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Social networks “mature”

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday October 10, 2006 )

By social networks maturing, I’m not referring to the age of the sites, but more the age of their users. Only 12 months ago, MySpace was widely considered to be a place for the young to hang out; as were many other networks.

Today, us oldies are taking over – mwok, mwok, mwok.

While many may still think social networks to be youth-oriented places, a recent report from ComScore networks on the big 4 social networks revealed some very surprising data about the 35+ demographic. The figures are sure to have marketers scratching their heads even more about how to approach advertising via these mediums:

% of users over 35

MySpace: 51.6%
Friendster: 42.6%
Xanga: 42.9%
FaceBook: 41.1%

On MySpace, 2/3 of its visitors are age 25 or older and 11% are over 55!

Pretty amazing stuff; but bear in mind that a percentage of users would lie about their age – either older or younger; whether that balances out in these figures isn’t clear.

When you look at MySpace, it certainly doesn’t seem to be geared towards the 35+ demographic; so why has it taken off? I couldn’t say with any certainty, but I think back to my introduction – it was because of my daughters. I was curious as to what the whole MySpace scene was all about; some of it natural curiosity, some of it my marketing background, and partly due to concern.

Perhaps many other “seeds” were sown in the same way. We set up profiles based on our children’s fascination with it to see what the heck it was all about and then started inviting our own friends from our own age group.

However it’s happened, it’s done – social networks are now very much mainstream and businesses who ignore these sites as a powerful tool for reaching potential customers do so at their own peril.

There’s also definitely some major opportunities for marketing companies to develop arms or even separate brands that focus purely on social network marketing strategies.

Read more of the Comscore report

View more of my posts on MySpace and social networking


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