Social Networking Gains Popularity Among Older Generation

Social networking sites like Facebook aren’t just for the young, and marketers should consider the age of Facebook users when creating their ad campaigns.

Social Networking Gains Popularity

According to a Pew Internet American Life Project survey conducted in May 2010, usage among internet users aged 50 and older almost doubled during the last year, jumping from 22% to 42%. Of these older internet users, 47% were aged 50 – 64 and 26% were aged 65 and older.

Among the social networking sites visited by these internet users, Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular among these mature adults. As the face of the average social networking user is changing, so should the methods of advertising targeting these social networking sites.

As the target audience on social networking sites like Facebook change, marketers need to change their methods as well. Certainly companies with products and services targeting consumers aged 50 and older should consider a social media ad campaign that targets users on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Indeed, according to Jared Jenks’ article Social Networking Doubles Among Boomers and Seniors, it seems that ad spending on social networking sites will rise in the future, considering that  “eMarketer estimates US ad spending on Facebook will rise to $1.1 billion next year, up from $835 million in 2010”.

There are a number of reasons that mature adults are using social networking sites more frequently.  Social networking sites allow baby boomers and seniors to:

  • Reconnect with people from their past
  • Learn about and stay connected with the lives of their children and grandchildren
  • Reach out to people who share chronic diseases and illnesses for information and support

The evidence is clear, social networking is growing among these older generations. However, the question remains as to whether the increase in popularity of sites like Facebook among adults aged 50 and older will affect the use of these sites by young adults, who may not want to share social networking sites with their parents or grandparents.

One thing is clear, marketers need to pay close attention to the various age groups using social networking sites and develop advertising campaigns accordingly.