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Facebook Fandom Spotlight: How Do People Consume Comics?

It’s been over four months since looking at the Facebook Fandom stats of how people are consuming comics and how are they reading them? That issue came up again in a heated comment thread over at The Beat, so I felt it would be cool to check out how things might have changed, especially since Facebook has updated their reporting system.

I dipped into Facebook to see how and what individuals are consuming in the United States using only the main key words. So, for the comics stat, the terms are “comics” and “comic books,” for graphic novels the terms used are “graphic novel” and “graphic novels.” I didn’t include any specific titles or publishers, just the most basic terms.

As expected, the totals for each of the terms has grown a lot over this time period, increases I’ve seen in my monthly report and not shocking since Facebook’s update that began to return more data. Overall, more than 21 million new folks are in this report.

The changes in gender have been fascinating as well. In some cases the percentage of men has increased and others its decreased. Women still make up the majority of comic strip readers.

Check out the old and new stats below.

September 2013 Stats

comics consumption 9.23.13

February 2014 Stats

comics consumption 2.10.14

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe

With it being Veteran’s Day, I felt it appropriate to look at another military inspired toyline, comic, cartoon and movie series, G.I. Joe for today’s Facebook Fandom Spotlight. For this report, we’ll also compare the results to a similar property, Transformers.

For this report, I looked at a lot of terms of characters, television shows, video games and comic book series titles. It’s a long, exhaustive list of 49 different terms.

Facebook Population: Over 1,600,000 in the United States

That’s a very small population compared to general comic fans or Transformers fans, both of which is 10 times the size of G.I. Joe fans. Something doesn’t seem to translate as far as social networking and community.

Spanish speakers account for now 220,000 fans, 13.75% in the United States that’s about about a full percentage point lower than Transformers.

Gender and Age

When it comes to the breakdown of men and women, Transformers fans are pretty much similar to the general comic fandom populace. Men account for 58.93%, slightly higher than comics and women make up 41.07%, slightly lower. G.I. Joe however is more heavily male dominated as I’d expect. Men account for 63.75% of fans and women account for 36.25%.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender 11.11.13

Here’s the gender as it breaks down with age. We see the expected increase of female fans, most likely due to how Facebook users skew to begin with.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender age 11.11.13

Here’s the breakdown of age and gender for the group. We can see that the largest portion of the fans lies in the age of folks who grew up with the cartoon series and toys, those in their 20s and 30s.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender age raw 11.11.13

Relationship Status

With a population that’s a bit older than Transformers fans, the percentage of those who are engaged, in relationships or married is higher for G.I. Joe fans.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe relationship 11.11.13

And for those that like pie charts.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe relationship pie chart 11.11.13

Education

With a population mostly of college age or just graduated, we see that when it comes to the education breakdown.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe education 11.11.13

Gender Interest

When it comes to same gender interest, G.I. Joe fans is lower than the general comic fandom, but similar to Transformers fans.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender interest 11.11.13

That wraps up this edition. Join us next Monday for a new Fandom Spotlight!

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Who are the Digital Comic Fans?

This weekend saw New York Comic Con and digital comic distributor comiXology release some data about their recent survey as well as an infographic about the results. While we can’t tell you how many Facebook users read comics on the toilet, we can compare things like gender and interests. Today, we bring you the latest Facebook Fandom Spotlight, digital comic fans.

For this report, we’ll look at general comic fans in the US, and worldwide, as well as what information we did learn from comiXology’s release.

For this report, the terms were pretty simple, “digital comic(s),” “comixology,” and a few other were used for this, giving us a solid list of these interested in digital comics or their services. This does not include web comics or individual series.

Facebook Population: Over 88,000 fans in the US and 340,000 globally.

Spanish speakers account for now 14,200 fans, 16.14%. in the US and a whopping 220,000, which is 64.71% globally. That’s a few percentage points higher in the US, but over triple the percentage globally. While I didn’t dive in further, I’d guess a large percentage live in Spanish speaking countries.

Gender and Age

A new customer is emerging: She’s 17-26 years old, college-educated, lives in the suburbs, and is new to comics. She prefers Tumblr to Reddit. She may have never even picked up a print comic.

Along with the above, it was reported that comiXology’s female readership has increased from 5% a year ago. Geek Mom who was at the presentation reports:

Of buyers new to ComiXology in the last three months, 20% are women. That’s up from less than 5% when they started the app, and it’s a number that Steinberger says is changing rapidly.

Knowing that, we can then expect if the Facebook statistics hold true, we’ll see more than 5% women and less than 20%. And this is exactly what we see in the United States and globally.

Digital comics trail general comics when it comes to gender break down. In the United States, women account for 9.55% of likes and globally, they account for 19.41%. While that’s a pretty wide percentage, it shows that our results align close to what we know from comiXology.

US Digital Comic Fans

us gender 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global gender 10.14.13

Comixology has also said that men between the age of 27 and 36 is the majority of their fans. Our breakdown of age isn’t exactly the same, but see how our stats line up with the limited data release.

US Digital Comic Fans

us gender age 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global gender age 10.14.13

The trend lines for the US and global above are very similar. Below, you can see the raw data for both.

US Digital Comic Fans

us gender age raw 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global gender age raw 10.14.13

Relationship Status

There’s some differences in the relationship status for fans in the US and globally. In the US, the fans are much more likely to be married while globally they’re much more likely to be single.

Compared to general comic fans, the US fans vary greatly, mostly being married, while the global fans are only slightly more single than general comic fans.

US Digital Comic Fans

us relationship 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global relationship 10.14.13

And for those that like pie charts.

US Digital Comic Fans

us relationship pie chart 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global relationship pie chart 10.14.13

Education

compared to the general comic populations, the education breakdown of digital fans is very similar.

US Digital Comic Fans

us education 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global education 10.14.13

Gender Interest

For both, there’s higher percentages of men interested in men, while lower percentages of women interested in women.

US Digital Comic Fans

us gender interest 10.14.13

Global Digital Comic Fans

global gender interest 10.14.13And that wraps up the latest edition of the Facebook Fandom Spotlight. From the little information comiXology has released, it looks like our statistics are pretty close. Until next week….

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: NYC Comic Fans?

With New York Comic Con starting this week, I thought I’d break down how many comic book fans are in New York City by neighborhood in this Monday’s Facebook Fandom spotlight! Below is the raw data with the highest numbers and percents in green and the lowest in red. In one neighborhood, Southeast Bronx, women make up a majority of the fans!

NYC fans

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Who are the US Comic Fans?

This week we get a second dose of the Facebook Fandom Spotlight. Yesterday saw us look at the fans across the world, while today we look at fans just in the United States!

For this report, I again looked at the terms we used in previous reports, over 40 “likes” on Facebook, primarily focused on terms like “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan.

We’ll compare these stats to yesterday’s statistics as well as last month’s look at the same group.

Facebook Population: Over 12,200,000 fans in the US

Since last month’s report, the population of fans has increased by 800,000 individuals. Unfortunately we don’t know which specific terms caused the growth. Spanish speakers account for now 1,720,000 fans, 14.10%.

Gender and Age

Compared to last month’s US fandom, both men and women saw gains, though men saw more and a decent chunk aren’t marking down their gender. Overall, both men and women dropped percentage wise. Men now account for 57.38% compared to last month’s 57.89% and women account for 40.98% compared to 42.11% last month. Globally men account for over 60% of fans, so it’s interesting that in the US is almost 3 percentage points lower.

US Comic Fans

us fans gender 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender 9.30.13

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

US Comic Fans

us gender age trend 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender age trend 9.30.13

Even with slight differences  in the gender composition, compared to the international fans, we see very similar trend lines in the United States with the shifts occurring at about the same age ranges for each. Here’s all of the above in it’s raw data form.

US Comic Fans

us gender age raw 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender age raw 9.30.13

Relationship Status

Fans in the United States seem to be more settled down compared to the global fans. Less are single, engaged or in relationships, but more are married. Compared to last month’s statistic, more in the US are engaged and in relationships and slightly more are married.

US Comic Fans

us fans relationship 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans relationship 9.30.13

And for those that like pie charts.

US Comic Fans

us fans relationship pie chart 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans relationship pie chart 9.30.13

Education

Overall, compared to the global fans, those in the US are in college, high school or college grads in higher percentages. Compared to last month, those in the US are college grads or in college in greater numbers, while those in high school remained largely unchanged.

US Comic Fans

us fans education 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans education 9.30.13

Gender Interest

Interestingly enough, compared to global fans, there’s fewer people percentage wise marking down same gender interest for both men and women. Compared to last month in the US, there’s a slight increase in men interested in men and women interested in women remains constant. Due to overall growth though, the percentages have both decreased.

US Comic Fans

us fans gender interest 10.1.13

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender interest 9.30.13

And that wraps up this month’s Facebook Fandom Update of comic fans in the US. Join us next Monday for a brand new report!

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Comic Fans Around the World

Back during San Diego Comic Con we looked at the breakdown of comic book fans around the world. Today, we update those statistics with a fresh update in our Monday Facebook Fandom Spotlight.

For this report, I again looked at the terms we used in previous reports, over 40 “likes” on Facebook, primarily focused on terms like “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. This also includes 21 countries that either are known for the comic fans or a major population center.

We’ll compare these stats to the previous statistics and tomorrow, since it’s the first of the month we’ll compare fans in the United States to those globally.

Facebook Population: Over 46,000,000 fans globally

Since that report about two and a half months ago, the overall count for fans globally has increased by 4 million individuals. Spanish speakers account for now 9,600,000 fans, 20.87%. That’s an increase of over 5 percentage points since the previous report.

Gender and Age

Since our last report, women have made up some ground when it comes to percent of the population. Men account for 60.81% of the population, a decrease of about 2% since last time. Women account for 37.83% of the population.

 

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender 9.30.13

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

 

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender age trend 9.30.13

Very similar to the previous month, we see an even split in age for a larger part of the age range compared to the previous report. And here’s all of that raw data.

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender age raw 9.30.13

 

Relationship Status

Compared to the previous report of this same group, the relationship stats have remained pretty constant with some slight shifts here and there, but the overall percentages of relationships have barely moved.

Global Comic Fans

global fans relationship 9.30.13

 

And for those that like pie charts.

Global Comic Fans

global fans relationship pie chart 9.30.13

 

Education

Generally, education has remained very similar percentage wise compared to the last time we ran this report.

Global Comic Fans

global fans education 9.30.13

 

Gender Interest

Again, like the other stats we’ve seen, the gender interest is about the same, though same gender interest has dipped.

Global Comic Fans

global fans gender interest 9.30.13

Join us tomorrow when we look at these same statistics for fans here in the United States!

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: How Do People Consume Comics?

One of the biggest questions I got last week about how I come up with the Facebook Fandom stats is how people are consuming comics and how are they reading them? So, to answer at least some of those questions, I quickly dipped into Facebook to see how and what individuals are consuming in the United States using only the main key words. So, for the comics stat, the terms are “comics” and “comic books,” for graphic novels the terms used are “graphic novel” and “graphic novels.” I didn’t include any specific titles or publishers, just the most basic terms.

These results actually tells us two things. The result I get of 11 million general “comic” fans is mostly made up of these terms, though I don’t include webcomics or Sunday comics/comic strips. The next is, according to this, different genders consume comics differently. Women prefer comic strips and have a higher affinity for manga, men prefer trade paperbacks and digital comics.

comics consumption 9.23.13

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: The Comic Company Employees!

It’s Monday, which means it’s a new edition of Facebook Fandom Spotlight, where I break down the demographics of a particular group of fans. For this week I attempt to figure out who exactly is creating and delivering us out comic books. That’s right, I attempt to break down those employed in the comic book industry. We’ll compare this group to the greater comic fandom.

About a year ago, Marvel was looking to hire a new digital director. I felt I was qualified and applied by sending in my resume, but also running Facebook ads targeting Marvel employees. I went with that function including about a dozen companies I could find in the industry. This includes Marvel, DC, some shops and Diamond. It’s a very small sample, mostly made up of those who have marked themselves as employees of Marvel and DC.

Facebook Population: Over 2,220 in the United States

Spanish speakers account for now 240 individuals, 10.81% in the United States that’s about 3% lower than the general comic fandom.

Gender and Age

When it comes to gender and employment in the comic industry, we find a starker split between the breakdown between men and women when compared to general comic fandom. Men accounted for 69.37% compared to 58.62% and women account for 30.63% compared to  39.66%. This report is skewed as companies that have a good mix of men and women like IDW and BOOM!/Archaia aren’t included, nor are independent creators. Still, this shows a pretty wide gap.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees gender 9.23.13

When it comes to breaking down the age, the biggest issue is the sample size. The lowest return for results Facebook gives is 20 individuals. It won’t give counts lower than that. As age increases, the exact count gets shakier because of this with the breakdown eventually falling apart.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees gender age 9.23.13

Here’s the breakdown of age and gender for the group. You can see where this breaks down. For those under the age of 21, I chalk that up to store employees and interns (the latter I can’t prove).

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees gender age raw 9.23.13

Relationship Status

When it comes to relationships, comic employees fair only a little bit better than general comic fans. Percentage wise, more are married than the general group.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees relationship 9.23.13

And for those that like pie charts.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees relationship pie chart 9.23.13

Education

As expected, the percentage of those that are “college grads” is much greater than the general comic fandom. Makes sense since this should mainly be employees.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees education 9.23.13

Gender Interest

Compared to the general comic fandom, those with same gender interest is abysmally low. I marked the number as 20, since that’s the lowest number Facebook returns, but in reality it’s much lower than that.

Comic Industry Employees

comic employees gender interest 9.23.13

 

That wraps up this edition. Join us next Monday for a brand new Fandom Spotlight.

About Those Facebook Fan Studies. I Go More Into Detail on the “How”

Cross-posted at The Beat.

facebook logoTwo years and some months ago, I posted the first study of what Facebook told us about comic book fans. 45 or so posts later on the subject, I’m still gathering data with various breakdowns of not just comic fans but other fandoms as well. At Small Press Expo, I talked with Heidi MacDonald of The Beat about these types of statistics and mentioned what I’ve been doing when a discussion about studies and surveys began. While what I do isn’t perfect, it does give us an idea of the trends over a period of time. But as Heidi asked more questions, it was clear what I was doing might not be obvious to most folks, so she offered me a chance to go a bit more in depth about the topic over on her site, which I cross-posted here. Below covers how I get this information, but also why it’s important.

The reason I began this was simple, some comic “experts” were debating how many comic book fans existed in the United States, stating it was between 300,000 and 400,000 fans. While it’s impossible right now to get a proper survey done, like the Entertainment Software Association does every year for video games, there were data sets that existed that could be used to give a rough idea. Working in politics, I deal with data daily and use it to get candidates elected or advocate some issue. I decided to take what I learned in politics and apply it to the comic industry, hence this.

The Methodology (aka How the Hell I Do This)

The first study I did immediately blew that belief of 300 to 400,000 people out of the water. I quickly found over a million fans on Facebook in the United States alone (that took me just a few minutes to do). Since it was first done, the system I manipulate in Facebook has improved and evolved allowing me to expand my search and find even more individuals. The way I do all of this is Facebook’s advertising platform. Facebook isn’t just a social network, it’s a massive database of information, the information you provide when you put your location, age, gender, and your “likes.”

It’s those “likes” where I find the data I aggregate. Anyone can do this really and marketers do it every day delivering ads they think might be important to you. For instance, when I recently got engaged and changed my relationship status, I started to receive ads for tuxedo rentals and buying houses, my fiancé received ads for bridal dresses and wedding items.

What I do is compile a list of “likes” I think are relevant to the comic book industry and fans. I use terms like “comics,” “graphic novels,” and the names of numerous publishers among other terms. I stay away from characters or authors. Just because you like Superman or Neil Gaiman, doesn’t mean you like DC Comics or comics in general. Movies, television, and video games are kept separate as well. In all over 50 terms are used (I stopped counting a while ago) and I max out the number you can do in Facebook’s system.

Today, the terms I use regularly return over 11 million fans in the United States alone. At that 11 million mark, each term I add brings back less and less, showing a lot of overlap (Facebook tells you how many fans a term has before you add it, so you can figure that part out).  Even when I add characters names, like Superman, I max out at 22 million and have struggled to get higher than that.

The Flaws

Doctor Who Facebook Gender 9.16.13Obviously the first flaw is that this is based off of what people tell you, but so is a survey. A “like” does not equal someone who goes to comic shops, but I then retort and ask why they don’t. If someone is a “fan” and “like” Marvel or DC and not buying comics, it is a failure of this industry in not getting them to do so. They are fans, they are just not engaged. In the political flipside, this is the equivalent of my motivating someone to get out and vote. I do this type of work every day, it’s a pain in the ass, but it is possible.

There’s also a flaw in the data, period. The first being, those under the age of 13 are under counted due to privacy laws. This would be an issue in most cases though.

The second is, women generally make up the majority of Facebook users in the United States; globally that’s not the case (and in my global studies, I look at 22 total nations). However, that’s not as off as you’d think compared to the general population of the United States. Women in the US account for 50.8% of the population as of a 2012 estimate, for Facebook they account for 53.41%. If anything globally, they’re underrepresented making up 46.29% of the Facebook population but in the actual world, the percentage is very close to 50/50.

Often in studies we see the count of female fans increase so they’re the majority. I often contribute that to how the general Facebook user stats shake out. So, this should be kept in mind when looking at what I present.

So why does this matter?

Here’s the dark secret about politics, with a little bit of information, I can tell you how you’ll vote. By knowing your gender, education, and income, for examples, I can tell you what party you belong to and how you’ll vote. We also have massive databases going back years with that information too. We look at when you have voted to determine if you’ll vote in the future. If someone goes to the poll every primary and election and is doing so in Democratic primaries, I can probably count on them to keep doing so. That simplifies it all, but hopefully gives you an idea of where I’m going.

So, let’s take that logic and apply it to comics. I’ve talked about looking at customer differently in the past, and why data and databases are important, but here’s the simplest scenario. You have comic “A” which is enjoyed by men that are 30 years old primarily, and comic “B” that’s enjoyed by 30 year old women. If you wanted to find more buyers for comic “A,” you’d target 30 year old men and “B” target 30 year old women. To treat the audiences of these two comics as the same is a mistake and bad business.

I’ve shown that fandoms differ. Doctor Who fans are 50% female. Transformers fans are almost 59% male. Fans of female comic book characters are over 62% female! Fans of comics, and geek culture as a whole, is diverse with each niche’s make-up differing from the next. We need to wake up and realize this and use the knowledge and data that’s out there to our advantage, getting the right interests in front of the right people, sharing our love of our hobby.

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Doctor Who Fans. 50% Women!

It’s Monday, which means it’s a new edition of Facebook Fandom Spotlight, where I break down the demographics of a particular group of fans. For this week, it’s a group of fans that has exploded over recent years, Doctor Who Fans! We’ll compare this group to the greater comic fandom.

For this report, I looked at a lot of terms of characters, television shows, video games and comic book series titles. It’s a long, exhaustive list primarily made up of the names of characters.

Facebook Population: Over 4,000,000 in the United States

That’s about one-third of the greater comic fandom.

Spanish speakers account for now 420,000 fans, 10.5% in the United States that’s about 3.5% lower than the general comic fandom.

Gender and Age

When it comes to the breakdown of men and women, Doctor Who fans is almost evenly split, a first among the fandoms we’ve looked at. Men account for 48.00% while women account for 50%. The last 2% haven’t listed their gender.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Gender 9.16.13

Here’s the gender as it breaks down with age. We see the expected increase of female fans as age increase, most likely due to how Facebook users skew to begin with. However, the helix like design for the rest is unexplained as men and women traded off back and forth which was the greater population depending on age.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Gender Age 9.16.13

Here’s the breakdown of age and gender for the group.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Gender Age Raw 9.16.13

Relationship Status

Compared to comic book fandom Doctor Who fans tend to be more married and percentage wise fewer are single. What’s interesting is men are the majority of the single fans.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Relationship 9.16.13

And for those that like pie charts.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Relationship Pie Chart 9.16.13

Education

Compared to general comic fandom, Doctor Who fans percentage wise are greater in number as far as “college grads” and “in college.”

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Education 9.16.13

Gender Interest

When it comes to same gender interest, Doctor Who fans are more interested in the same gender.

Doctor Who Fans

Doctor Who Facebook Gender Interest 9.16.13

That wraps up this edition. Join us next Monday for a brand new Fandom Spotlight.

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