Facebook isn’t for College Kids Anymore…

By Chris Longo, Natural Search Supervisor, Content Solutions

When Facebook was first started, it became a social networking tool to connect individuals who shared similar networks (School, City, Workplace). It started off exclusively for students of Harvard University and slowly grew throughout other colleges in the Boston area. It then expanded to any secondary school student, then to high school students, and now the site has 175 million active users.

The common misconception when one thinks of Facebook is that it’s for people of college age and younger. In fact, more than half of Facebook users are outside of college and the fastest growing demographic is those 30 years old and older. The current graph below is data from late 2008:

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Facebook Growth and Demographics

This trend opens up a wealth of online marketing opportunities that is unique to Facebook only. When Facebook first started serving ads, it was geared towards the college demographic (Credit Cards, Employment Websites), now essentially any product/service can be marketed to a specific target market.

A company can target ads specifically towards a certain age group, geographic location, or declared interest. For example, if I wanted to market my “widget” to a certain demographic on Facebook I can choose a variety of variables to narrow the impression and reach to the market I wanted to target specifically (Males and Females aged 25-30 who live in New York/Chicago/Los Angeles who like to golf). Below is an example of how one can narrow the targeted audience and measure success.

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Facebook User Info & Analysis

On normal PPC platforms, you bid on keywords that are relevant to the site being marketed. You can control what keywords you want queried, but you lack control of your targeted audience. For an SEO campaign, you would rely on keyword research and proving relevancy to be found for specific terms. With Facebook, you can readily identify the target demographic you want to market to.

Facebook is more than just a social network to connect with friends and colleagues. It has become a viable marketing option within the online space for businesses. As usage and membership continue to climb, the effectiveness of these ads will grow along with it.


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