Posted July 7, 2009 9:20 am by with 13 comments

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The demographic has shifted dramatically over at Facebook and that change could lead to billions in revenue, according to one prominent board member.

iStrategyLabs spent the last six months collecting user demographic data and discovered the number of users over the age of 55 soared from 1 million to nearly 6 million. During the same 6 month period, high school and college users dropped by as much as 22%!

Here’s the breakdown:

At the same time Facebook continues to gray, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mark Andreessen–a Facebook board member–suggests the social network could realize revenue of $1 billion if it would only push harder with its advertising.

"This calendar year they’ll do over $500 million..If they pushed the throttle forward on monetization they would be doing more than a billion this year…There’s every reason to expect in my view that the thing can be doing billions in revenue five years from now," Andreessen said.

What’s interesting is that the 15-24 year olds are the ones that helped Facebook become the juggernaut it is today, but when you have champagne revenue goals while your audience has a beer budget, you need those with established incomes to pay the bills–or in this case, click on the ads.

Perhaps the key question is can Facebook continue to grow while losing its vocal youth? Arguably, high school and college users were the ones that evangelized Facebook to their older friends and family. Without them, will Facebook’s growth–and revenue–stall?

  • Could the lack of youth be due to Summer Holidays? I wonder just how much can be put down to trends… not to mention that those who are 15-24 today may be 16-25 tomorrow… we don’t get younger either. 😉 but very interesting to see a jump in those over 55.

    Robert’s last blog post..What’s in a Name?

  • Jason Martindale

    So the number of 0-17 year olds increased 24% yet the number of highschool students decreased 16%… Seems like high school students just stopped saying they were in high school. I don’t think this has anything to do with them leaving Facebook, and has everything to do with being less open about who they are to a world that is trying to exploit them and put their business out there for the world to scrutinize.

  • @Robert – I would have agreed with you, but this data is over a 6 month period–not month over month.

  • Pingback: The Older Demographic Makes A Large Push On Facebook « L Collect()

  • Just a little while ago we talked about the sudden drop in the age group (May 28th post). Personally, I get frustrated the amount of ‘research’ out there and the disparity in the results. The only really data that can be trusted comes from the providers themselves and even then they like to stay elusive so they don’t get pigeon-holed by looking like a certain kind of community.

    No wonder CMO’s keep falling on their swords. It depends on what data you hang your programs that determine how well they might work. Maybe there should be odds attached to research results so we know what’s a long shot and what isn’t 😉

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Happy 4th of July and THANK YOU!

  • The 55+ market increase is great at over 500% but I think an even bigger story is the 35-54 age group jumping on board to the tune of an 190% increase. That’s an increase of 17 million, making them the most populous age group on Facebook, compared to the 18-34 bracket six months ago. The ultimate point is still the same: the folks with the purse strings are getting up on Facebook. Nice stats and a great post!

    jlbraaten’s last blog post..New Website ROI Tips: Online Goal Setting

  • Its Shocker for me.. Facebook is always changing itself constantly by taking out different applications and its going to show you how volatile are the these emerging generation. You never know what they want?? I am worried about the kind of advertisments we are going to see in facebook after these revelation..!!

  • It’s a good question to wonder about Facebook’s grey growth, but the other question I’m really curious about is where are the youth going then? What are they doing?

  • @Rob – we’ll probably hear about their destination in the near future – the next hot thing!

  • Yeah it sock for me too… My account was hacked. I could not do anything

  • Pingback: As Facebook Ages, So Do Its Users | B. Sheppard Consulting()

  • Pingback: Facebook n'intéresse plus les jeunes et vise désormais les plus de 55 ans! | Yangiz! le blog de Charley Rabec()

  • aman

    Nice observation. Companies today look at short term profits. They don’t care about the long run effects. exbi chao!