In the next couple of months, I’m giving three talks to different groups associated with post-secondary education. In preparing these speeches, I was doing research into Facebook’s market penetration among BC’s teens.
As you may know, Facebook’s advertising program lets you thin-slice your target audience in all sorts of interesting ways–gender, age, location even specific interests or workplaces. I created a query that indicated that I could reach 344,860 British Columbians between the age of 15 to 19. I take this to mean that there are 344,860 profiles matching that criteria on Facebook.
Curious to see what percentage of all BC teens this was, I checked the BC government’s stats for the current population of teens aged 15 to 19 in the province. They reported 287,444. I took screenshots of the two sources:
That means that there are 1.2 profiles on Facebook for every BC teen. Is that possible? Probably. After all, I recently read that 99% of the 2012 class at Amherst College had a Facebook profile. I suppose that if 20% of teens created two profiles, they’d generate these results.
And I remember reading some of danah boyd’s (lower case capitalization hers) research that indicates that teens discard unwanted profiles frequently, and often create several on a given social network.
In any case, isn’t this kind of false advertising from Facebook? The most teens an advertiser could possibly reach in BC is all of them: 287,444 in 2008, a few more in 2009.