Understand the Biggest Social Media Platforms, Who’s Using Them, and How

Digital
Marketing
December 1, 2022

In the last decade, social media usage and diversity of posting has expanded to unprecedented levels. Evolving from a tool to stay in touch with others, social media has become a hub for showcasing our best moments, chasing after the perfect content to go viral, and curating personal and corporate brands. Audiences overlap across platforms, but each site has carved out its own niche when it comes to predominant user base and content. This means effective modern marketing requires a versatile digital persona. Let’s break down some of the biggest social media platforms and find out who’s using them, and how. 

Facebook

Despite facing backlash in recent years over data breaches and the spread of hate speech, Facebook retains its title as the leading social network. As of 2022, Facebook is the most popular social media platform worldwide with over 2.89 billion active users per month. About 260 million of those users are in North America—nearly double the amount they accounted for in 2010. 

Facebook’s interface allows users to share mixed media content; status updates, photos, links, and videos are all compatible. Users can also join groups to interact exclusively with others who share their specific interests, and the platform is also commonly used as a main news source. A large portion of the main feed is dedicated to ad space, which makes up the bulk of the company’s revenue. 

Leading Demographics and Statistics 

  • Most common users: men between the ages of 25 and 34. This group makes up a fifth of Facebook’s user base. 
  • India has the most users by country, followed by the U.S. 
  • 69% of Americans over 18 use Facebook
  • Male and female users aged 35–44 prefer Facebook over other social media platforms. 
  • Leading publisher: dailywire.com

Youtube

Youtube has grown to be the largest online video website worldwide. They have amassed a catalog from both professional and amateur video creators alike that is constantly growing, showcasing categories of music, television and news clips, sports, games, and educational videos, to name a few. 

Much of the website’s use is generated from redirects through other platforms. In 2021, links shared on Facebook accounted for around 40 million monthly visits on average. Even social media users who don’t regularly seek out or spend time on Youtube are likely to find themselves engaging with the platform at some point. The vast amount of global traffic makes Youtube a prime platform for advertising, and 62% of marketers have stated they expect to increase their use of the site over the next few years. 

Leading Demographics and Statistics 

  • 2.1 billion users worldwide 
  • 21% of the global audience is aged 25–34
  • 53.9% of users are male
  • 77% of internet users in the U.S. ages 15–25 use Youtube 
  • Over 694 hours of content were streamed every minute in August of 2020

Instagram

Instagram is all about visuals. The app is used to edit and share photos to your followers, as well as photo or video Stories that can be highlighted on a user’s profile. Content posted to Stories is viewable for 24 hours before disappearing. Created to compete with Snapchat’s format, it quickly became one of the app’s most popular features. The aesthetic-driven content has made Instagram a go-to platform for celebrities, influencers, and brand marketing. 

Instagram currently retains over 160 million active users in the U.S. alone, with high levels of engagement. Allowing users to share content across multiple sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr cements Instagram as a central tool when curating an online presence. 

Leading Demographics and Statistics

  • 1.28 billion users worldwide
  • Roughly 60% of the user base falls between the ages of 18 and 34
  • Over 55% of U.S. based users are female
  • Estimated ad revenue for 2021: $25 billion

Tiktok

Tiktok is an international version of a China-based app named Douyin that rose dramatically in popularity in 2018 after merging with Musical.ly. The app gained 740 million new users in 2021, even after being banned in India during the previous year. While Facebook took nearly 9 years to reach 1 billion monthly active users, Tiktok hit the same milestone in just under 5 years. 

The short-form video content lends to audiences’ shortening attention spans as well as the emphasis on mobile compatibility over desktop usage—both of which are reflective of major changes in social media over the last 10 years. Tiktok holds most of its popularity with younger users; the most popular content creators are generally Millennials and Gen Z. When looking at what’s going to grow and hold popularity for marketing over the coming years, Tiktok is a major source for trend forecasting. 

Leading Demographics and Statistics

  • Largest audience globally: 131 million users in the U.S.
  • 52.8% of global creators are aged 18–24
  • 57% of global users are female
  • Gen Z users spend an average of 10 hours per week on the app

Twitter

Twitter went public in 2013 and continues to have steady user growth even in the face of a net loss of $221 million in 2021. The platform allows creators to post 280-character tweets to the feeds of their followers and suggested users. Content on twitter ranges from entertainment and pop culture, with many celebrities interacting with fans similarly as on Instagram, to news and political discourse. Twitter is the social media site users are most likely to use as a news source, with more than half of its users in 2021 regularly accessing their news through the platform.   

Leading Demographics and Statistics 

  • Most popular in the 25–34 age group 
  • 56.4% of global users are male
  • 217 million daily active users
  • $5.07 billion in global revenue in 2021

LinkedIn

One of the more specified social media platforms, LinkedIn is catered to businesses and networking. The platform allows both companies and employees to create online portfolios and resumes to showcase their careers and recruit candidates, as well as share posts to bolster their professional connections. 

Even with a more niche content focus, LinkedIn is one of the most popular social networks worldwide. It is one of the most widely used recruiting tools and a profitable online advertising platform. 

Leading Demographics and Statistics 

  • 60% of all users are between the ages of 25 and 34 
  • The U.S. has the largest audience at over 58 million users in the country
  • Over 57% of global users are male 
  • $2.62 billion in advertising revenue during 2021

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