Older Facebook Users Click On Ads, Younger Ones Only ‘Like’

A good deal of the double-digit growth rates behind display dollars this year and next is due to rising interest in Facebook as an ad medium. Clearly, Facebook’s growing member base of 750 million users is even greater than the kind of mass that advertisers are accustomed to through TV and magazines. But not all those users react to advertising the same way, as SocialCode, which along with Buddy Media, bills itself as a Facebook-focused agency, says that older users have been the ones driving high clickthrough rates on FB ads, whereas younger users tend not to go beyond hitting the “Like” button as an expression of brand interest.

Aside from being older, Facebook ad clickers are also mostly women, SocialCode says. Among the study’s topline findings:

— In general, women are 11 percent more likely to click on an ad
— “Like” rates are almost even for men and women; Men are actually 2.2 percent more likely to ‘Like’ an ad than women
— For women, CTR is 31.2 percent higher for the 50+ age group versus 18-29 year olds, 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 9.5 percent lower “Like” rate versus all age groups. Women only see a 7.2 percent and 7.9 percent difference respectively

SocialCode based its research on roughly 4 million “data points” across over 50 clients.

The study tends to conform to wider trends about clickthroughs. But as Facebook becomes a broader platform — the recent Miramax streaming movie rental deal with Facebook suggests that the social network will start looking more and more like a traditional media channel. But where TV networks, newspapers and magazines are trying to insert social media into their content, Facebook is placing more content on its network.

While this is probably a good thing for advertisers, for the publishers who have been hoping to get the same kind of lift through a Facebook alliance, they may already be sensing the emergence of a “frenemy” like Google (NSDQ: GOOG), as the social net attracts more premium brand dollars.

In terms of what sort of chunk Facebook is expected to take out of the display ad marketplace, eMarketer says the social net’s share of U.S. display ad revenues will rising to 17.7 percent in 2011, up from a 12.2 percent share last year. Overall, the researcher has projected U.S. display ad spending to jump 24.5 percent to $12.33 billion in 2011, up from $9.91 billion in 2010.