Social networking sites are here to stay – they’re popular online destinations for teenage and adult Internet users alike. Here’s a quick look at the percentages of teens and adults online who visit social networks, and how those numbers are expected to grow over the next three years:1
Today   2011
Adult Internet users     37%     50%
Teen Internet users     70%     84%

To help you take advantage of this growing trend, here are tips on reaching your potential customers through social networking sites:
Get to know your audience

There are a couple important things to know about how people interact with social networks.

1. They share information about themselves including age, gender, and activities. Knowing this information about your potential customers can help you target your ad message to the right demographic.

2. They stay longer on social networking sites than on most sites.2 Since people tend to spend more time on social networks, try creating a click-to-play video ad or gadget ad that will allow them to interact with your ad while staying on their favorite site.
Find your target audience

1. Use placement targeting to show your ads on specific social networking sites. You can also target individual sections of a social networking site that are especially relevant to your target audience, such as the Computers & Technology forum on MySpace or groups related to technology or electronics.

2. Some social network sites have demographic information about their users, and you can use Google’s demographic bidding feature to reach these audiences by age and gender. This can be used with a placement- or keyword-targeted campaign. See a list of sites that are currently available for demographic bidding.

Posted by Charles Yarbrough

Charley has been working as a webmaster since 1998. Since then, he has had his hands in thousands of websites and has helped millions get online through a company he partially owns called Web Host Pro.