Social networking's not just for kids

A growing number of 35 to 54 year olds are using sites like MySpace, once thought to be a haven for youngsters.

Google's move to pick up YouTube for a whopping $1.6 billion is a clear move toward achieving its social networking ambitions. Yahoo, in its purchase of Jumpcut and its rumored vie for Facebook, clearly has similar aspirations.

If you have any doubts as to the monetary potential of the red-hot social networking market, consider a recent study by comScore Media Metrix revealing that a growing number of 35 to 54 year olds are using sites like MySpace, once thought to be a haven for youngsters. (Reston, Va.-based comScore Media Metrix, a division of comScore Networks, provides Internet audience measurement services.)

What that means is, people with more spending power than teens and 20-somethings are flocking to these kinds of sites, and that spells big opportunities for generating tons of advertising dollars.

According to the study, 38.5% of combined users on MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and Xanga are between the ages of 35 and 54. MySpace, which has 55,778 users, boasts the highest percentage of that age group at 40.6%. Next is Xanga; 35.6% of its 8,066 users are in that 35 to 54 year-old age range. 34.5% of the mere 1,043 users on Friendster are 35 to 54. Finally, Facebook can boast that 33.5% of its 14,782 users are 35 to 54 years of age.

Here's how the numbers break down, as provided by comScore Media Metrix:

Total Internet

Demographic

Profile of Visitors to Select Social Networking Sites

Percent

Composition of Total Unique Visitors

August

2006

Total U.S. Home/Work/University Locations

Source:

comScore Media Metrix

Percent (%) Composition of Unique Visitors

Total Internet

MySpace.com

Facebook.com

Friendster.com

Xanga.com

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

Looking at the study broadly, Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix had this to say in a written statement:

"While the top social networking sites are typically viewed as directly competing with one another, our analysis demonstrates that each site occupies a slightly different niche. MySpace.com has the broadest appeal across age ranges, Facebook.com has created a niche among the college crowd, Friendster.com attracts a higher percentage of adults, and Xanga.com is most popular among younger teens. There is a misconception that social networking is the exclusive domain of teenagers, but this analysis confirms that the appeal of social networking sites is far broader."
Recommended
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies