Social Media growth

New Pew report looks at social media demographics among Americans

A new Pew report is out; the report takes a look at social media use in America.  It’s findings, as always, help to illuminate the state of social media.

I would highly recommend that you check out the entire report, but from my perspective at least, here are the major findings and insights:

  • Messaging Apps are growingwith 36% of all smartphone users using such an app, and 17% using an app which automatically deletes a message.  Users of these apps tend to be younger than 29, college educated and live in an urban area.
  • Facebook growth has slowed, but that’s largely a result of it having less room to grow.  Pinterest and Instagram continue to grow at high rates; Twitter’s growth has completely plateaued, and LinkedIn has actually shrunk….?
  • In terms of demographics of specific platforms:
    • Facebook is more popular among women than men.  Users are also young and have high levels of income.
    • Pinterest has the highest gender disparity of all networks (44% of women vs. 16% of men).  It’s users are young, less wealthy than Facebook and more suburban/rural than urban.
    • Instagram is the most popular network for racial minorities.  It’s users are overwhelmingly young.
    • LinkedIn has a strikingly even gender ratio, older users, and the most educated and wealthiest user base.
    • Twitter users are relatively even across important demographic variables, except for geographic location, which skew urban.
  • In terms of frequency of use, Facebook does the best, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

What does this say about the current state of social media?  A few things:

  • Messaging apps are here to stay and should be used accordingly.
  • Serious demographic disparities exist between all platforms, and your social media use should be tailored accordingly.
  • Facebook is still the undisputed king.

Tweets and Consequences

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Social Media Logo Collage

Facebook is old, Snapchat is YOUNG, and other age observations from a new study

A fascinating new study from Business Insider compares and contrasts the age ranges of users on nine of the biggest social media networks:

Social Networks By Age

For starters, wow, I love the format of this graph, I really do.  It let’s you perfectly compare the ages among these networks.

The most striking and obvious observation is to contrast the top and the bottom networks: Facebook and Snapchat.  Facebook has one of the oldest networks, and the highest percentage of +65 users – which, of course, makes sense in a variety of ways.  The primary reason that seniors use Facebook is in order to keep up with their friends and family, which are slightly different reasons than younger individuals use the network.  Facebook is certainly the best network for that purpose, so it makes sense that seniors would flock there.

On the other end of the spectrum is how young users are for Tumblr, Vine, and particularly Snapchat.  Snapchat absolutely blows away all other networks in terms of the youth of their overall population. However, that should not be confused with the incorrect notion of younger users having completely left Facebook.  Much has been made of the fact that Facebook is losing younger users, but the network is also much larger than any other – roughly 1.4 billion monthly active users and 890 million daily ones. Compare this to Snapchat, which currently has about 100 million monthly active users.  To that end, though the numbers are going the wrong way, young people are still on Facebook, and there are far more users there than anywhere else.  Don’t look to far into the fact that Facebook is losing younger users – it still has a huge lead.  For now.

Any other interesting observations that you’d like to share with us?  Please give all of us your thoughts in the comments!

Twitter Logo

Twitter unveils new audience insight tool, gives impressive range of data about your followers

Wowzers.  Twitter has unveiled a brand new tool that you can take advantage of to better understand your followers: it’s called Audience Insights, and it can be accessed by visiting the Twitter Analytics page, then going to “Followers.”

The data now available about those who follow you is incredibly impressive.  It includes:

  • Interests
  • Occupation
  • Consumer buying tastes
  • Wireless carrier
  • Gender
  • Household Income
  • Net Worth
  • Marital status
  • Education level
  • Home types and value
  • Location
  • Lifestyle information: Where they donate money to and what TV they like
  • Consumer behavior
  • Phone type

Umm…wow.  This information is impressive, but having a slew of information available to you isn’t going to do you any good unless you know how to use it.  So, how can you take advantage of this information?  Here are some basic questions to ask yourself:

Does your audience look like what you want it to?

If you are using Twitter for a specific reason (promote your career, sell a products, etc), then you probably have a rough idea (or, hopefully, a very specific idea) of what your followers should look like.  For example, as a politician, I want my audience to be my constituents, and the initial read looks good: 70% of my followers are from my home state of Pennsylvania.  The same principles apply to other demographics: If you are trying to sell a product, you want the demographics of your followers to line up with the buyers of your products.  If they don’t, you’re doing something wrong.

Looking for comparisons?

This tool allows you to compare your followers with other Twitter accounts, Twitter users in general and your “organic audience” – meaning the people who tend to see your tweets the most. This is one of the best functions of this account.  For example, I can compare my account to the accounts of similarly situated House members.  If I see someone with a better audience with me, I can examine that account and it’s content in more depth to determine what they are doing right.

Do you use Twitter ads? If so, try to contain your joy

As Twitter notes in its blog entry on the subject, you can use this data to better segment and target ads.  Really, it’s a wealth of data.  It’s also a good way for Twitter to compete with Facebook, who had previously had this type of information and targeting available.

Any other thoughts on how this incredible amount of data can be used? Let us know in the comments!

Social media demographics: Who uses what in 2014

I was just working on a report for a client and came up with some information that I thought was worth sharing.  Everyone who deals with social media, of course, has a limited budget in terms of money and time.  If you are going to use social media, you need to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck and not using networks that aren’t going to serve your purposes.  To that end, here’s a quick snapshot at some of the demographic information for social media networks.  I hope this information is useful to you!

  • Facebook
    • 900,000,000 unique monthly visitors, with about 150,000 million American accounts (that’s 40% of America).
    • Skews female.  Penetration among age groups declines as users get older, but 60% of 50-64 year olds who are online have a Facebook account, as do 45% of online Americans who are +65.
    • Engagement is declining among younger Americans, but given raw numbers, this is still a huge presence on Facebook.
  • YouTube
    • One billion people watch videos on YouTube every day.
    • Most popular age demographic is 18-29.  No gender difference.
    • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 40% of the use on this network comes from a mobile device.
  • Twitter
    • Roughly 40 million Americans use Twitter.
    • Majority of users are 49 or younger, but the fastest growing Demographic is 55-64.
    • Has higher penetration among African-Americans than whites.
    • More males use Twitter than females.
  • Tumblr
    • Over 200,000,000 Tumblr blogs exist, and there are more than 110 million daily posts.
    • 66% of users are under 35, and 39% of users are under 25.
    • Only 35% of Tumblr users make more than $50,000.
    • High minority penetration rate; Hispanics and African-Americans make up 29% of Tumblr blogs.
  • Instagram
    • Roughly 35 million Americans have Instagram accounts.
    • 28% of users are 18-24.
    • More urban users are on Instagram than people who live in rural or suburban locations.
  • Vine
    • 11% of all millennials have vine on their smartphones, and 9% of Americans have accessed Vine.
    • Over 1 billion loops are watched every day.
    • 5 vines are tweeted every second.

Enjoy the blog?  Then make sure to buy the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avert a Career-Ending Mistake is now available for purchase on your Kindle!

Demographic targeting and social media

If you are an elected official that is just using Facebook as your sole social media outreach, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it may be all that you have time for or the only place that you feel technologically comfortable.  If this is a conscious decision, and you feel that you have no alternative, no problem.  Having a presence on one platform alone isn’t the end of the world.

But you can do better.  And you should.

A quick look at some demographic facts about the various social media platforms out there:

What’s the point of all this?  Go back, for a moment, to the basic premise of this blog: I believe that elected officials have a moral obligation to use social media, because an informed citizenry is required for an informed democracy.  If you accept that this premise is true, then it requires that you use whatever social networks are most appropriate to your constituents.  My constituency, for example, is a very slim plurality Hispanic, followed by whites, followed by African-Americans.  This would, it seems, validate my office’s strategy of heavily using Twitter in addition to Facebook.  For a district that was largely white and older, a Facebook-heavy approach would be a better way to spend limited time and resources.

A one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work for social media usage.  You have to go where the people are, and go where your district is.  If you are going to use social media, make sure that you take the time to develop a Social Media plan that determines who you are targeting and how you can reach them.