Life stage a critical factor

Age plays a major role in how likely a person is to be a social media user, but important demographic characteristics go far beyond simply how old a potential user is. Consumers’ life stages influence their presence on social media as well as their concerns as shoppers and buyers, which is what makes them of interest to marketers on social sites to begin with.

Preliminary results from a Media Audit study of social media users highlight the differences in usage and interest among adults in different phases of their lives.

While the youngest respondents without children were most active on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace, the presence of kids made adults overall much more likely to be on social sites. More than 60% of adults with kids of any age living at home used Facebook, Twitter or Myspace, vs. 51.3% of all adults, and the parents of young children were especially avid users. Among respondents with children under 6 years old, 67.1% had used one of the sites in the past month, while 58% of parents of teenagers reported the same.

US Social Media Users*, by Presence of Children in the Home, Oct 2010 (% of respondents in each group)

These young parents also represent a group more likely than average to make many big-ticket, family-oriented purchases, such as cars, video cameras, PCs, large appliances or a new home. And parents looking to make these purchases for their families are more likely than average to be found on Facebook and similar sites, especially parents of kids under age 6.

US Social Media Users* Who Plan to Buy Select Products in the Next 12 Months, by Age of Children, Oct 2010 (% of respondents in each group)

Having kids brings out many needs and desires for new parents, from an interest in sharing photos and videos of the little ones on sites like Facebook to the issue of buying a new Flip camera to take those videos. For marketers looking to target new families interested in buying such items, social is an especially good place to look.

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