twitter, but on second thought its design and functionality is so similar to Facebook, it might feel more comfortable to older users.

Stat #8 wasn’t a surprise to us. As Dougherty writes, “Facebook” is the most searched term in the US and Facebook-related terms account for 14% of the top search clicks.” We shared that insight with a team of social media marketing ambassadors from a leading continuing care retirement community just two days ago. It was terrific to see their excitement for how the network could promote deeper relationships with their senior prospects and adult children.

If your organization needs help turning social media stats into social media strategies, please check out these related posts (or give us a call – we’d love to help).



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