Quiz: what do these two Facebook status comments have in common?

Example 1:  Bill listed his status as “checking Facebook because the thing is so damned addictive.”

Example 2:  Wendi updated hers to say she was “annoyed by the ‘Born in the 60s, no wrinkles’ FB ads. They suggest intervention which most of us haven’t had.”

Answer:  They both exemplify emerging trends regarding Facebook usage.  Hat tip to Beth Kantor for turning me (and her bajillion other readers) on to a new report from Neilsen (of ratings fame) that explains these comments and a few other things.

No wonder Bill can’t get off Facebook.  Facebook has the highest average time per person of the 75 most popular ‘member community’ sites in the world.  Time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing at 3 times the rate of overall Internet growth.  The average time spent on Facebook per person is 3 hours, 10 minutes.

Wendi is perturbed that some advertiser is using Facebook’s veritable goldmine of detailed personal information (like the fact she was born in the 60s) to pitch something to her.  She should expect more of this until advertisers start to understand some of the subtleties – like, uh, Wendi considered it insulting.  Time spent will become more valuable than pages viewed, and advertisers will soon figure out that Facebook is a great place to be.  Unfortunately, there’s good evidence that Wendi is not alone in experiencing the annoyance factor.

Both Bill and Wendi are over 40.  A lot more people my age are on Facebook, which is now the most popular social network in the world.  The greatest growth is occurring in the 25-49 year old segment, and FB added twice as many 50-64 year old visitors as <18 year old visitors this year.

What’s it mean for non-profits?  In a post on the 17th, I talked about the increasing importance of pay-per-click advertising.  That advertising won’t just be on search pages like Google.  Look for more opportunities to test very targeted advertising on Facebook.  But watch out for the Wendi factor and make sure you identify people who have an interest in causes in your area.  Don’t just define them by broad demographic categories.

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