Social Media in 2018: Where is Your Audience?

Written by Michelle Kane, Solo PR Pro Premium Member and Head Honcho of Voice Matters, LLC

Here at Solo PR Pro, we love to “nerd out” with new data. As we serve our clients, it’s vital that we keep up with where our potential target audiences are spending time online. That’s why we were eager to dig in to see what the Pew Research Center’s latest survey – Social Media Use in 2018 – will reveal. Here are some key takeaways:

Most Popular: Facebook vs. YouTube

The winner is – YouTube! YouTube, the second largest search engine, behind Google, is used by 73% of U.S. adults. This ranking is not surprising. Think about how many times you visit YouTube for a “how to” video, listen to music, or catch up on your latest favorite TV episode. YouTube is a practical vehicle for businesses and organizations to share relevant, educational content — including professionally produced or grassroots videos, live streaming events or presentations, even uploading podcast audio – and be found by potential customers.

Despite concerns over privacy and legitimacy of news sources, Facebook leads the social sharing pack with 68% of U.S. adults using the platform. It is the only social media channel used by more than 40% of a broad demographic range of Americans, with nearly 75% of Facebook users accessing it daily. So, even though there has been an erosion of trust, Facebook may still be a viable vehicle for your message.  

Instagram is the third most popular social media platform, growing from a 28% share in 2016 to its current status at 35%. It’s followed by Pinterest (29%), Snapchat (27%), LinkedIn (25%), Twitter (24%), and WhatsApp (22%).

Platform Demographics

The Pew survey’s Appendix A (shown below) provides a detailed demographic breakout of current social media use in the U.S., notably:

  • 94% of YouTube users are age 18-24
  • The highest contingent of U.S. WhatsApp users – at 49% – are Hispanic Americans. As the study reveals, “The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States – 49% of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users…”
  • Despite the perception that younger Americans are leaving Facebook, this study shows that its use is at 81% with 18-to-29-year-olds, 78% with 30-to-49-year-olds, and 65% with 50-to-64-year-olds.

Chart courtesy of Pew Internet

 

Kicking the Habit?

While most Americans regularly use up to three social media sites, visiting their preferred channel at least daily, 59% of respondents claimed it would not be difficult to give up social media altogether. Considering that steady use is skewing younger, it’s more likely social media and its applications will continue to adapt and evolve.

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