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41.6% of the US Population Has a Facebook Account


As I have been out talking to CEO’s about why their company’s should be engaging on social networks, one of the first hurdles that I need to overcome is the mistaken belief that social networks are about college students and kids. It is easy to understand how they have arrived at this perception since it is likely that they first heard about it from their kids or grandchildren, or from early media accounts that focused on how college students were using MySpace and Facebook to stay in touch with one another. Well perception and reality do not always mirror one another.

According to the Census Bureau’s population clock, as of August 8, 2010, there were 309.9 million people in the United States, of which 50.7% are woman and 49.3% are men. According to checkfacebook.com, there are 128.9 million American’s who have Facebook accounts, of which 55.7% are woman and 44.3% are men. Therefore, 41.6% of the U.S. population has a Facebook account today. The U.S. population also accounts for 26.4% of the global Facebook population.

Not surprisingly, and part of what fuels the perception that Facebook is dominated by college students and kids, 44.6 million accounts are registered to individuals aged 24 and younger, just over 1/3 of all U.S. Facebook accounts.

Those between the ages of 25 and 34 account for 31.7 million accounts or almost 1/4 of all accounts. Based on poulation estimates, this age cohort has about 41.5 million members, which means that three quarters of them have a Facebook account. Therefore, it should come as no surprise why brands focused on Gen X and Gen Y are using social media channels to engage their consumers.

But what about brands and companies that want to reach an older population? Should they be focused on traditional communication channels? Clearly the data shows that they would be making a mistake to disregard Facebook as a place to reach out to their customers.

There are 22.4 million Facebook accounts registered to individuals between the ages of 35 and 44, compared to the estimated 44.3 million in that age cohort. If you do the math, 50.4% or 1 in 2 of those prospective customers are using Facebook. Of the 45.3 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 54, 16.1 million have Facebook accounts; 35.7% of the cohort.

As you would expect, the older the age cohort the lower the percentage of Facebook accounts. Nevertheless, 9.3 million Facebook accounts are claimed by those between 55 and 64, which translates into 27.7% of the 33.5 million people in that age category. Individuals 65 and older account for 7.2% of all facebook accounts, just 12 of every 100 have an account.

Given the costs of reaching these populations across each media channel, a P.R. or marketing strategy that fails to take advantage of facebook is missing an opportunity to reach a significant audience at a relatively low cost. Clearly the data validates the importance of using traditional communications channels, but if you are looking to reach those aged 34 and under, how would you spend your scarce advertising dollar?

If your trying to sell to the 45 to 64 cohort, you certainly would have to use traditional media, but how much could you save by focusing some of those scarce resources by advertising on Facebook.

On Friday, The Steve Miller Band used their Facebook page to let their 147,000 fans know that their new album, Bingo, was available for a limited time for $3.99 at Amazon. I missed that update in my news feed. This morning I noticed an ad on my home page:

Steve Miller Band – $3.99

For 24-hours only, Steve Miller Band’s BINGO! will be  on sale at Amazon for just $3.99! Click here to get it now

Since I had already identified myself as a fan by liking the band’s Facebook Page, they directed an advertisement to me.  I purchased the album this morning. Their first sales pitch incurred no cost, their second pitch had a relatively low cost.

According to the Nielsen Company, the average active social media user, logs in 19.2 times per month on Facebook, spending an average of 5 hours and 52 minutes on the site. If you are a CEO, or someone whose job it is to grow your business, the role that social media will play in your strategy is a function of who comprises your target audience, and where you can find and engage that audience. Clearly, a portion of that audience, regardless of age, are using social media channels. The key to a successful social media strategy is to identify your audience and determine which social media platforms are appropriate for that engagement.

Join The Conversation

  • Mar 8 Posted 6 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    So sick of facebook. It has taken the place of more personalized communication.

  • Aug 9 Posted 6 years ago Courtney (not verified)

    I have to agree with Patricia that this is a great article.  It has a bunch of very helpful stats to convince a CEO that social media isn't always about what the trending topics on Twitter are.  It is a place to connect even if only weekly.  I recently read a blog post on White Horse about how to explain that idea to you C-suite.  It was great because he compared it to the idea that social media isn't always talking about Mel Gibson. I think the two articles would pair well to make a presentation for a marketer's C-suite. 

    If you are interested here is a link to the blog post:   http://bit.ly/d9DlvD

    I should say I do work for White Horse but I thought you might be interested in the related information.

  • Aug 9 Posted 6 years ago Herb Lawrence (not verified)

    Great post! thanks for sharing this data, Facebook users just keep growing and opportunities keep improving.  I run a Small Business and Technology Development Center in rural Arkansas as part of our university's economic outreach program.  We work with a lot of small businesses interested in getting more involved in Facebook for marketing but are conerned about whether their target market is there or not.  These kinds of reports are great tools for us to use to share with them to show them their potential customers sure are there.  Thanks again

  • Aug 8 Posted 6 years ago Patricia Millman (not verified)

    Great article to get me more motivated to leverage Facebook.  Must admit that as a baby boomer with limited techie skills, have been put off a bit with the whole Facebook thing when I check out my Gen Y relatives postings :-)  Even they are getting tired of it,  but you make some really relevant points here and I now must reassess how I can use Facebook when my business plan is up and running.

    Now Twitter....that's another matter.  I love tweeting and have made some amazing connections on there, even finding some business ppl willing to help me with traffic generation who live in my home town.

    Learning heaps from you guys here.  Thanks again for your generosity in sharing your experiences.  Sure helps us newbies to keep going.

    Patricia  Perth Australia


    all things lavender




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