Social Web – for all ages

Brandzeichen Logo_ 150pxOn the street, in the metro, in the bus, at the workplace, or in class … smartphones and social media users are everywhere. Whether for texting, looking through pictures or posting your current location – Facebook and Co. are talked about and follow us everywhere. But what is the age structure in the social web actually? Do only young generations surf the internet? Or does the generation 50 + post and tweet as well? What age group is reached by Facebook ads and clicks the “Like”-button? This blog post deals with this question.

The number of internet users exceeds the two-billion mark and one in four now uses social media. In Germany, 53,2 million people are online, that is 75% of the population. In Western Europe there are all in all 174 million active social media users (see graphic) and Infografik Nutzung sozialer Netzwerke 2013considering all networks, German users are even the most active ones. We have e.g. 22,5 million Facebook users, that is about half of all internet users in Germany. 19 million users visit it daily. According to Facebook the number of active users even exceeds the combined number of readers of the three biggest daily papers (BILD, Süddeutsche und FAZ) in Germany.

The Pew Research Center examined this year’s social media activityinfographic-social-media in February, May and August of all online users worldwide. In the digital age the results of the study is not surprising: 81% of teenagers between 13 and 18 years old are active on social media platforms. The number of active users older than 18 is 72 %. The majority of the social media users are between 18 and 29 years old and constitute 89% of the active social media network users. Above the age of 30 the number of users decreases, as the interest and social media affinity is not as strong as among teenagers. It is therefore even more interesting that 43% of people over the age of 65 regularly surf the world wide web. It becomes thus less and less likely to add Grandpa on Facebook. Especially tablets generate strong interest among this age group, which was not raised with social media, and fuels the further growth of user numbers.

Facebook as the top dog throughout all generations

The worldwide use of the particular channels is immensely interesting: Facebook is the number 1, both with teenagers and older generations, followed by Twitter which similarly to Facebook is dominated by younger people and is mainly about the quick exchange via short text messages. Generations above 18 prefer networks like Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr, whose focus is more on the exchange of photos and graphic data.

Germany – land of the silver surfers?!

Besides the international numbers of social media consumption we are particularly interested in the German statistics. So what is the use of social media channels in Germany? The biggest user group here are again the 14 to 19 year olds who constitute 91% of the total social media users. What is surprising is the high number of the users over the age of 50! From the so-called ‘silver surfers‘, which means the age group between 50 and 64 years old, 68% are active in social networks. Also, 66% of the generation 65 plus uses Facebook and Co.

facebook-nutzerwachstum-deutschland-2013-2017[2]Consequently, there is a high potential of reaching adults and seniors with ads via social channels. Further, there is a rising trend of users in this age group and hardly any difference between sexes: 78% are male users, 77% are female.

A social media study conducted by eMarketer in April this year predicts a further rapid increase of social media users till 2017. Moreover, the discrepancy of age groups is supposed to close even more. According to the study, till 2017 the number of Facebook users will increase up to 26,9 million and the total number of social media users will probably exceed the 36 million mark by 2017.

By the way: The private use of social media has established to number 2 of the most popular communication channels. In this respect, the increased spread of smartphones has played a significant role. However, the telephone still is the number 1.

In a nutshell: The users of social networks belong to all age groups – with a rising tendency. Informing online about products, trends and activities, tweeting, liking and sharing is ‚in‘; finding friends all over the world and communicating non-stop – all from your sofa at home. Companies can be part of that community by interacting with their fans. Real time branding and user dialogues can increase brand loyalty and customer relations effectively and dismantle communication barriers. Facebook can thus be used as an effective service channel to increase customer satisfaction. With the growing number of users more and more people – current as well as potential customers – can be reached and the brand popularity and brand awareness increased.

In short: Whether in private or professional life, the social web has become indispensable – at any age!

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