As originally published on Forbes.com.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 social media fact sheet, around 70% of Americans use some form of social media. With that many users, it can be overwhelming to understand which demographics use which platforms. Knowing who they are and where they’re spending time online is essential to any social campaign; your brand needs to be where your customers are since many of them are visiting those sites at least once per day.
When it comes to Twitter, U.S. adults who have some college education, as well as those with higher incomes, use the platform most, according to a 2018 social media use survey by Pew. Furthermore, 40% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 use Twitter. Broken down by race, 26% of those who identify as black, 24% of whites and 20% of Hispanics use it. Men and women use Twitter almost equally, with just a small percentage of women using it more. It should be no surprise that Twitter has turned into a news sourcefor most of its users, which may be why nearly half of them log in at least once per day.
Facebook is still one of the most preferred platforms for most adults in the United States. However, according to Pew’s 2018 social media use survey, 18- to 29-year-olds use it the most, followed by 30- to 49-year-olds. Unlike with Twitter, adults of all income levels, from under $30,000 to more than $75,000, tend to use Facebook. Over 65% of U.S. adults in each financial bracket use the platform. Looking at race, 73% of Hispanics use Facebook, followed by 70% of blacks and 67% of whites.
Instagram announced in the spring that it had reached 1 billion active users. However, as a marketer, knowing who those 1 billion users are is pretty significant. According to Pew’s 2018 social media use survey, Instagram is most popular with women: 39% of women use the photo-sharing platform, while 30% of men use it. The majority (64%) of U.S. adults ages 18-29 use Instagram, while 40% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 21% of 50- to 64-year-olds use it. Adults who are fairly educated tend to use Instagram more — 36% of those with some college education and 42% of those with college degrees use it. However, 29% of those with a high school degree or less do too. Much like Facebook, the income levels of adults who use Instagram are pretty even across the board, from under $30,000 to over $75,000. In terms of race, Hispanics and blacks use Instagram more, but whites aren’t far behind.
On Pinterest, you’ll find a much higher number of women compared to men, according to Pew’s 2018 social media use survey. Those who have at least some college education are also more likely to use the platform. A large number (34%) of 18- to 49-year-olds use Pinterest, though 26% of those 50-64 do too. Regarding race, 32% of whites use it, while 23% of both blacks and Hispanics do. Income varies among adults who use Pinterest, though 39% of those with incomes higher than $75,000 use the platform.
More adults use YouTube than Facebook, according to Pew’s 2018 social media use survey. The majority of nearly every age group uses YouTube: 91% percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 85% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 68% of 50- to 64-year-olds use the site. Even 40% of those older than 65 use it. When it comes to gender, race, household income and education level, none of these demographics is a major factor in determining who uses the site. It seems that almost everyone, no matter who they are, uses the video platform.
So why is all of this important? Outside of understanding your brand and your target audience, regardless of your business size, companies must know where their audience is spending time online and then establish a presence there. Pushing a hair gel designed for men might not make sense on Pinterest, since men don’t frequent this platform as much, but creating a YouTube channel with videos designed to reach core viewers, along with a pre- or mid-roll ad, could be more effective.
Keep in mind that most social media platforms have a level of user fluidity that marketers need to stay abreast of to ensure that brand efforts continue to reach their ideal consumer audiences. So while a platform’s users may be one demographic now, it could start to shift in the future, and with that shift, a brand’s campaigns and usage should shift as well.