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Analysis of Pew Report on Social Media Use by Older Adults

August 29th, 2010 · 3 Comments

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) 42% of internet users over 50 year old are now using social media sites with +80% growth rates.  Analysis:  If your Grandma has an email address then she will likely friend you on Facebook in the next 12 months, if she hasn’t already.  Grandma, has disposable income especially if she’s on the internet.  Therefore marketers will follow and spend more time and money on social media.

A new report “Older Adults and Social Media” by the well respected Pew Research Center is available for your free download here. Which highlights the changes in social media use by people 50 and over.  Some of the main findings, are:

·         Of those on the internet social networking use nearly doubled from 22% to 42%.  Which means nearly half of connected older adults are using social media today.

·         86% of those 18-29 use social media with a growth rate of 13% which pales in comparison to the 86% growth rate of the 50-64 year old age group or the 100% growth of the 65+ age group.

·         Social Media usage rates by age group: (of adult internet users)

o   18-29 yo 86%

o   30-49 yo 61%

o   50-64 yo 47%

o   65+ yo     26%

·         Twitter usage: 11% of 50-64, and 5% of 65+, is basically in its infancy in this age group.  However Pew reports that the daily usage rates are similar to those of younger age groups for those older people who do use Twitter.

·         Email is still king for older adults.  92% of internet users 50-64  and 89% of 65+ send or read email daily.

·         The unusual thing about social media is it’s stickiness.  Meaning the ability it has to cause users to return frequently and spend time on the sites.  44% of the respondents to the survey 50 or older had used a social media site the day before.  Compare to under half of online banking users 50 or older used the site the day before, and under 20% who use online classified sites (eBay, Craig’s List, etc.) visited “yesterday”.

What do people do at social media sites:

Source: Pew Research Center report Older Adults and Social Media 8/27/10

Pew reports that social media may be more popular with older people because of three main reasons:

·         Reconnecting with people from their past which can provide a powerful support network. 

·         Older people are more likely to be living with chronic disease therefore needing support and information online.

·         Social media bridges generational gaps.

So right now your odds of grandma having a Facebook account if she already has an email account are 42%.  But grandma’s are joining Facebook more quickly than granddaughters so by next Christmas your odds will likely be North of 60%.  So now’s the time to clean up your status updates and get ready.  It’s also the time to plan your marketing, and get your social media presence established.  A great idea for service companies for older people? Create a way for your company to help them understand and use social media more effectively.

Download your free copy of the Pew Research Report

Give me 1 Good Reason why you’re not using more social media to reach your target audience. Leave your comments below:

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Tags: Facebook Friday · Marketing Monday · Reasons For Net Marketing

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nancy Passow // Aug 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Interesting statistics. Both my parents and my MIL (all in their mid to late 80′s) are active computer/e-mail users (my dad even has an eBay account). Of course my mother complains constantly that none of her grandchildren will friend her on Facebook (which she only knows about because my sister always talks about her and her son’s posts). I refuse to friend my children or any of my nieces and nephews, they don’t need me looking over their shoulders. However, every now and then I’ll call my daughter and ask what her cousins are up to — she’ll go to Facebook and give me a quick rundown. And I am connected to my son and several nieces and cousins on LinkedIn.

    More seriously, it is true that social media isn’t just for the young. There was some joking around that now that the older generations were using Facebook, the younger ones would find something new. But it looks like all the generations are making use of social media and even occasionally interacting. Marketing specifically to the older generation makes a lot of sense.

  • 2 Tweets that mention Analysis of Pew Report on Social Media Use by Older Adults -- Topsy.com // Aug 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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  • 3 Tweets that mention Analysis of Pew Report on Social Media Use by Older Adults -- Topsy.com // Nov 16, 2010 at 4:48 am

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