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Facebook: Boomers Keep Coming

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on August 07, 2009

Researcher iStrategyLabs just released new numbers on Facebook user demographics, and one figure stands out: the number of members who are 55 and older grew 25% in the last month alone. The segment more than tripled the overall rate of growth for U.S. users on the site in the month ending August 4, which was 8%.

Here’s the chart:


Much has been made of the aging of Facebook, but the sustained rate at which baby boomers and seniors are joining the site is surprising. It seems that we’re past the point where you could call this a fad — older folks are continuing to join the site because they’re seeing their friends and family members living their lives on the site and don’t want to be left out.

What does this mean for Facebook? It’s a valuable opportunity for advertisers on the site, who would like to reach older Americans with more buying power. But the company will have to also think about how the site should evolve to accommodate the increasing diversity of its members. For example, baby boomers appear more interested in intimate communication with their family, and some of them feel like they can’t get that on Facebook.

iStrategyLabs gets its numbers from Facebook’s Social Ads system, so they’re reliable. But it’s important to note that this information is not obtained through surveys — it’s pulled from user profiles. That means that whatever personal details users leave out of their profiles — such as school affiliations, home towns, and even ages — won’t show up here.

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Reader Comments

Shallie Bey

August 8, 2009 06:12 AM

As an advocate for baby boomer use of social media, I am delighted to see these numbers. Yes, us old dogs are learning new tricks. Thanks for sharing the truth of that insight with the world.

Shallie Bey
Smarter Small Business Blog


August 9, 2009 02:57 PM

proof without any doubt that Facebook is no longer the fad with youngsters.It no longer is the necessary part of their lives and is as ordinary as daily coffee.The rise of elderly on the website is a primary reason.Once elderly rush to something youngsters do the user demographic as a whole tends to change as youngsters no longer want to be associated with a product used by elderly.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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