The Pew Research Center often publishes some of the best comprehensive data on social media use in the United States. Just last week, they released a new report on social media use that I am sure I will be mining for some time.
Here are just five key statistics I took away from the “Social Media Use in 2018” report published by Pew Research Center last week.
1. 73% of American adults use YouTube; 68% use Facebook.
More Americans use YouTube than use Facebook.
Let me say it again: more Americans use YouTube than use Facebook.
The future of social media is video, period. According to the Pew report, 94% of 18-24-year-olds use YouTube, 88% of 25-29-year-olds, and 85% of 30-49-year olds. In the 18-29-year old bracket, Facebook is at least 10% behind YouTube.
YouTube has its issues, about which I have written on this blog before, but as long as it can maintain the delicate balance of pleasing both its creators and its advertisers, it will continue to become more important in our social media strategies.
2. 51% of Facebook users visit the site “several times a day.”
The percentage of social media users who visit Facebook “several times a day” is higher for Facebook than for any other social media platform. More Americans may use YouTube than Facebook, as explained above, but more Americans visit Facebook multiple times per day.
So, when it comes to the amount of time Americans spend on a particular social media platform, a statistic Pew did not survey, it is safe to say Facebook probably still wins that battle.
The Facebook algorithm is causing a lot of havoc for publishers, but as Facebook users still visit the site multiple times per day, it is possible for your content to be seen one of those times. Probably even more likely than a given tweet, because…
3. 53% of Twitter users visit the website less often than once per day.
I was honestly a bit shocked by this simply because Twitter is such a fast-paced, chronological social media platform.
I monitor Twitter more often than any other social media platform because it often feels like if I don’t see a tweet when it is posted, I may never see it again. On Facebook, because content of varying ages gets bumped to the top of my feed so often, I feel less urgency about keeping an eye on it.
Only 24% of Americans use Twitter, and only about half of those users even visit it daily. A lot of Twitter users think the world revolves around them, and it often feels like Twitter users feel as though they can drive broader culture in a way you don’t see on Facebook or otherwise. All the while, only 24% of the country uses the platform and only half of them even check it daily.
Twitter is a great platform, but its influence may sometimes be overstated.
4. 77% of Snapchat users also use Instagram…while just 60% of Instagram users also use Snapchat.
I have been pretty vocal on various platforms about the fact that I think Snapchat’s end is near(ish). I think Snapchat will eventually be acquired by Facebook for less than the $3 billion offer it rejected a few years ago. But, it is still alive and even thriving among some demographics, despite Kylie Jenner’s criticism of its latest update.
But I found this stat in the Pew report interesting. A high percent of Snapchat users also use Instagram, but a smaller share of Instagram users also use Snapchat. This may not seem significant, but I think it is. Why? It shows that people who use Snapchat also see value in Instagram at a higher rate than people who use Instagram think there is value in using Snapchat.
As Instagram continues to improve more quickly than Snapchat, which I think it will, more people will be drawn to Instagram and away from Snapchat, seeing the two platforms as redundant, with Instagram becoming dominant.
5. 49% of American social media users say it would be “not hard to give up” social media.
Related: about half of Americans admit to lying on a regular basis. (I don’t have a stat to back that one up, but I’m sure it’s close.)
Note the wording of this data point: 49% of American social media users say it wouldn’t be hard to give up social media. I think it would be funny to take the people who make up that 49% and force them to give it up for a couple weeks to see if they change their tune.
I take intermittent social media fasts from time to time, and I am pretty confident that if I didn’t work in the social media world, I would get off of it entirely. But, every time I am tempted to abandon social media, I am convicted to try to figure out better ways to use it for good instead of abandoning it altogether.
Have you taken a social media fast? Was it difficult? Feel free to comment with your answer or any other thoughts you may have on this data.
Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.