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February 2, 2012

What the Facebook IPO filing misses: age demographics

I keep hearing in my travels that the young folk (teens and tweens) are using Tumblr alot. Tumblr, indeed, is on a roll.

In the context of Facebook's IPO filing, I went looking for age demographics in its S-1 filing with the SEC.

Guess what? It wasn't there.

With 800+ million worldwide users, Facebook is gargantuan. But the social networking giant hardly gave insight into the demographic undercurrents driving the website's growth, in terms of age.

We've seen some of these graphics and stats elsewhere on the Web before. Like here, for 2010 estimates. And here, for 2011 estimates.

If I were investing in Facebook, I'd like to see more reporting on their age demographic trends. How fast are their various age segments growing? What is user activity among 18-25 year-olds like? What is your most engaged age demographic from a daily-average/monthly-average user perspective?

The only on-point statement I found the filing that addresses the younger demographic is the following: "We also believe that younger users have higher levels of engagement with the web and mobile devices in general and with Facebook specifically. We anticipate that demographic trends over the long term may contribute to growth in engagement as a greater number of users will come from demographic groups that have grown up with the web and mobile devices and who spend more time online every day." (page 46)

To me, one of the biggest competitive threats to Facebook is what online tools a 13 year old is using today to share their lives with friends.

Back in 2008, this chart I found on Myspace and other networks showed that 0-17 year olds were its largest demographic. Next largest? 45-54. And women dominated the site more than men.

AOL was once pretty omnipotent. But guess what? A new generation adopted new tools and new sites. Sure, people are still using AOL (dialup, no less), but AOL is a shadow of its former self.

Another random thought: Facebook has grown, in large part, thanks to women users. Look at the user stats from the above link (yes, this one). There are more women using Facebook than men in every age category.

That's pretty impressive. Women control many household purse strings. They are financial decision makers. I'm not saying this with any gender bias. But women increasingly really are decision makers, and advertisers recognize that. This is a feather in Facebook's cap.

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:21 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: *NEWS*, Social Media


he valuation is hundred times earnings in a stock market that is trading at eleven to twelve. nd a $100 billion valuation for Facebook at the top end - while huge in absolute terms - is not that out of whack in Silicon Valley IPO tradition. Facebook is seeking a multiple of up to 27 times annual revenue, or up to 100 times earnings.
In lament terms an investor will wait for 100 years to get back the invested amount with the earnings. The size of Facebook's valuation (based on the 10% that they are offering and retaining 90% for later) means that it will have to become the world's first $700 billion company if it is to replicate the gain in Google's stock. Unless you are prepared to say good buy to the money, this pricing appears to be too risky.

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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