Social Media Demographics: Who’s Actually Using Each Platform
October 11, 2016
October 11, 2016
What if we told you Snapchat isn’t just for “the youngins,” and Pinterest isn’t just for women? Would you believe us or give us the typical, ”Uh huh…suuuuuure!”
In the marketing world, businesses choose which social media platforms to advertise on based on the audience each one attracts. Snapchat? Perfect for high schoolers. Facebook? Everyone’s on Facebook! But when you take a closer look at the numbers, the social media demographics aren’t so clear-cut. In fact, each platform is more diverse than most marketers realize.
So today, we’re talking perception vs. reality: who most people think is on each platform compared to who’s actually using it. Are you advertising on the right one? Let’s find out…
Reality: Probably you… and your parents
Everyone knows that Facebook is the mainstay of social media marketing. It’s certainly the largest, if nothing else. Plus, it has set itself apart as an advertising platform by offering a diverse collection of Facebook ad types to choose from.
But what many people don’t realize is that Facebook isn’t as popular for all ages as it may seem. In fact, the user base is becoming increasingly older.
It makes sense when you think about it. Facebook was originally created for college students. When they opened up the network to everyone, high schoolers and young adults became early adopters.
But then, something happened that was surely unnerving for the younger folk: Parents started creating accounts. Moms found it was an easy way to connect with their kids and friends. Grandma and grandpa wanted to join in too, since they knew it was the most reliable way to get up-to-date photos of the grandkids.
High school students originally flocked to Facebook to see what their friends were up to, but when their families started seeing everything they posted, they began losing interest. As a result, we’re seeing lower adoption rates among people under 20.
Facebook is currently the go-to social media marketing tool for many brands, regardless of their audience. However, this may change if the platform continues losing ground with the younger generation.
Perception: Does anyone know?
Reality: Your news-hungry coworkers and shopper friends
When Twitter comes up in conversation, a lot of people are quick to say, “I still don’t get it.”
Who can blame them? Random bits of information compiled into a never-ending feed isn’t for everyone. But there are two groups who adore it: people who love following the news, and people who love to shop.
Keeping up with the news is a common use for Twitter, but many business owners are surprised at how much shopping happens on the platform. In fact, Business2Community reports that the average Twitter user follows at least five accounts managed by brands. This is radically different from Facebook, which is more popular for keeping up with friends and family.
People on Twitter often follow their favorite celebrities, brands, and personalities. And here’s the kicker: According to Hootsuite, 60% of Twitter users report buying something they saw in their Twitter feed. This makes the platform a strong pick for brands that want to expand their reach and pull people into their sales and marketing funnel.
Perception: All your female friends
Reality: A few of your male friends, too
Statistically, most of the women in your life are probably on Pinterest. But did you know a bunch of your male buddies are probably using it too?
With its feminine branding and overabundance of outfits and recipes, Pinterest seems to lean heavily female. And it’s true—about 71% of Pinterest users are women. However, 29% are men: almost 1/3 of the user base!
That means marketing on Pinterest could be a solid choice for businesses looking to reach all genders. Companies who offer consumer-oriented products and information find the most success with this platform.
Pinners are notorious shoppers too, with roughly 93% of pinners reporting that they’ve shopped online in the past six months. So whether you’re a female clothing company or a brand geared toward men, Pinterest is a strong option to consider for many B2C brands.
This platform is one of the few whose demographics haven’t changed much since it began. Over half of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and it’s pretty evenly split between genders.
Instagram is a highly visual platform, making it ideal for brands in industries with visually appealing products, such as fashion, food, and home design. But this shouldn’t stop companies that are in less visually-oriented industries from exploring Instagram.
If millennials are your target, try different types of images, rather than just photos of your product or service. Photos of happy customers or lifestyle images that present your brand’s personality are often just as effective.
Perception: Your niece in high school
Reality: Your niece’s older friends too, plus lots of brands
Snapchat is the sleeper that unexpectedly rose to popularity. Designed to send photos that delete themselves after a few seconds, Snapchat has grown into a trendy tool for both individuals and businesses.
In the early days, Snapchat was a hit among high school students. And don’t get us wrong—that’s still a huge part of their user demographic. But today, users are getting older. It’s grown increasingly popular among people in their late teens and early 20s, and now, more than 50% of new users are over 25.
Using Snapchat for business is very different from other social media channels. It’s incredibly casual and unpolished, which can be a challenge for businesses that are used to feeling like they need to appear professional at all times. But the app is growing by leaps and bounds. They even renamed themselves as “Snap, Inc.” and released a line of sunglasses that record video from the wearer’s vantage point.
With advancements like these, it’s clear that SnapChat is just getting started. If you’re considering trying Snapchat for your brand, check out Hootsuite’s “Snapchat for Business” marketing guide.
Perception: Ambitious businessmen
Reality: Businesswomen and job seekers as well
Back in 2009, LinkedIn was made up primarily of older businessmen. The average user was 45-54 years old, male, and made over $150,000.
Today, LinkedIn’s users rank heavily in the 25-34 age category. And while the user base is still heavily male, there are far more women than before.
This shift had a lot to do with LinkedIn’s purpose. It’s no longer just a way for business colleagues to stay in touch. Instead, it’s considered a standard tool for professionals who want to stay on top of their personal brand and career. Each user’s profile is an enhanced resume, so LinkedIn is ideal for people who are starting their career or looking to make a job change.
Unfortunately for B2C advertisers, LinkedIn is… less than ideal. It’s great for B2B companies targeting professionals, but it’s not a top pick if you want to reach consumers.
Not sure which social media platform has the right demographics for your business? We can help you choose the one that’ll be most effective. Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll take an in-depth look at your current PPC campaigns and let you know which platforms we recommend using based on your audience.
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