Facebook In Devon – Statistics

Whilst raising awareness of social networking and the possibilities that it offers local government, something which i am always asked is “So how many people are we really talking about then?”

Well i thought i would find out, so I used the facebook “advertising” option and this is the results based on facebook’s Estimates.

All the following statistics are based on these search criteria:

who live in the United Kingdom
who live within 25 miles of Exeter, Barnstaple, Torquay, Newton Abbot, Tiverton or Plymouth
Age range

  • Under 25 – 66,560 people
  • 26- 40 – 56,380 people
  • 41 – 55 – 23,300 people
  • 56 plus – 5,240 people
  • Men – 73,780 people
  • Women – 79,180 people

What I find interesting about these statistics is that for most groups we are talking about the size of a small/medium town, so it would seem to add value to the argument that we really need to listen and communicate/engage these people somehow to find out what we can do to improve services locally for them.

The bigger question though for me and i’m not 100% sure of the answer although i’d guess at No is:

  • Are these people likely to be engaged already in Shaping Local Services?

Now facebook isn’t the only tool, but it does provide a good example of the level of people locally who you could reach, and who are likely to have not been reached before. Surely that can only be good for local democracy and service improvement.


2 thoughts on “Facebook In Devon – Statistics

  1. Thanks Carl, these stats are significant, so I did a similar experiment for Cambridgeshire after reading your post. These stats are based on people in a 25 mile radius of Cambridge and Huntingdon, as those were the only two major towns in Cambridgeshire featured (which leaves a big gap north of the county which is quite rural).

    Age range Total
    All 165,220
    13 – 25 61,740
    26 – 40 71,020
    41 – 55 27,320
    56 – 64 4,980

    Speaking English 80,700
    Speaking Polish 440
    At University 7,720 (of which 6,660 are 13 – 25 age range)

    What we don’t know is how many users have active accounts they use on a regular basis or if they engage with the Council another way. I did however see some interesting research last year from City University which used content crawlers to analyse MySpace profile content, however with Facebook that wouldn’t be possible due to privacy settings.

  2. I’m experimenting with Facebook Ads this week. Have signed up for the princely sum of £3.40 per day for 1 week to promote Libraries and membership. I’m not expecting people to join in their droves – but hopefully we’ll raise awareness and our fan-base. Will let you know how it goes…

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