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Facebook aims for older users

March 27, 2009

Facebook is getting old – literally. The user demographics are continuing to age, and with that change comes a need for marketers to adapt.

fb-audience-growthIn the past 60 days the number of users over the age of 35 has almost doubled, according to a report released Wednesday from Inside Facebook. Over the past 180 days the number of users over the age of 35 has increased dramatically, with women over the age of 55 currently serving as the fastest growing demographic. In fact, there are more than 1.5 million women over the age of 55 that are active Facebook users every month.

The rapid growth of older users in the past six months now means that the majority of Facebook users are over the age of 25, which is pretty interesting for a Web site that started out as a closed social network for Ivy League students.

fb-ages1As Facebook continues to grow, marketers need to adapt to the changing demographics in order to better leverage their position. The profit potential it represents to Facebook is huge, as a whole new category of advertisers will now see Facebook as an avenue of approach to reach an older demographic. Everyone knows that aging baby boomers are one of the most attractive market segments to target, but marketers must recognize that they require completely different marketing techniques than for those in their teens or 20s. And for Facebook that means more ads and more money.

Perhaps even more importantly, marketers should take note that Facebook is now actively targeting Grandma and Grandpa to sign on, since many moms and dads are already actively jumping on board.

Facebook recently launched an almost private group extended family page. This feature is designed to help families stay connected by easily uploading photos, videos, and updates to share among the private network of family group members.

The family page, once it has been created, resembles any other group page on Facebook, the only difference is that the page is completely private, and not visible to anyone else. The group will not even show up on your profile, and new members can only gain access with the approval of the page administrator.

The only catch seems to be the events listing, which still shows up among the members of your local network. Since the feature is new, I suspect Facebook will make some attempt to remedy the privacy settings in order to make it truly private, which in turn will make the feature even more attractive.

Obviously, the group extended family page looks to be a feature people of all ages would utilize, particularly grandparents who are separated from their growing grandchildren and rely heavily on various forms of Internet communications to keep up with them as they get older. And this is exactly what Facebook anticipated when it created this new feature. Now, the only question is, how long will it be until my Mom signs on?

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