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Is Facebook Going Gray?




My husband just told me that the generation gap between him and our teen son, is less than it was between him and his father when he was a teen. I thought he was nuts, but then I saw this report from eMarketer that shows a significant rise in Facebook engagement with folks over 55.

Could Facebook be the great equalizer of all folks from 18 to 80? Less than a year ago, brand engagement for the over 55 set was less than 1 in 4 while 60% of the 18-34 group was clicking “like” on a brand page.  Now, 43% of respondents in the over 55 group said they “like” a brand on Facebook and there’s every indication that the number will continue to climb. It might even climb past that of the younger users as part of a trend I bet Facebook doesn’t like.

According to Forbes, the fastest growing age segments on Facebook are the 55-64 and 65 and up. Now look at the reports about how Facebook is actually losing users and it’s pretty easy to surmise who is leaving — the teens and twentysomethings.

Teens don’t want to hang out in a spot that’s popular with the parents. And parents, you don’t want to visit the Facebook pages of your kids, trust me on this. Roaming anyplace where you might accidentally see a photo of your child (even an adult child), baring all at a wild party isn’t good for anyone. Then there are the underage kids who are getting pushed off the page (where they weren’t supposed to be in the first place) due stricter parental controls.

No, Facebook probably isn’t happy about the fact that they’re slowly going gray, but from a marketing standpoint, it’s a good thing. Here are some stats:

There are 116 million consumers age 50 or older in the United States. These consumers wield $2.9 trillion in spending power annually, and two-thirds of online adults age 46-73 say they shop online. In fact, 69% of Internet users ages 56-64 say they shop online, a higher penetration than any of the other age groups tracked by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

So come on Facebook, put down the hair dye and be comfortable with the fact that you’re a little older and wiser. Look at Sean Connery, going gray totally works for him.

  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    Definitely agree that the older generation can have a ripple effect on the younger generation…. will be interesting to see how things progress… Facebook is the king, and its always hard to stay on top… it’s easier to be a little less focused, while up and coming companies work harder to try to gain market share.