Richard Knowles posted on 19 September 2022
Approximately 90% of Americans use social media as part of their everyday life, from planning their social life, carrying out their job, watching videos, dating, or playing games. And prolific use of social media has provided many people with a platform to make a career out of the channels, such as influencers.
While India (755m) and China (1bn) hold the top two spots in terms of social media audience, the United States lies third, with more than 300 million social media users. But with such a huge number of users, social networks are increasingly open and transparent in how they operate.
Facebook has faced accusations of knowing about the sharing of misinformation through its platform but doing little to tackle it – most notably from Frances Haugen.
This has led to almost six in ten people believing the allegations, with only 17 percent not believing them; a potential big trust problem for one of the most used platforms. Added to this almost 40 percent of Americans thought in 2021 that social media was bad for society, and only 22 percent said it is beneficial.
But what about the generation who have known nothing else other than social media platforms? Well, Gen Z users’ views appear to be clear in their concern about social media, with almost half (45%) admitting they felt significant pressure to be perfect while using social media channels.
A clear sign that the big platforms would be wise to take note of.
However, do the stats reflect that channels need to be worried? Are Gen Z users the biggest users of social media channels?
Well, it would appear that Millennials make up the largest share of the audience on Meta (including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook) platforms, with almost 14 percent of users being Millennial women. And Millennial men accounted for 12 percent, while overall users were split with 55 percent women and 45 percent men.
As for why people use social media platforms in America, well following friends and family accounted for more than 50 percent of people, with almost 30 percent saying they followed musicians.
Since the inception of social media channels, the nature of them and how they are used have changed; primarily to align themselves with users’ needs.
Recently video and image content platforms have dominated, although Twitter still has a niche that no other platform is seemingly able to beat.
TikTok is currently the most popular platform through app downloads, with 94 million in 2021, with Instagram second at 64 million.
And this shows in the figures for users of the two platforms, as among Gen Z users in America 63 percent used TikTok making it the most used app in this age group in 2021.
But only two years previously, in 2019, it was Instagram that held the top spot, clearly showing that TikTok’s appeal through fast-paced content is most appealing to the younger social media users.
Despite the appeal of TikTok and its increasing popularity, most observers still think the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat will be competitors for some time yet.
Video and image-based platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat are used by almost 60 percent of American social media users, which is still almost ten percent behind one of the original platforms, Facebook.
But what about awareness of social media brands in America? Well, unsurprisingly YouTube and Facebook are known by 94 percent of those living in the United States.
Facebook continues to be the most popular platform when it comes to allegiance and popularity, with 75 percent of American social media users saying they used Facebook. And the platform continually attracts new users.
As well as its popularity among the younger generation, 88 percent of users in the US are aware of the channel.
What these statistics do show overall though, is that social media platforms offer a wide range of audiences and types of platforms to suit almost all businesses and customers.
This means if you need to reach a certain demographic as a business, you can be specific about where your audience ‘lives’ and spend marketing budgets wisely.