Pew Research has released a new report summarizing social media usage and found, of the 68 percent of Americans using Facebook, 74 percent check the site daily and 51 percent say are on the platform several times a day.
Conducted over the phone during a three-day period early in January, Pew polled 2,002 US adults age 18 and over about their social media use on the following eight platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp.
For the most part, Facebook usage has not changed dramatically since the research firm’s April 2016 report. Facebook is still the most popular traditional social media platform for all the respondents.
YouTube is also attracting a large segment of users, even though Pew admits it’s not necessarily considered a traditional social media site. In fact, it had higher user numbers than Facebook, with 73 percent of all respondents saying they use YouTube (The report did not have numbers for previous YouTube usage as this was the first year it was included in the survey questions, along with Snapchat and WhatsApp).
Social media usage growth by platform
Pew’s data showed the typical — or median — adult reports using three of the eight social sites included in the survey. Same as Facebook’s numbers, most of the usage for these sites has remained relatively unchanged since the firm’s 2016 report.
The biggest jump Pew saw in usage was on Instagram, with 35 percent of respondents now using the site compared to the 28 percent who reported using it two years ago.
Social media use among younger crowds
When looking at usage numbers by age group, Pew Research reports 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are using some form of social media. The report broke down the social media usage for this age group into categories: 18- to 24-year-olds and 24- to 29-year-olds. Here is what they found:
Social Media Usage Among 18- to 24-Year-Olds
- 80 percent are on Facebook
- 78 percent are on Snapchat
- 71 percent are on Instagram
- 45 percent are on Twitter
- 94 percent use YouTube
This age group represents the largest share of Snapchat users of the various age groups. Among the 78 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds using Snapchat, 82 percent say they open the app daily, and 71 percent say they use it multiple times per day.
Instagram is getting slightly less use by this group. Of the 71 percent on Instagram, 81 percent say they visit the site daily and just over half (55 percent) are going several times a day.
Social Media Usage Among 25- to 29-Year-Olds
- 80~ percent are on Facebook
- 54 percent are on Snapchat
- 54 percent are on Instagram
- 30~ percent are on Twitter
- 80~ percent use YouTube
This slightly older age group of 25- to 29-year-olds have similar usage patterns for Facebook and YouTube when compared to the 18- to 24-year old crowd.
The numbers differ more widely between the two age groups when looking at Snapchat and Instagram, with this older age group of 25- to 29-year-olds less likely to use either of the two platforms.
Where ‘the Olds’ go on social
Per the report, 84 percent of the 30- to 49-year-old age group is visiting YouTube, and 80 percent are on Facebook.
Social media usage numbers for the 30- to 49-year-old age group drops significantly for Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter — with 40 percent of this population active on Instagram, and less than 30 percent on Snapchat or Twitter.
For the 50+ age group, usage numbers are even lower across the board: 56 percent on YouTube and 55 percent on Facebook. These numbers take a nosedive from there, with 16 percent on Instagram, 14 percent on Twitter and only seven percent on Snapchat.
We can stop whenever we want
According to Pew’s research, 59 percent of all the social media users surveyed said they thought it would not be hard to give up social media (with nearly half of the 59 percent claiming it would not be hard “at all”).
Percentage who say it would not be hard to give up social media by age group:
- 49 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds
- 60 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds
- 56 percent of 30- to 49-olds
- 66 percent of the 50+ age group
The only age group where the majority (51 percent) said they would find it difficult to stop using social sites was the 18- to 24-year-olds.
With so many people admitting they check their preferred social media sites daily, the responses given for how easy it would be to quit feels doubtful at best — especially when considering the percentage of users who admit to going to social media sites several times a day: 51 percent of Facebook users, 49 percent of Snapchat users, and 38 percent of Instagram users.