Facebook began as a medium for teenagers and college students to interact, hang-out, and socialize without the necessity of a physical interaction. However, 2014 may leave Facebook singing a different tune, and marketing to a different audience.
According to a recent Social Ads Platform study, released by iStrategy Labs and published in Time Magazine, there are now over 28 million users over the age of 55 on Facebook – around an 80.4 percent increase since 2011.
On the flip side, there are now 4,292,080 fewer high-school aged users and 6,948,848 fewer college- aged users than there were in 2011, a 25.3 percent decrease and 7.5 percent decrease.
Where are all of the millennials going, and why the steady increase in older users?
The rise in people older than 55 logging onto Facebook could have something to do with simply being a loving parent. Facebook is an avenue for parents to not only monitor their children, but connect with them on a different level that no generation of people have ever explored before now.
The parenting and family connection trend has been around for some time, even an article posted on CNN.com in 2009 revealed this to be the case. Almost five years ago, a 56-year-old Houston, Texas mother is quoted as saying “We call [Facebook] our living room. We call it our living room because everybody can tell what everybody else is doing.”
Many folks are not only able to monitor the well being of their children and interact with them in a new way, but are also connecting with people they previously lost all contact with before. A simple search may now reveal a long lost pen pal or high school sweetheart. Facebook provides the need human beings have to easily connect with other people, no matter how far away, and the older generation is latching onto the significance of connecting with the past.
So what about the millennials?
Many millennials don’t view social media as a way to connect with the past as the older generation does, they are constantly seeking the next best thing, and if the iStrategy study is any indication, millennials appear to be moving on to greener social media pastures. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have all seen an increase in the number of newer, younger followers (in the past six months especially) and the bus doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
In 2014, we should see Facebook facing an interesting new challenge as attempts to integrate multiple generational marketing strategies and interface updates will have to be made to appease the older generation while keeping the millennials engaged. Facebook remains at the top of the social media food chain (with all ages) for the time being when it comes to sheer numbers, but will shifting demographics change that soon? If Facebook’s recent attempted acquisition of Snapchat proves anything, it’s that
Facebook isn’t planning to wait around and find out.