Facebook Inc. (FB) Continues To Be The Most Popular Site But Youngsters Prefer Instagram, Says Pew Research [STUDY]

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) continues to be the most popular social networking site with online American adults, in spite of its growth having stagnated over the last year. 71 percent of the adult internet users in the US use this platform actively to stay connected to friends, family, neighbours, ex-classmates and colleagues. The younger online adults however find the other network owned by the Facebook group- Instagram more enticing, as revealed by the Social Media Update Report 2014. The report was prepared by Pew, a US based global think tank, together with Omnibus after telephonic interviews with 2,003 American adults.

Key Facebook Findings Pew Social Media Site Usage Report 2014


The key findings of this report about the most popular networking site are:

  • Facebook continues to be the most popular networking site and to grow as well, though the rate, at which it is now growing has now slowed down: Nearly 71% of the adult online surfers in the United States were found to using the networking site- the same as August 2013. Nearly 56% of the internet users above the age of 65 were Facebook users too. Now, that does sound like a warning bell for the site which has been the darling of internet surfers across the world for quite some time now, because almost every other network worth the mention has registered a growth during this period. The most noticeable being the picture sharing platform Instagram, which grew by 9 percentage points.
  • At the same time, while the engagement of Facebook users was seen to grow, other platforms did not show huge changes- either positive or negative. 70 percent of the site users engage over their most preferred platform every day, with at least 45 percent of them doing so several times a day.
  • As compared to 2013 when 42 percent of the internet users were seen to use two or more social networking sites, 52percent of the online American adults are now doing that. At the same time, only 28 percent Internet users are now using ONLY one site (i.e. Facebook) as compared to 36 percent last year.
  • For the 52 percent online adults who are multiple site users, Facebook is the ‘home base’.
  • In keeping with the previous trends, women outnumbered men on this most popular network.
  • The average number of Facebook friends was found to be 155. Out of these, 50 were actually friends.

Besides that, the following facts were discovered about the Facebook friends of the site users:


Pew social media report 2014 facebook

  • 93% site users said they were friends with family members other than parents and children.
  • 91% said their Facebook friends were their current friends.
  • 87% said the site had helped them get connected to friends from the past like high school friends or ex-colleagues.
  • 58% said they were connected to existing colleagues.
  • 45 % were friends with parents.
  • 43% were friends with their children.
  • 39% said they were friends with people whom they had never met in real life.
  • 36% said they were friends with their neighbours.

Key Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn Findings Pew Social Media Site Usage Report 2014

Here is the gist of findings for the other leading social media sites:


Pew social media report 2014 twitter

23 percent of the online American adults now use this microblogging site, which is an increase over the 18 percent who did so in 2013. A greater percentage of Twitter users are below the age of 50 and college educated. It was also found to more popular among men than among women.


Pew social media report 2014 instagram

As compared to 17 percent online adults using Instagram in 2013, 26 percent of them are now using this platform. It was found to be hugely popular among younger audiences, with more than half of them being active users. 78 percent of the Instagram users are less than 50 years of age and 53 percent of them are aged 18-29.


Pew social media report 2014 pinterest

This pinning site, which is a huge hit with hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts has some 28 percent of online adults hooked on to it, up from 21percent in 2013. This is one site where women were found to outnumber men by huge margins- their audience consisting of 42 percent online adult women and 13percent online adult men. Their user base got strengthened over younger as well as older audiences during the last year.


Pew social media report 2014 LinkedIn

28 percent online adult users are now LinkedIn users, an increase over the 22 percent figure in 2013. Age and gender did not make much of a difference here, nor does the ethnicity. What is noteworthy is that the site users are highly educated college goers or those in the high-income bracket.


Frequency of Social Media Site Use

Facebook and Instagram have the most highly engaged audiences.


Facebook users not only read the content- 65 percent of them like, share and comment on it as well. The level of engagement on Twitter has fallen as compared to 2013 with only 36 percent of the site users checking their accounts daily.

49 percent of the Instagram users visit the site daily, with 32percent checking on it several times during the course of a day. 17 percent Pinterest users and 13 percent LinkedIn users were found to be visiting the site at least once daily.

Multiple Site Usage

More than half (52 percent) of the internet using adults today use more than one networking sites.

Pew social media report 2014 multiple site usage

“The proportion of Facebook users who also use another platform increased significantly since August 2013 for each platform. That is, there are more Facebook users this year who also use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn than there were last year. Similarly, there are more LinkedIn users who use Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest than there were in 2013. Finally, there are more Pinterest users on Instagram and LinkedIn than in 2013. These increases likely reflect the overall trend toward multiple-site use described above.

Turning to sites other than Facebook, a significant level of overlap exists between Instagram and Twitter users—58% of Twitter users also use Instagram, and 52% of Instagram users also use Twitter. Among non-Facebook sites, this is the highest rate of “reciprocity” between user groups measured,” points out the Pew report.

What Does The Pew Social Media Site Report 2104 Hold For Marketers And Advertisers?

Now, that is a mind-bogglingly huge data thrown at you all at once! What do these figures mean for advertisers, marketers and brand owners looking to scale up their online presence by being active over the networking sites?

  1.  Since Facebook continues to be the most used network in spite of being written off n number of times by analysts and critics, this is one network you cannot afford to ignore while defining your social media strategy. Particularly if you want to reach out to an older audience. The youngsters having taken to the comparatively new Instagram, that would be the best platform to reach out to a cross-section of youngsters over the United States.
  2. As the organic reach of Facebook pages has come down to a fraction of what it used to be due to new algorithms rolled out by the site, that should not be taken to imply that the site is not worth your investment. This only underlines the importance of focusing on WHAT content is being shared by you over the pages you have built up after years of hard work. Content which gets viral, which gets liked and shared and over which users leave behind their comments has a greater chance of appearing on their NewsFeed.
  3. While the organic reach of Facebook pages is surely down, the paid reach is up. With a little bit of investment and a smart team consisting of experts who can help position your Facebook ads, you can not only make your audience bigger but also get huge involvement over your pages.
  4. Videos being the rage, THAT is where you need to put your money on. And NO- by video, we do not mean YouTube. You do not need to set up a YouTube channel or upload your videos on YouTube anymore. Simply upload your videos to this cool site and see the level of engagement zoom.
  5. Building up local fan pages in addition to global pages on Facebook could get you a high level of engagement.
  6. If you want to reach out to younger audiences (who are the most active buyers as well), turn your eyes to Instagram. Facebook is for ‘oldies’, putting it bluntly. If you are selling hearing aids or walking sticks or maybe offering knee replacement, building up a Facebook presence might help you. But if you are thinking out of reaching young users, Instagram it is. If your audience consists of high earning professionals or college educated users, LinkedIn would be a good choice too. And if you want to reach out to women, it has to be Pinterest.



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