In Ireland Vine & Tumblr Users are Youngest, Facebook & Foursquare Oldest
By Luke Abbott.
After our recent Facebook research into how different types of posts perform and the breakdown of Facebook users by county we wanted to identify the average age of a Facebook user in Ireland, but then we thought, why stop at Facebook? Why not identify the average age of Irish users of as many social networks as possible? The big stumbling block, of course, is that no social network actually provides this data.
However, we know we can access data related to Irish users on Facebook. We also know that each of the social networks we wanted to examine has a presence on Facebook. So if we can extract data on Irish Facebook users, why not extract data on Irish Facebook users who like Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat etc? Of course this comes with some caveats; this isn’t a random sample of the Irish population, but with 3 out of 5 Irish people over the age of 15 on Facebook, it’s the closest thing we have at this time. We’re also making the assumption that people who have liked a social network on Facebook are users of that social network on a regular basis.
While these figures should be considered guides, here’s what we found;
• Facebook, launched in 2004, has the oldest average age at 30.6 years
• When we only examined Facebook mobile users this came down to 25.4 years
• The social networks with the youngest audience are relatively new ones – Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat
• This doesn’t mean ‘older’ social networks have an average older age either; Twitter (where users are 21.2 years on average), Youtube (22.1 years) & Reddit (23.1 years) were launched within the two year period after Facebook
• These three networks have the 3rd, 4th & 5th youngest average age from those we examined
Pinterest, launched in 2010, bucked the trend of the ‘newer’ social networks by featuring towards the older end of the list with an average users age of 26.6 years
• Foursquare users are the second oldest at 28.4 years showing that mobile based apps aren’t just favoured by the young, however the younger audience may not find location based apps as useful as communication apps
Social Network Average Age
Facebook (Mobile) 25.4
Facebook (All Users) 30.6
How Accurate are These figures?
Truthfully the only way you’ll get 100% accurate figures is by asking 100% of the population. However where we can find data on the demographic breakdown of the social networks it broadly supports what we have found. The Facebook figures fall in line with figures they released earlier in 2013 (namely 63% of users are under the age of 34 and mobile users skew younger). Tumblr data from Quantcast (that is now unfortunately hidden) showed that most users were aged 18-24, we found 75% of their users were aged 15 – 24. Recent Ipsos MRBI data suggests that Snapchat users are young; 9 in 10 Snapchat users are under the age of 35 and 43% of Irish adults aged 15 – 24 have an account which is very high for a relatively new app. Further research from Ipsos also highlights 53% of those aged 15 – 24, but only 27% of all adults, aged 15+ also have a Twitter account which would suggest that network’s audience also skews younger.
However that is not to say we didn’t identify some irregularities. The smallest sample size we examined for a single social network was 2,480 for LinkedIn. Given that LinkedIn has a Dublin headquarters with 400 employee’s, and the small sample size, it is possible to assume that the majority of those employees (including past employees) like LinkedIn on Facebook and this may skew the figures. For the rest of the social networks we were looking at considerably larger sample sizes (the next smallest was Reddit with 3,280 users then Foursquare with 4,320 people). Google+ was excluded as there was no data available.
What Does this Information Tell Us?
If you’re trying to reach a younger audience on Facebook keep mobile in mind; ads on desktop in the right hand side might be less effective for that audience, however they may be effective for reaching an older audience. Also think of the type of posts that you’ll be sharing and how these, plus your apps, look on mobile too.
If you’re targeting teens there might be less cluttered and ‘cooler’ platforms than Facebook to do so. Teens have plenty of other options and given the fast adoption rate of an app like Snapchat you have to wonder if the time they once spent on Facebook has now been allocated to the newer platforms.
It’s not all bad news for Facebook though. What this study does show is how Facebook is unbeatable for reach across all demographics. Sure Vine and Tumblr have the kids, but how many of them? Only 4% of people over the age of 15 use Vine in Ireland, Tumblr does have 81,000 unique visits per month but Snapchat is clearly leading the way in terms of younger users (as mentioned 43% of those aged 15 to 24 already use it). This could indicate that younger users are more likely to try new technology when launched before the mainstream and older users join.
The fact ‘older’ (in terms of social networking) audiences have gravitated towards Pinterest and Foursquare could indicate a maturing and splintering of the social network scene with platforms catering for distinct niches. However are these networks the kids will grow into as they get older or will these networks existing audiences grow old with them?