Social Networks not for Kids

The notion that social networks are only for the young is fading fast, according to new data from The NPD Group, a global provider of consumer and retail market research information.

The study, which surveyed 11,600 consumers online, found that 41 percent of American baby boomers have visited social networks. The study also found that 57 percent of all web users have visited social networks in the past three months, and that on average baby boomers visited those sites eight times during that 90-day period.

“Overall, these sites offer a great opportunity to marketers at many age levels, but the boomer visits are really a surprise,” said Russ Crupnick, NPD’s entertainment industry analyst. “These things may be targeted to a younger audience, but as we are seeing, there are more older people who enjoy these services.”

With audiences that are growing in both size and diversity, it will be up to MySpace and Facebook — both of which have been working feverishly to roll out new products — to sell advertisers on two ideas. First, that social networks are viable channels for reaching an audience with branded messages, and second that the audience isn’t solely comprised of young people.

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