Should Twitter have an age-limit?
Media companies have always segmented. When you’re in college, you buy Maxim. When you graduate, your dad buys you a subscription to Time. About three years later you start to appreciate the articles in it.
But with new media, it’s always been a young person’s game. There hasn’t been a way to really segment your product, because the only target audience is under 30.
I remember when I found out that Twitter’s users under 34 made up less than a quarter of its visitors. I was shocked. A social network, without the generation that grew up on social networking? How could that be?
On Facebook, 92% of the sites traffic comes from the under 34 group. Sure the older crowd is starting to get hip, but it’s going to take a while. They’re simply not getting the pressure to join that someone in Gen Y receives. My 23-year old friend got 2-3 invites per day before he got a facebook. My 49-year-old father gets one invite a month from his wife (who’s in her 30s.)
But, this skew towards an older demographic may be Twitter’s competitive advantage. And that’s why I hope the Twitter founders realize what they’ve got.
If I’m working at Twitter HQ, I’m going to work as hard as I can to position Twitter as “The Social Network for adults.”
Obviously there’s a fortune to be made pulling in investors by appealing to the youth. But, I don’t think Twitter can take Facebook’s users. And the Twitter service is uniquely set-up for users who are older.
First, it really can act as a customized feed of your favorite authors and celebrities. The older demographic has flocked to the site because they can catch Rick Reilly’s latest thoughts, without having to wade through Jennie’s 21’st birthday pictures, seven of their friends having ended relationships and a half dozen invites to various parties/groups.
And because there’s just updates, Twitter is NOT time consuming. For time-starved adults, the quick hits/micro-blogging model is the most appealing.
So if I’m running Twitter’s marketing, I’m accepting that Facebook owns the crowd under 34. If I want to run an ad, I’m positioning Twitter as the Grad School to Facebook’s raucous party atmosphere. That is a smaller audience, but it’s a much more attainable audience.
Follow Devin on Twitter at www.twitter.com/devinkunysz