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Mind-Blowing Facebook Stats and What to Do With Them

  |  April 14, 2009   |  Comments

Facebook now has over 200 million users. Who are they, and what should you do about them?

By now, you've probably heard that Facebook has exceeded 200 million users. Clearly social media is exploding and the stats aren't just unprecedented, they're mind-blowing! To demonstrate this, I did a some stat research this weekend to share with you here.

How can you use this info and put it to practical use?

As media planners and online marketers, we must look at media buying tactics that go way beyond the list of placements, sizes, and interaction options we have on the menu today. Media buying's future won't just be about buying clicks and impressions, it will also be about encouraging peer-to-peer impressions and getting people engaged with your content. It will be about doing Facebook Engagement Ads and using chiclets to generate clicks and to get people to become your friends or fans or to post or share your content. It will be about potentiating the power of your media dollars.

Absorb these stats, share them, and realize the potential of what's happening. You can also incorporate them into presentations and e-mail you send to colleagues and clients, to show the power of social media marketing.

Let's start with the big news. Last week on Facebook's blog, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, "We will welcome our 200 millionth active user to Facebook some time today." The post offers some Flash animation with some interesting facts and a heat map showing that in some areas, like the Northeast United States, Facebook has 900 users per every 10 square miles. Here are some more usage stats:

  • We live in "exponential times," according to a video, "Did You Know 3.0." Consider that only took Facebook two years to get to 50 million users, compared to other media:

    • Radio: 38 years

    • Television: 13 years

    • Internet: 4 years

    • iPod: 3 years

  • According to Wikipedia, if Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth most populated nation on the planet, following China, India, the U.S., and Indonesia.

  • According to Compete's "Top 10 Sites Ranked By: Total Time Spent," Facebook ranks above all else for time spent and page views, including Google.

  • Facebook is growing like crazy, with over 500,000 new users per day. On January 7, 2009, Zuckerberg posted on the Facebook blog that Facebook had reached 150 million users. On April 12, he posted that it had reached 200 million. That's 549,450 new users per day!

Who's behind that growth? It's not just kids! According to Inside Facebook's article, "Fastest Growing Demographic on Facebook: Women Over 55":

  • Baby boomers and seniors are the fastest-growing group, especially women over 55. I can attest personally, as my mother, who is over 55, is a new and avid member of Facebook. (And this is a women who once told me she "didn't need the Internet, she was fine with her AOL.")

  • 45 percent of Facebook's U.S. audience is now 26 years old or older.

  • Facebook is growing in every age/gender demographic. The fastest growing segment? Women over 55, up 175.3 percent in the last 120 days.

  • 8 percent of Facebook's users, roughly 16 million people, are over 45, and 3 percent (roughly 6 million people), are over 55. This is a huge quantity of online-savvy boomers and seniors who can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy.

In addition, according to "Facebook is Your Father's (and Mother's) Social Network" in "Wired" magazine, the biggest growth in terms of absolute new users over the last six month are people 35 to 44. Compared to September 2008, over 4 million more U.S. women aged 35 to 44 and nearly 3 million more U.S. men aged 35 to 44 used Facebook in March 2009.

Why is Facebook growing so fast with older people? Two reasons: First, for the same reason it's growing with other age groups. People want to connect with friends new and old. Second, and more important, is that people can connect and stay connected with their kids and what they're up to.

Even with 200 million users, Facebook (and the rest of the Web) has a long way to go and plenty of room for growth. Consider these facts:

  • Of 6.7 billion people on the planet, only 23.8 percent (about 1.6 billion) have Internet access.

  • Of those 1.6 billion online users, only 8 percent regularly use Facebook. That means 92 percent of Internet users have yet to try or discover it.

  • With the 5.1 billion people not yet online, Facebook, and all of us who dedicate their careers to online marketing, we have a lot of growth ahead of us.

Want even more practical advice on getting tactical with social? Check out a couple more of my columns: "Social Media Integration Tips from SES NY" and "Socializing Your Banners With Chiclets."

Did I leave any out? Let me know below.

Join ClickZ Expert Julie Batten for a free Webinar: Should You Outsource Your Online Marketing Services?, Thursday, April 16, 2009, at 1 pm (EDT). Learn why outsourcing your online marketing activities -- including search marketing -- can help you save money and achieve better results.


Harry Gold

As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.

Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.

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