Interest around Facebook as an advertising medium is exploding, arguably because the site's user base is still rapidly growing: 750 million users and counting. Of course, not all these users react to advertising the same way, according to a new research study by SocialCode, which calls itself a Facebook-focused agency.
The research examined over 4 million data points across over 50 clients from a wide variety of industries to get a better understanding of how age and gender affect click-through rates (CTR) and Facebook Like rates on the social network. The results show that older Facebook users have a higher CTR while younger Facebook users tend to click the ad's Like button instead. Aside from being older, Facebook ad clickers are more likely to be women.
The study found that while age has a strong positive effect on whether a user will click, it oftentimes has the opposite effect on the likelihood of the user Liking a given Page:
50+ year-old users, the oldest segment in the study, are 28.2 percent more likely to click through and 9 percent less likely to Like than 18-29 year-old users, the youngest group observed.
Versus the rest of the younger population on Facebook, 50+ users see a 22.6 percent higher CTR and a 8.4 percent lower Like rate.
When broken down by gender, age has a much more pronounced effect on CTR for women than it does for men, whereas for men there is a stronger effect on the Like rate than for women:
Overall, women are 11 percent more likely to click on an ad.
Men are 2.2 percent more likely to Like an ad than women are.
For women, CTR is 31.2 percent higher for the 50+ age group versus 18-29 year olds, while men only see a 16.2 percent difference between the age groups.
Versus all age groups, 50+ women's CTR is 22 percent higher versus a 16.4 percent difference for men.
The oldest male segment has an 11.7 percent lower Like rate than the youngest segment, and a 9.5 percent lower Like rate versus all age groups. Women only see a 7.2 percent and 7.9 percent difference, respectively.
"In general, younger Facebook users are more comfortable using the Like button than older users at this point," SocialCode CEO Laura O'Shaughnessy said in a statement. "With inline fan ads on Facebook, older users have a high level of interaction and curiosity about the ads as evidenced by their high CTRs, whereas younger users have a higher propensity to click the 'Like' button right in an ad on Facebook. We assume that while older users are adopting Facebook at a high rate, they are also the newest subset to join the social network, meaning they may not have high friend numbers so ads are less likely to have social context in advertisements."