The Pew Research Center has released the results of a comprehensive social media survey, conducted over several years to evaluate which demographics were using social media, and on which platforms. Which social networking sites emerged on top?
Of the online adults surveyed at the end of 2012:
- 67% use Facebook
- 20% use LinkedIn
- 16% use Twitter
- 15% use Pinterest
- 13% use Instagram
- 6% use Tumblr
It appears that women use social media 9% more than men do, at a whopping rate of 71%. Other frontrunners with the highest social network activity in their demographic include city dwellers (70%), Hispanics (72%) and adults with a household income below $30,000 annually (72%).
The most pervasive and consistent divider amongst social media users remains, unsurprisingly, their age. 83% of the young adult demographic (18-29 year olds) use social media, which is well over double the activity of online adults over 65 years old (32%).
When it comes to age, social media usage has regularly been divided on a sliding scale, with consistently less social networking activity as age increases. This has been the case since the survey began back in 2005. However, there have been several interesting age changes to note…
- Although 18-29 year olds have always maintained the highest percentage of social media usage, their activity dropped for the first recorded time in December 2012, from 92% to 83%, bringing them lower than their numbers over two years prior.
- The only age range that increased its social networking usage in December 2012 was 30-49 year olds, who increased from 73% to 77% of users.
Aside from obvious division of age, there are still certain social media sites that attract specific demographics much more heavily than others. You may be able to better target your specific markets by keeping the demographic tendencies of each platform in mind:
- Pinterest: Significantly more rural residents, women, Caucasians, people with some level of college education and individuals with a middle to higher income
- Twitter: Significantly more slanted towards the 18-29 demographic, African-Americans and urban residents
- Instagram: Greater use amongst African-Americans and Hispanics, urban users, 18-29 year olds, and women
- Facebook: There’s less demographic distinction on Facebook, since it’s already so ubiquitous. However, there are 10% more women than men, and like most networking sites, it is heavily used by the youngest adult age group.