Facebook Crosses 60 Million Monthly US Users, But Fewer People Over 55 Coming Back

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Two months ago, we reported that the number of US Facebook users over 35 had almost doubled over the previous 60 days from 9.8 million at the beginning of February to 17.1 million at the end of March. In the 60 days since, the growth in US Facebook users over 35 has continued, but at a cooler rate. Today, 18.0 million Americans over 35 are returning to the site monthly, but only 2.2 million of those are over 55 – compared with 2.8 million two months ago.

Facebook US Audience Growth: Comparing the Last Two 60 Day Periods

Looking at Facebook’s US audience growth over the last 60 days, we see that Facebook’s growth rate has slowed somewhat from its torrid pace earlier this year. In February and March, Facebook grew by 10.8 million active users in the US, or over 11% per month, to 56.1 million. However, in April and May, Facebook grew by 4.35 million active users in the US, or about 4% per month, to 60.4 million.

As you can see below, the number of active users in each age bracket decreased in the latest 60 day period over the previous one, except for users 18-25. Facebook actually experienced a surge in the 18-25 age bracket in the US, growing by nearly 2 million active users.

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Fewer Users Over 55 Coming Back

However, the number of active users over 55 actually decreased by over 650,000 during this period. In other words, users over 55 who joined the site earlier this year haven’t been coming back as much in April and May, even though the number of active users in every other age bracket has gone up. Maybe older users are still getting acclimated to how to use Facebook’s real-time stream to share information with friends and family.

US Facebook Users by Age Group and Gender as of Today

Facebook now reaches 60.4 million Americans every month. Users 18-25 still represent 33% of that number, but the majority of Americans on Facebook are over 25. In fact, nearly a third are now over 35.

Women still represent the majority of users on Facebook – 56% to 44% over men. There are more women than men on Facebook in every age bracket.

As always, developers and marketers should pay close attention to the market segments where Facebook is growing fastest, as that is where competition (and cost of user acquisition) are lowest.

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Methodology

Finally, a note about methodology. All of these numbers are estimates provided by Facebook through its advertiser tools. We have been monitoring Facebook’s data closely over the last year, and were quite surprised by the drop in usage by people over 55. When asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson responded, “Bear in mind that these tools gives out estimates, not real-time figures.”

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41 Responses to “Facebook Crosses 60 Million Monthly US Users, But Fewer People Over 55 Coming Back”

  1. Bruce Christensen says:

    I wonder if the 55 and older crowd will do more of an ebb and flow on this platform?
    They are coming in by invitation from younger family members who want to share life experiences and pictures with this demographic.
    If this is so, then we should see spikes around graduation time, holidays and traditional wedding periods. It would be interesting to measure this.
    These unique events will draw the older crowd back to connect with younger family members. The good thing for Facebook is that the more that they come back the more they will feel comfortable with the service.

  2. Finance Geek » Is Google SkyNet? In A Word: Yes says:

    [...] People over 55 are quitting Facebook [Inside Facebook] [...]

  3. Trish says:

    I was on Facebook briefly, left and returned. After returning, my reason for leaving it only resurfaced, only worse than before. As a member in the 45 to 50 group, I too was invited to join by famiy. Facebook is a very OPEN venue. You must tread very lightly as to what you type…and even more lightly as to where you are typing it. Too much af a fishbowl, too much gossip and too competitive via pictures and remarks…..a trainwreck waiting to happen….

  4. marty says:

    Trish is right – a train wreck waitig to happen. I am over 65…I enjoy the pictures and comments on trips, vacations, graduations, gettogethers, etc. I do not get a kick out of “seeing how smart I am” and getting to the end and wants me to join some scheme for $9.99 a month, etc. Hugs, pokes, gifts, drinks, parties etc….sent to each other..not my cup of tea! And be careful what you type…and if you push the “share” button, up comes a friends picture on your wall…I don’t see where there is a “help” or “set of rules how to work” area…I probably won’t stay around too long on Facebook.

  5. Baby Boomers dropping from Facebook?? | The Factory Interactive - The Revolution will be Digitized says:

    [...] Baby Boomers are dropping from the beloved site as quickly as they  joined. According to data that Facebook supplies to its advertisers, the 55-to-65-year-old age group’s activity has drastically declined over [...]

  6. Sean C says:

    @Trish @marty “Facebook is a very OPEN venue. You must tread very lightly as to what you type…and even more lightly as to where you are typing it. Too much af a fishbowl, too much gossip and too competitive via pictures and remarks… a trainwreck waiting to happen…”

    “And be careful what you type…and if you push the “share” button, up comes a friends picture on your wall”

    Dear Old People,

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Ahem *gains composure* Please stop being ridiculously paranoid freaks. And please stop believing all of these ridiculous 20/20, 60 Minutes “investigative” highly one-sided, biased reports designed to instill fear, cloaked as something to bring “awareness”. You would believe anything these programs said because you are a product of an earlier easily- led-by-the-media sheep and are too lazy to investigate things for yourselves. You make up the majority of viewership for both of those programs btw according to Nielson survey data.

    Bottom line, facebook is one of the more, if not THE MOST secure social networking site online to date, in terms of person to person privacy. It has highly intuitive privacy settings for dense old people who refrain from all things new and technological to a fault. You are allowed to block people from seeing things you write, or block them completely, you are allowed to filter what you see as well. Don’t want to be tagged? Remove your picture tag and it can not be tagged again. Don’t know who the person adding you as a friend is and are afraid they are going to find out where you live and murder you? Facebook tells you who you know in common, if that doesn’t suffice, facebook allows you to see their profiles before they can see yours, if that doesn’t suffice – DON’T ADD THEM! EUREKA!

    There are shortcomings, for instance, I’m not sure if it is possible to ever, EVER delete information you put on the internet, whether it be from a secure server or not, but you can stop the general public from seeing it via search engines by making your profile private (therefore blocking spider crawls). So unless you are a fugitive wanted by the FBI you are in no immediate danger of being stalked by Marge the Old People Molester.

    Unless you want to crawl into a hole and never be heard from again, or worse, never to be sought out again by family please stop being creeped out creepy people who are bordering on clinical narcissism because you believe others actually give a sh*t who you are or what you are doing enough to seek you out and harm you on facebook or other technological advancements. This is how you communicate with us, this is how you stay relevant, this is how you don’t disappear.

    It’s probably past your bedtime anyway, so grab an ensure, change the diapy, and go to sleep… and turn off Geraldo or that rerun of Oprah.

  7. Users Over 55 Quitting Facebook: The Baby Boom Times Over? says:

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  8. TechDozer » Users Over 55 Quitting Facebook: The Baby Boom Times Over? says:

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  22. LOTD: 5/29/09 | Open The Dialogue says:

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  23. Social Milestone » Blog Archive » Facebook Crosses 60 Million Monthly US Users, But Fewer People Over 55 Coming says:

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  27. Julie Roth says:

    I wish Sean C hadn’t riddled his comment with so many insults, because he actually hid some important (and reassuring) points inside all that invective.

    1. The mainstream (especially broadcast) media does like to instill fear about new technologies instead of instructing their audience in how to take advantage of the new media sensibly. (Motive: new media are making mainstream media obsolete.) Yet another example of the problem with getting all your information from a single source.

    2. Facebook has been set up to be a highly secure environment, giving its members a lot of control over who can see what they post on their profiles. So, for example, you can set up your profile so that family members can see some of your posts, friends can see others, and strangers don’t even know you exist. (AllFacebook wrote a good introduction to setting up your privacy settings the way you want them: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=51899978294&h=kK6Wh&u=WF9s4)

    But about the “decline” in older Facebook membership, I wonder how much of it is more generally a computer-literacy issue than an age issue per se. Older people tend not to have spent as much of their professional lives sitting in front of computers all day, so they didn’t have the practice time or the opportunity to become comfortable with computers. Younger people in every profession spend more time in front of the computer than older people had to, so they have simply had more opportunity to learn it. (Heck, younger generations even goof off on a computer.)

    Ultimately, it may not matter whether it’s age or a computer-literacy–unless you’re marketing to those people and want to address what’s actually going on so you can reach them.

    I wonder further how much of the “decline” is simply a frequency of use issue. Younger users check their social accounts several times a day and are astonished when a peer hasn’t seen something 24 hours after they’ve posted it. Older users may simply check in less often–it may occur to them only monthly to see what’s happening, or they may not think to go online unless someone tells them they’ve sent them something.

    Anyway, statistics are fascinating, but they’re only the beginning of intelligence. To use the information, you have to dig for the “why.”

  28. Julie Roth says:

    Sorry, that AllFacebook link should be http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/

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  36. c wayne s says:

    Oh, Julie Roth, what Sean C said is just fine and you know it. It is time to start talking to these people this way. These are the same people who have ruined every visionary breakthrough in communications and information that the internet has offered, by turning it into some cheap buzzword they could make a cool red penny from, and then scorch that earth till it’s black and useless. (“Drill baby, drill.” What age group is the mouthpiece for that nonsense?) Or by slapping the label of “piracy” on anything that they couldn’t figure out well enough to make a buck on.

    These are the people who at every opportunity – for like 20 years and goin’ strong! – have felt the need to point out how stupid and lazy we are. How education has left us all behind and we were too absorbed in our ‘vidya games and that there internet’ to even notice, bunch of brainwashed easy street slackers that we are. But let us paint their generation with such a broad brush, and all the sudden it’s not just cute forty-something wit, but scathing invective.

    The truth is, these posters sound like the people I work with. Who wouldn’t know how to use a mouse if they didn’t have me there saying, “Okay, now you point at the little X and click” (“Uh, do I ‘Double Click’? No, you don’t. Just do it the way I said so I can get back to my own work, please.)

    They want to call our whole generation stupid when they could never even set the clock on a microwave, without some benevolent corporate hand to guide them through the process. (Take the guy above who is unhappy with the service he pays nothing for: “…I don’t see where there is a ‘help’ or ‘set of rules how to work’ area.” They need a set of rules and are afraid of the machine without one.

    That’s why I respect their parent’s generation more than theirs. Those people figured out a thing if they didn’t know how to do it. Or, they just figured out a workaround. Those Great Generation folks may not have known how to do something, but they were not pretentious/conceited enough to pretend that they do. That they must. That they will give you twenty dollars, if you’ll just show them how to do it… So our little “hobbies” aren’t so worthless after all, I guess.

    Sean C.’s post was spot on and, though I was nearly in tears laughing at it, you are right about one thing: for those crafty boomers smart enough to read between the lines, everything they need to know is there.

    And if he takes a few jabs here and there at that Old Fogie Paranoia that you can sit there and condemn, but that you cannot deny exists, the who’s to blame him?

  37. Catriona says:

    One of my uncxles aged 50 said to me about 6 months ago when i asked him about FB that he was “50 why would I join” and “I dont know anything about it except it is open slather for preditors”. However he is now into it in a big way I think older people just need to get to use it to see what it is really about and they get hooked. I have to admit I was sceptical at first as well and took a long time to join but when i did loved it.

  38. 3 Easy Ways to Use Facebook « 3Fold says:

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  39. Over 50: Most Important Yet Challenging New Internet Demographic | says:

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  40. End of the FaceBook Boomer Boom? | PTP says:

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  41. December Data on Facebook’s US Growth by Age and Gender: Beyond 100 Million | susanbeebe posterous import says:

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