The challenge with the fast moving social media marketing landscape is to know where your customers are hanging out so you can be where they are.
What you also have to keep in mind is that each country in the world has its own particular preferences so the figures and observations below are US centric which is a good guide for English speaking developed countries.
Countries like China, Japan and others have their own equivalent Facebook or Twitter channels that are used within the country due to language and culture differences. (To learn more about the Asia Pacific social media landscape read more at this article “How To Promote Your Brand To The Largest Markets In The World“)
One myth that is often circulated is that social media is mainly for young people when statistics show that a full 25% of users on social networks are in the 35-44 age bracket with the average age being 37. (Most of the statistics for this are obtained from Google’s Ad Planner where you can define audiences by demographics and interests as well as facts and figures from Quantcast.com)
So here are the high level demographics for the top major social media networks that will provide some guidance for your audience and target markets.
- My Space
Facebook is a social networking website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc with more than 500 million active users in July 2010. The website’s name stems from the colloquial name of books given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
Facebook’s demographics are becoming very broad as it reaches mainstream as the worlds most visited social media site. It is often referred to as a Gen Y social media hangout and with females 18 to 25 being the largest group is sometimes avoided as a marketing channel by companies. What you do have to keep in mind is that even the smallest female age group has over 4 million.
Some snapshots of the USA Facebook users
- It is ranked the number 2 site in the US
- The largest group by size and percentage is Females 18-25
- The largest age group including males and females is the 18-34 year olds at 42%
- Smallest is 55-65 year olds (but the latest research shows that it is the fastest growing group)
- The 13-17 year olds are the second smallest group but keep in mind that still represents nearly 6 million females in its mix and 4.6 million males
- Facebook is the number 3 site visited by the those 65+ (Source: Nielsen Blog, 2010 Media Industry Fact Sheet)
- Average Age on Facebook is 38
- 61% of Facebooks users are aged 35 or older
- 30% earn $60 – 100k and 32% earn over $100,000
- Top interests are communities, fashion/cosmetics, politics, instant messenger, humor and discussion and chat
Twitter started as a messaging service for the Podcasting company Odeo in March 2006 and is now serving over 100 million users per month and is ranked as the top 20 website in the US and at last count had served over 20 billion Tweets.
Of the social media platforms, Twitter actually has the second oldest average age at 39
- Twitter is one of the top three when it comes to the largest proportion of people earning more than $150,000 annually with LinkedIn at number one
- 30% of the users earn over $100k
- The estimated monthly visitors in the US comes in at over 44 million
- Females dominate at 55%
- Largest age group at 45% is the 18-34 age group with the second largest bracket being the 35-49 year olds at 24%
- Approximately 40% of the users are from the US
- In the USA Caucasians make up 69% of the audience with African Americans next at 16% and Hispanics at 11%
- On Twitter the audience likes in order of importance Politics, Fashion and cosmetics, Science and Nature, Humor, News and Information and Instant messenger
YouTube started in February 2005 and was sold to Google in 2006 for over $1.6 billion and in just over 5 years has become one the highest trafficked sites on the web with over 2 billion views per day with the average person spending 15 minutes a day. According to Quantcast.com here are some of the latest figures.
- Male and female viewers are split at 50% each
- 18-34 year age bracket is the largest at 36% with the next group at 21% being the 13-17 age grouping (so it is very much a Gen Y channel)
- 29% of users average over $100,000 with 18% earning less than $30k
- 50% of users have no college education with 13% having attended graduate school
- The top interests of YouTube Users are in order Video, Photo/Video sharing, Humor, Communities /Teens, Fashion/Cosmetics, Music/Radio, Politics and Commentar
- 70% of visitors are from outside the US
- YouTube is the 4th ranked website in the USA
LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in the fall of 2002 and was officially founded in 2003. The site launched on May 5th (affectionately referred to by employees as “Cinco de LinkedIn”) when the five founders invited about 350 of their most important contacts to join. At the end of the first month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members in the network.
LinkedIn is now ranked as the 37th largest website in the US and with over 70 million members has significant importance especially in the business networking demographic
- On LinkedIn with its business and professional has predictably the highest average user age of 44
- LinkedIn has the highest average income per user at over $100,000 with 38% of users earning over $1ook and 31% earning between $60k and $100k
- Males just edge out females at 52% of the user audience
- College graduates dominate with 48% of all users having attended college or university
- 38% of users are 35-49 with the next largest grouping at 33% being the over 50’s
- The top 5 traffic sources in order are the USA, UK, India, Netherlands and Canada
MySpace was launched in August 2003 after several eUniverse employees with Friendster accounts saw its potential and decided to mimic it. It was bought in July 2005 for US$580 million by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation MySpace eventually dominated the social networking and was the most popular social media site in 2006 before Facebook emerged to overtake it in 2008.
It still has an important role with teenagers and in the music and video markets. It is currently at number 17 in the US website rankings so it is still a significant social media channel that is in the middle of reinventing itself.
- Over 45 million visit the site monthly in the US
- The average age on MySpace is 31 years old
- Over 30% of MySpace users are below the age of 18
- On MySpace 56% of the users are female
- 58% of users have no college education
- The average income is quite evenly spread with 20% earning $0-30k, 26% earning $30-60k and 27% earning $60-100k
- The top 6 interests of users is Communities/Teens, Teens, Music/Radio, Instant Messenger, Fashion/Cosmetics and Gaming information
What social media network best suits your market?