A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that YouTube and Facebook remain the most widely used social media platforms among adults in the United States. At the same time, the survey showed substantial increases in the number of TikTok users.
According to the survey, YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used online platforms among U.S. adults, with 83% and 68% usage rates, respectively.
Approximately 50% of U.S. adults use Instagram. Other platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Snapchat have usage rates ranging from 27% to 35% of U.S. adults.
This year’s survey was the first to ask about BeReal, a newer photo-sharing app with a usage rate of just 3% among U.S. adults.
The percentage of U.S. adults who use TikTok has increased from 21% in 2021 to 33% currently. This growth rate for TikTok exceeds the more modest or stagnant growth rates observed for other social media platforms over the same period.
Age Disparities In Social Media Use
The survey results reveal differences in social media platform usage across age groups. Adults under 30 were likelier to use Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok than older adults.
For example, 78% of 18-29-year-olds reported using Instagram, much higher than the 15% of adults 65 and over. Snapchat and TikTok followed similar usage patterns, with younger adults showing higher rates.
In contrast, YouTube and Facebook had more consistent usage across age groups, though younger adults still exhibited higher engagement on these platforms than older adults.
Demographic Differences In Social Media Use
The Pew Research Center study revealed demographic differences in social media platform usage.:
- Instagram: More popular among Hispanic and Asian adults, women, and those with some college education.
- TikTok: Higher usage rates among Hispanic adults and women.
- LinkedIn: Most popular among Americans with higher educational attainment.
- Twitter (now “X”): Usage correlates with higher household incomes.
- Pinterest: Significantly more popular among women.
- WhatsApp: More frequently used by Hispanic and Asian adults.
Takeaways For Social Media Marketers
The Pew Research Center’s latest findings on social media usage in the United States provide several valuable insights that social media marketers should consider when developing marketing strategies:
- YouTube has broad appeal across all age groups, making it an essential platform for video campaigns targeting a broad audience.
- Facebook maintains an extensive user base and provides capabilities for targeted advertising and reaching diverse demographics.
- TikTok is experiencing explosive growth, especially among younger users, presenting opportunities for brands to leverage its creative and viral nature.
- Instagram is highly popular with youth and minority groups like Hispanics and Asians, making it suitable for campaigns targeting these demographics.
- LinkedIn caters to educated professionals, making it ideal for B2B marketing, thought leadership, and employer branding.
- Short-form video content is rising in popularity, as seen with TikTok, so bite-sized engaging videos can capture limited user attention spans.
- Though smaller in scale, niche platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, and WhatsApp enable targeted niche marketing opportunities.
- Emerging platforms such as BeReal could provide first-mover advantages as they expand.
- Snapchat and TikTok are essential for engaging users under 30 years old.
- Cross-platform campaigns allow greater reach and unified messaging.
- Platforms popular with specific audiences like Hispanics, Asians, and higher-income households, such as WhatsApp and Twitter, should be considered when marketing to those groups.
Marketers can apply these insights to craft platform-specific strategies tailored to user demographics and behaviors. A nuanced understanding of the latest trends can inform more effective social media engagement and returns on marketing investment.
The Pew Research Center surveyed 5,733 U.S. adults between May 19 and September 5, 2023. Ipsos carried out the survey using both online and mail methodologies to obtain a demographically representative sample of the U.S. adult population. The results were weighted by gender, race and ethnicity, education, and other relevant factors to align with U.S. Census benchmarks.
The survey represented a transition from traditional phone polling to a combination of web and mail. The Pew Research Center has provided details on the survey methodology and the potential impact of this change for those interested in better understanding the data collection process.
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