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At the beginning of November, Pew Research Center released its latest “Social Media Update 2016” on the current state of the social media landscape. The five statistics below provide a snapshot view of how Americans are using social media, reconfirming the perception that Facebook is easily the most dominant social platform.
79% of online Americans now use Facebook
Just under 8 in every 10 of online Americans now use Facebook, which far outpaces the usage rates of all other social media platforms. By way of comparison, only 24 percent of online Americans use Twitter, 31 percent use Pinterest, 32 percent use Instagram and 29 percent use LinkedIn. On an aggregate basis – looking at all Americans, not just online Americans – Facebook has a usage rate of 68 percent of the entire population.
76% of Americans who use Facebook use it daily
If anything, this Facebook usage rate is only growing over time. One year ago, for example, this rate was 70 percent. Again, by way of comparison, there’s not a single other social media platform that even comes close. For example, 51 percent of Instagram users make it a daily habit. And 42 percent of Twitter users make it a daily habit. Pinterest (25 percent) and LinkedIn (18 percent) trail considerably.
62% of online adults over age 65 now use Facebook
The fastest-growing segment of Facebook users is the age 65+ category. According to Pew Research Center, 62 percent of online adults over age 65 now use Facebook. A year ago, this percentage was just 48 percent. This confirms what many have long suspected – Facebook is “graying.” Instead of attracting young millennial users, Facebook is attracting older Baby Boomers who have retired. Facebook has become a way for them to stay in touch with their kids and to stay informed about the world.
59% of online Americans age 18-to-29 use Instagram
At the same as Facebook is getting older, Instagram is attracting young millennial users (ages 18 to 29). 59 percent of online Americans age 18-29 use Instagram. The next highest use of Instagram comes from the 30-to-49 demographic, where 33 percent of online Americans use it. But if there’s one social platform that now defines the millennial generation, it’s Instagram.
50% of online adults with a college degree use LinkedIn
Of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn continues to be the one platform where usage is most correlated with economic and social status. LinkedIn is most popular with college graduates and high-income professionals. 45 percent of online adults with annual income of greater than $75,000 user LinkedIn. For non-college-educated adults and workers with lower incomes, the usage rate for LinkedIn shrinks considerably.
Taken together, these statistics suggest that a one-size-fits-all strategy for social media may not be the most effective. There are definitely nuanced differences in how different age groups use social media. And, for the first time ever, Pew is now starting to track mobile-first social platforms, pointing to messaging apps such as WhatsApp as the newest iteration of social media for young smartphone users who view social as primarily a mobile experience.