Much ado was made this week when a study by iStrategy Labs found that 35-54 year olds are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook with 276% growth over the last 6 months.
No big news to us here, we’ve reported on this demographic shift here, here, and here. But this week’s study prompted some to claim that the “aging of Facebook” would result in a mass exodus of students.
So, does this mean it’s time to sound the alarm and abandon your public social networking initiatives and stop all recruitment efforts on Facebook? Only if you’re willing to dismiss what is (by far) still the largest demographic on Facebook (teens and young adults)…a demographic that continues to grow at a rate of 15% according the iStrategy Labs report.
Now this isn’t to say that Facebook will forever remain the dominant place where kids come to play (that honor’s been held in this decade by at least two other social networks), but its appeal to younger generations is still very strong, even if mom and dad are there too.
According to recent Quantcast figures (see below) nearly 1/3 of the Facebook audience is between the ages of 12 and 17. So why avoid a venue where millions of pre-college and college students visit every single day?
Ultimately, what attracts young people to one social network or another is not whether old people are on there or not, but whether their friends are there or not. For the most part, from what I’ve seen, their friends are still on Facebook.
Don’t worry, if you’re looking to recruit students on social networks like Facebook, the water’s still warm and the younger audience is still there. And, on the upside, you may have a growing pool of prospective adult learners to market to on Facebook as well. Enjoy!