Demographics important in social media strategy
Google+, the search engine company's answer to increased public use of social media, has reportedly gained a reputation as being populated almost entirely by young men.
An image that helps people visualise the assumption has recently been seen circulating posting boards and blogs. It depicts 18 adolescent males crammed into an hot tub with the caption "Meanwhile in Google+".
The joke evolved from initial reports on the make-up of the new social media platform's users – initially it was shown that up to 88 per cent were men.
Yet this depiction – while humorous – may no longer be accurate. As the availability of Google+ has opened from its invite-only beta testing phase, the number of users has already reached the millions and the gender gap has started to even out.
Different sites have listed different measures but the consensus seems to be that the split is likely to be closer to 66 per cent male, 33 female and the remaining one per cent listed as "other".
But what does this mean in the broader picture? What accounts for the initial disparity? And how will this affect social media strategy?
It may be due to the nature of the Google+ launch strategy. The beta test phase may have contributed to the first round of statistics. The exclusive nature of the limited invites to join the social network means they would only be passed on to close friends and – with most of the initial invitees being male – this would impact on the starting makeup of the platform.
Another factor may be that genders tend to adopt new technology at different rates, with men more likely to encourage other men to try it out.
Factors like these matter when it comes to distributing fresh content through online channels. Knowing just who is in a target audience helps to focus custom news articles to suit the behaviour of social media users.