A common question that crops-up when I’m discussing the potential for Web 2.0 approaches to supporter engagement is whether such things as Facebook and MySpace aren’t just the domain of ‘young people’ (a flexibly applied term – usually defined as ‘younger than our supporters’).
One useful source of information to help inform such debates comes from Forrester Research, who have recently released an update to their Social Technographics profile for the UK.
Social Technographics is Forrester’s approach to segmenting the consumer marketplace based on how people engage with Social Media (another term for Web 2.0). Within this model, consumers can belong to one or more of the segments shown above, depending on how high on the Social Media engagement ‘ladder’ they have climbed – from ‘Inactives’ at the bottom to ‘Creators’ at the top.
The percentages shown above represent the proportion of the UK 16+ ‘frequent net using’ consumer market who Forrester’s research say engage at each level. So, as of the end of 2007 they estimate that 37% of frequent net users were in the ‘Joiners’ segment – using social networking sites.
This data can also be cut by age band:
Sure enough, overall engagement peaks in the 16-17 age band, with 71% ‘Joiners’ and 47% ‘Creators’. However, the spread of engagement towards the right of the chart still makes for encouraging reading. In particular in the 45 to 54 band (the entry level to the ‘Baby Boomer’ audience which represents so much untapped fundraising potential) where almost 1 in 5 frequent net users are in the ‘Joiner’ category.
As social networking and other social media applications become increasingly mainstream it’ll be interesting to watch for future updates from Forrester to see just how quickly the engagement of ‘older’ consumers on the upper rungs of the ladder grows.
One thing’s for sure – the numbers will be moving in the right direction for online fundraisers.