More grey hair on Facebook as baby boomers become fastest growing social media demographic
More people over the age of 65 are using Facebook, the popular social networking site, according to a new study.
Researchers found that older people were turning to Facebook in increasing numbers as they look to reconnect with old friends and maintain existing relationships.
This age group is now the fastest growing demographic across social media, which could have big implications for marketers who use Facebook and other social platforms to publish, share and promote their content.
“This isn’t just a fast-growing market, but also a lucrative one,” one of the lead researchers told the journal Computers In Human Behaviour. “Older adults have much more disposable income than teens and college students and would be more desirable for advertising.”
The study, conducted at Penn State University in the US, revealed that older people were motivated by a desire to see what their children and grandchildren were doing, but also saw Facebook as a means of staying connected.
As familiarity with the concept of social media networking has grown among people in this age group, the number joining Facebook has continued to rise. More than a third (35 per cent) of US adults over 65 are now on Facebook, up from 27 per cent in 2013.
The researchers pointed to opportunities for social media sites and third party developers when it comes to providing simple, convenient interface tools to keep older users engaged for longer.
Social media demographics shifting all the time
This survey is a useful reminder that the demographics of social media sites are constantly changing. A lot of marketers have traditionally thought of Facebook as a purely B2C platform dominated by young people. But just as this study revealed a growing number of older users, Facebook is also making its way into our professional lives.
Last year, Facebook launched Facebook At Work, which offers some of the tools and functionality Facebook users are familiar with to help them connect with work colleagues.
Facebook At Work includes customised versions of NewsFeed, Chat, Groups and Events. Companies including the beverage giant, Heineken, and the RBS, the financial services group, are among the early adopters.
Right now, Facebook At Work is free but is likely to be a paid service in the future.