Grownups Flock to Social Networks

Posted on October 6, 2006

Teenagers now share social networking hubs with people in their 30s, 40s and 50s according to a new report from comScore. The average age on MySpace is now 35 and 68% of MySpace users are 25 and older. Social networks like Facebook and Friendster also show an aging demographic trend. MediaWeek has an article analyzing the new comScore study.
For example, according to comScore, 68 percent of the 55 million MySpace users are 25 and older, while 71 percent of the 1 million users on the declining Friendster fall within the same demographic. Even Facebook, which up until recently was limited to college and high school students, boasts of a growing audience 15 million users - 50 percent of whom are 25-plus. Contrasty, the smaller and less popular is considerably younger, as 20 percent of its 8.1 million user base falls within the 12-17 demographic.

The relative aging of the giant social networks indicates that their recent exponential growth has been driven by new and older Web users discovering the phenomenon. For example, back in August of 2005, teens made up a quarter of the MySpace audience. Now that group represents just 12 percent of users. During the same period, the middle-aged crowd has been gravitating to the site in droves: adults 35-54 now make up more than 40 percent of the site, up 8 percentage points in the last year.
Here is a chart from the Comscore press release that shows the demographics for four social networks. For people 55 and over the percentages are much less than the total Internet percentage of seniors. Demographics for social networks are aging but seniors have not yet caught the trend as much as the younger age groups.

Total Internet MySpace Facebook Friendster Xanga
Unique Visitors (000) 173,407 55,778 14,782 1,043 8,066
Total Audience 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Persons: 12-17 9.6% 11.9% 14.0% 10.6% 20.3%
Persons: 18-24 11.3% 18.1% 34.0% 15.6% 15.5%
Persons: 25-34 14.5% 16.7% 8.6% 28.2% 11.0%
Persons: 35-54 38.5% 40.6% 33.5% 34.5% 35.6%
Persons: 55+ 18.0% 11.0% 7.6% 8.1% 7.3%

This trend at the top social networks is sure to send the young teens elsewhere to a new place with less grownups. John DeMayo doesn't buy the numbers. DeMayo is correct that if you run MySpace zip code queries there are many less MySpace profiles for the 35+ demographic.