Monday, March 5, 2018

America's Most Popular Social Media Platform?


What is the most popular social media platform in the United States?

The Pew Research Center carried out a survey about social media use among US adults in early January 2018. Their results were a surprise. The King is dead! Long live the King!



Social Media Use

In 2016, Pew found that 79% of adults who are online in the US used Facebook. Instagram came in second with a distant 32% score.

This year Pew asked a different question. Instead of looking at online adults, they reported data about all US adults. By this metric, Facebook held steady at 68% of all adults in both 2016 and 2018.

However, Facebook came in second this year. Pew reported that 73% of all adults use YouTube. Whether or not YouTube topped Facebook in 2016 is unknown because Pew didn’t include Google’s video channel in its 2016 survey.

All the other social media platforms Pew included in this year's survey came in far behind the two leaders. The other platforms in descending order were Instagram (35%), Pinterest (29%), Snapchat (27%), LinkedIn (25%), Twitter (24%) and WhatsApp (22%).



In addition to YouTube, Snapchat and WhatsApp were not included in Pew’s 2016 survey.

All of the others with the exception of Instagram attracted about the same percentage of adults in 2018 as in 2016. Instagram usage grew from 28% to 35% over the two-year period.

Most US adults use more than one social media platform. The median adult uses three of the eight platforms Pew examined. YouTube also led the multi-use rankings. At least 87% of the users of each of the other platforms also use YouTube. WhatsApp was the least used “other” platform.

While more adults use YouTube than any other platform, they use it less frequently than some of the other social media websites. Seventy-four percent of Facebook users visit the website every day with 51% visiting several times a day. Snapchat followed with 63% of users visiting daily and 49% visiting several times a day. Less than half of YouTube users (45%) visit the site every day and only 29% visit more than once a day.



Demographics

Not surprisingly, social media use skews toward the young. Here are the percentages of people in different age groups that report using at least one social media platform.

Fully 94% of adults between 18 and 24 use YouTube compared to only 56% of adults 50 and older. In addition to YouTube, young adults aged 18 to 24 use Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter more than by any other age group.

Facebook users stand out for consistency of use across age groups. Approximately 80% of adults from 18 to 49 use Facebook. Fifty-five percent of people 50 and older use Facebook, about the same percentage of this age group that uses YouTube. Snapchat was the least used by older adults with only 7% of people aged 50 or older reporting they use the platform.

Pew found several other notable demographic differences in the users of social media platforms. For example, 41% of women say they use Pinterest compared to only 16% of men.



One wonders if Pinterest’s reputation as a social media platform for women might lead some men to say they don’t visit the website when in fact they do.

Many surveys reported on the Internet present their results as reliable and meaningful even though they’re based on samples of convenience or pools of people who sign up to take surveys in return for payment. Pew’s work is different. Their research is based on sound methodology and they are always careful to avoid drawing conclusions that are not supported by the data they’ve collected. There’s much more of interest in the Pew report on Social Media Use in 2018 and interested readers are encouraged to check it out.

Guest Authored By Kevin Murnane. Kevin is cognitive scientist, retired professor, gamer and avid cyclist with a B.A. in History, an M.S. in History and Philosophy of Science, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology. In addition to papers in professional scientific journals, He's written the book Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before and After the Ride, articles for Ars Technica, Priceonomics, Psychology Today, Massively, and the blogs The Info Monkey and Tuned in To Cycling. He covers science, technology and video games for Forbes. Follow Kevin on Twitter.





"Facebook came in second this year.

Pew reported that 73% of all adults use YouTube. Whether or not YouTube topped Facebook in 2016 is unknown because Pew didn’t include Google’s video channel in its 2016 survey." -KevinMurnane

    • Authored by:
      Fred Hansen Pied Piper of Social Media Marketing at GetMoreHere.com & CEO of Millennium 7 Publishing Co. in Loveland, Colorado. I work deep in the trenches of social media strategy, community management and trends.  My interests include; online business educator, social media marketing, new marketing technology, skiing, hunting, fishing and The Rolling Stones..-Not necessarily in that order ;)
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