By Kristoff Doneit
Most social networks are geared towards a younger age demographic of users, between the ages of 16 and 30. Even though this is the largest age demographic of social networking users online, the conversion ratio is the lowest. The reasons for this being fairly obvious. Most people between the ages of 16-25 are going to school and possibly even living at home or being supported by their parents. Most of them do not have a steady income or a full time job. So in essence, this age demographic has little or no buying power or is living “on the cheap”, and are much less willing to make large or frequent purchases online. So why are more social networks not targeting an older age demographic? Because they see the sheer volume of adolescent to young adult users online and assume that mass quantity equals more money. This is simply not the case, and for some reason, most of the major social networks (myspace, facebook, bebo, etc.) still have yet to catch on to this factor. If you look at almost all case studies conducted on age demographics and their spending habits, you will notice that the older or “grey” internet users tend to spend much more as they usually have a stable income and are generally in a much higher bracket. This means that the conversion ratio of an older demographic would be much higher, than their current target market.
How can social networks capture an older generation of computer users?