Monday, October 22, 2007

Here's some random Facebook stats!

Something wonderful happened today. Facebook updated their "Flyers" ad interface to allow people to more specifically target their flyers. Now don't get confused just because the old interface is still inexplicably up -- the new shiny interface is right here. Update: The "old" interface is for "Flyers Basic" and the new one is for "Flyers Pro" -- my mistake.

Why is this such an awesome thing? Well, to hear some of the regular Web 2.0 mouthpieces, this kind of targeted advertisement will mean laser-accurate ads and big money for everyone involved. But that's not why I'm excited about it at all. I'm excited because the interface happens to open up more of Facebook's deep well of stats to the public.

For example, I can tell you approximately how many US Facebook users list Grey's Anatomy as one of their favorite TV shows (1,774,560). Or how many men list Braveheart in their favorite movie as opposed to women (257,320 vs. 82,140). Or that more than five times as many Conservatives list "The Bible" or variations thereof than do Liberals (dirty pinkos).

I'll be honest, there's very few things that can hold my attention as fervently as good statistics fodder. To that end, I spent far too much time in Google Docs creating spreadsheets and graphs of all kinds of data lovingly torn from Facebook's cavernous depths. I haven't quite gotten into anything too deep, but what I have done is:

a.) Facebook Users by Age (about what you would expect, really. Nineteen is the age to be, apparently)

b.) Users by Age and Gender

c.) Percentage of users by their political views over time

(Percentage based on people who responded)

d.) Percentage of users by their relationship status over time (Note that steady increase in married people starting at age 22...)

(Percentage based on people who responded)

That's all the stats I've had the time and motivation to collect so far (I haven't found a way to automate it yet but if you've got any ideas, let me know). If there's interest, let me know what you'd like to see and I'll do it up.

It's worth it to mention that Facebook's stats obviously aren't without their biases, so this is far from scientific data. Update: For example, all of Facebook's numbers are multiples of 20 for some reason. Also I'm not a professional statistician. But it's still fun to play with, right?

Oh yeah, and if you're interested in seeing more of the raw data, I've shared the Google Spreadsheet I used to make the graphs. It's right here.

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