As a marketer, it’s important to know your audience, and not just in some sort of broad categorical way. Wolfram Alpha has published a visual set of data that brings Facebook’s social graph to life, showing how people connect and relate to each other on the platform. Right off the bat, this might not seem important to brands, but there are some key examples that could impact your strategy.
More than one million people have used Wolfram Alpha’s Personal Analytics for Facebook, which collects anonymized statistics about the way individuals use Facebook. In its latest update, the company launched a Data Donor program that allowed people to contribute detailed data for Wolfram to study. Below you’ll find a summary of some of the more notable findings.
The company found that the median number of Facebook friends is 342, a number that varies based on how old someone is. Teenagers tend to have more friends than adults. Also, younger people have more friends around the same age, but the range of ages broadens as individuals get older.
As a business, you rely, in part, on word-of-mouth to bring in new customers. Every time an individual mentions you in a status update, shares activity from your app, checks in at your location, or Likes your Facebook Ad, they’re broadcasting you to their network. So even though you’re targeting adults between the ages of 25 and 30, you’re also targeting their networks, which range in age and other demographics.
Additionally, as people get older, they talk less about things like video games and fashion more about politics, travel, food and drink, and money. Unsurprisingly, men talk more about sports and technology, as well as music, television, and movies, while women prefer to talk about pets, family, relationships, and health.
What’s interesting about this is that it’s unknown whether they stop talking about things on Facebook or all social networks. Companies relying on Facebook mentions as a success metric might notice a drop in older demographic groups, but those discussions might be happening elsewhere, like on Twitter or Pinterest. It’s a good reason not to abandon other platforms just because you’re performing well on another.
Here’s what Stephen Wolfram said about the results: “Some of this is rather depressingly stereotypical. And most of it isn’t terribly surprising to anyone who’s known a reasonable diversity of people of different ages. But what to me is remarkable is how we can see everything laid out in such quantitative detail in the pictures [below] — kind of a signature of people’s thinking as they go through life.”
The full range of results can be viewed on Wolfram Alpha’s blog. Granted, most of this will have little effect on your daily marketing tasks, but it’s interesting to get a closer look at this subset of Facebook members.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.