demographics of social media

December 23, 2008


Just finished a research project on the demographics of social media.  Which led me to the question, “What are the demographics of social media?” Funny you should ask.

Who uses social media?

  • Everybody
  • Nobody
  • Young kids

As it turns out, all 3 answers are wrong. One of my most interesting discoveries was that, although the 18 – 29 age group is still the most active sector in terms of participation in social media (according to the Technographics survey, see below),  the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is those 25 years old and older, and  sites such as that were originally created for teenagers have since found that it’s the over-18 crowd that predominates.

Will the old folks slack off once they’ve reconnected with all their high-school and college friends and run out of things to say?  We’ll see.

It was also  interesting to learn that Facebook has 70% higher participation from African American users than the internet audience average, but that they make up only 14% of the site’s user base (see chart above, from Quantcast.)

Here are some excellent tools and sources for demographic data on any particular website, collection of sites that you designate, or ‘social media’ as defined by a large, friendly research firm.

  • type in a URL, you get a very detailed breakdown of demographics measured against the internet average.
  • yields slightly less detailed demographics than quantcast, but you can create a ‘media plan’ based on a group of sites, and see  a chart of the aggregate numbers for all of them.  Conversely, you can define your target demographic and see which sites will reach them.

two really useful offerings from Forrester Research.