Internet Users Stay Social on Two or More Social Networks

Internet Users Stay Social on Two or More Social Networks

By Sujata Ramnarayan, Ph.D.

I said earlier on in 2012 in my book, that different social networks are not being used the same way or by the same people to the same extent. There are stark demographic and behavioral differences among users of the different social networking sites.  Despite the remarkably enviable amount of time spent on Facebook, there are differences in the profiles and behaviors of users of these sites with direct implications for marketers.

The latest study conducted by the Pew Research Center sheds light on which of the social networks continues to find favor among the audience and which ones are gaining more traction lately.  Although Facebook continues to maintain its significant lead over other social networks in its penetration and comfort level among users, it appears that people in general are gravitating toward other social networks as well. The top ones continue to be LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest after Facebook. Each of these networks has seen growth in the last year when compared year to year, except Facebook which has stayed the same while clearly staying a leader (although, Instagram – owned by Facebook- has seen the most significant growth from 2013-2014 among the other networks)


Note: Data includes only U.S. adult internet users

Fifty-two percent of U.S. adults interviewed by the Pew Research Center mention using two or more social networks. The fact that the demographics are predominantly different amongst some of these networks (LinkedIn users who are graduates, younger age group on Instagram, and a greater percentage of women on Pinterest) indicates that these demographic makeups have not changed much since 2012. These networks continue to attract different types of users with some overlap. It is possible that people are slowly getting more comfortable with the concept of social networks and are beginning to open up to more than Facebook as their comfort level rises.

The frequency of use of social networks other than Facebook still lags way behind with 70% of Facebook users using it daily compared to significantly less for other social networks (See Figure below).

Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, all three saw latest increase in growth across different types of users. LinkedIn continued to penetrate a college educated audience.

The latest trends are good and bad for marketers. The good news is that potential customers are showing more interest in using social media in general. However, the frequency of use varies amongst them, making Facebook an important component of your strategy given the level of penetration. For B-to-B segment (and for B-to-C segment), Twitter will continue to be important even despite a relatively lower level of daily active use.  Just as customers are gravitating toward two or more social networks, so should marketers.

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