Social Media Update: You Won't Believe What Happens Next

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Social Media Update: You Won't Believe What Happens Next

Zone Leader, John Vester, reviews the results of the Social Media Update for 2016 (Pew Research Center) and provides insight into how the results can be leveraged.

· Web Dev Zone ·
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Earlier this week, the Pew Research Center released their Social Media Update for 2016. While the title of this article is a play on so many posts I see on Facebook (to draw the end-user to click their story), the reality of the 2016 report probably isn't all that unbelievable to most adults.

Facebook Crushes Competition

The team at the Pew Research Center demonstrates that Facebook's share of the (United States only) adult social media usage has continued to grow over the past four years - from ~65% (2012) to ~79% (2106) of online adults who use social media.

For the 2016 report, the remaining four social media services ranked as follows:

  • Instagram - 32%
  • Pinterest - 31%
  • LinkedIn - 29%
  • Twitter - 24%

The research also included some interesting facts:

  • A majority of those surveyed indicated they count on social media as their primary news source
  • One half going as far as saying they learned about the US Presidential election via social media
  • 76% of Facebook users are viewing the leading social media application on a daily basis

Missing Market Segment

I am not sure if it is for legal reasons, but missing from the research is analysis for those under 18 years of age. My son is 17 years old and I certainly don't believe the results for adult social media users are the same for his demographic. After all, Snapchat didn't even make the list and the majority of his friends are either a) not on Facebook anymore or b) never created an account in the first place. Perhaps, because it wasn't cool if their parents/guardians use the same social network.

What Does This Mean?

The report indicates the frequency of usage is primarily daily for all five social media services discussed. What this means is that most are accessing their preferred social media application every day ... probably even several times a day. Those who base their income or growth from an adult user-base should consider funneling some advertising dollars into social media networks. After all, it appears that social media has taken the place of the printed newspaper from the mid-1990s and earlier.

Recently, I noticed a heavier frequency of sponsored advertisements during my own usage of Facebook. This appears to be based upon my browsing history. Two examples come to mind. First, we were talking about the Blue Apron service (which provides fresh ingredients and instructions for home-cooked meals) and I began to look at their web-site. Secondly, I am a fan of Quest Nutrition bars and viewed their web-site in order to place an order for their (very yummy) protein-based Peanut Butter cups.

In both cases, I am now seeing sponsored ads in my Facebook feed promoting Blue Apron (with a significant discount on my first order) and Quest Nutrition (indicating it is probably time to place a new order). Clearly, Facebook and these partners are trying to benefit from my usage pattern of the popular social network.


While I would have guessed Facebook would remain the leading social media service for adults, I would have not guessed the dominance over the other major social media offerings. It will be interesting how these metrics change as the youth of today reach adulthood. It will also be interesting to see how the internet community utilizes and leverages this information.

Have a really great day!

social media ,facebook ,instagram ,pinterest ,linkedin ,twitter ,web dev

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