With all the talk these days about consumer insight, we sometimes forget that demographics matter.  The Facebook agency SocialCode just reported some findings relating gender and age to Facebook ad clickthroughs and "likes." 

Since last Fall up to August 2011, SocialCode analyzed Facebook ads for 50 clients and focused on those that included an image, text and a “like” button. The study analyzed how many consumers clicked on the ads, and from there, how many went on to “like” the company’s page.

Though the results are not exactly striking, the study revealed women to be more likely to click on an ad on Facebook, though both men and women are about equally likely to then click “like” once they’ve done so. The average clickthrough rate for women of all ages was 0.029%, compared to 0.026% for men of all ages. The “like” rate among those who clicked an ad was 39% for women and 38% for men.

In terms of age differences, older consumers were more likely to click on a Facebook ad, with clickthrough rates increasing from 0.026% for the 18-to-29 age range, up to 0.033% for the over-50 group.  As I said, not exactly striking, but there it is.  Moreover, consumers under the age of 50 were more likely to then “like” a brand, with 18- to 29-year-olds and 40- to 49-year-olds doing so 40% of the time. Those ages 30 to 39 had a 38% “like” rate, while only 36% of those over 50 hit the “like” button.

The conclusion?  According to eMarketer, 'Marketers can leverage these data to create Facebook ad campaigns that resonate with their target audience, and thereby increase “likes” and clickthrough rates. For example, in order to reach an older audience, brands should optimize their landing pages so these consumers can learn more about brands without necessarily clicking “like” right away. If brands are targeting a younger, more male audience, in particular, they would be well-served to focus on the “like” button within the ad.'

Good advice, but how did 'Like' become such a central benchmark of anything in marketing?  'Like' just sounds so milquetoast, kind of like having your date tell you that you are a 'nice' person, but he/she wants to start seeing somebody else.  If you're such a nice guy, for example, wouldn't she want to keep seeing you?  Or is it that she 'likes' you, but can live without you?  See what I mean?  It's pretty easy to be mildly amused by a humorous message and quickly click the thumbs-up 'like' button.  Ten seconds later, you are likely to have forgotten the brand and the message.  Who wants that?  As an attitudinal reference, I'm not sure 'like' taps any lasting evaluation.  Pringles has garnered nearly 15.5 million 'likes' for its Facebook fan page.  It's a pretty decent page, with nearly 100% response to consumer posts, plenty of short, amusing videos, etc.  How many of those 15.5 million 'friends' return to the page on a regular basis or truly appreciate the product?  'Like' - Just a passive measure of an increasingly passive culture.