Much has been made about the impending demise of Facebook, most especially when considering the platform's waning popularity among teenage users.
The stats related to the network's slowing user growth has contributed to this narrative - although when you look at the number of actual adult internet users using Facebook, it's not dire at all. In fact, it's impressive when considering that the nearest competitor isn't even at half the share.
Here's the latest US user data from Pew Research Center:
With those total percentages, it's clear that Facebook has likely maxed out on its share with the American adult population. However, competing networks are growing in popularity at varying rates, with both Pinterest and Instagram jumping an impressive 13% over the past two years.
This latest Pew report is based on the 81% of Americans that use the internet, and was conducted in September 2014 in English and Spanish via landline and cell phone. The sampling error is +/- 2.5%.
Facebook reigns as engagement king
Despite the lack of growth in users, the latest Pew data from shows that the dominant social network is engaging users more then ever - and that's despite leveling user growth that includes 71% of all adult internet users - or 58% of the entire adult population.
This means that the company is excelling at taking it's existing user base - already the largest of any social network - and engaging it more deeply. By focusing on design, both on desktop and increasingly on the successful mobile experience, the company has maintained its grip on the social media landscape.
Overall social media engagement looks like this:
Social networks are actually more popular overall this year
- Facebook: An impressive 70% engage with the site daily, with 45% engaging several times a day. That's up from 63% daily engaged users last year.
- Instagram: 49% of the platform's users engage daily.
- Pinterest: only 17% of users visit the site daily.
- Twitter: 36% of users visit daily - however this is a mammoth 10% drop from 46% in 2013. A serious sign of concern here!
- LinkedIn: the number of daily users was steady at 13%, yet more users are logging on a weekly basis - so more users visiting less often.
While the death knell for Facebook is sometimes expanded to a wholesale "social media is dead" drumbeat, the statistics in this cohort do not support that. These surveyed consumers are using more social networks than they were last year.
From the report overview:
Fully 52% of online adults use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from the 42% who did so in 2013. At the same time, significantly fewer adults use just one site — 28% compared with 36% last year.
As in 2013, Facebook remains the most popular site among those who use only one — fully 79% of those who use just one site report using Facebook.
As in years past, a significant majority of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn users say they also use Facebook, more than any other site. At the same time, the proportion of Facebook users who also use another site is on the rise — that is, there are more Facebook users this year who also use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn than there were in 2013.
Other key findings
Here's a brief on other important characteristics of the 2014 social landscape:
- Women are still dominating Pinterest - the network is used by 42% of online women.
- Seniors are now mostly on Facebook - for the first time ever, 56% of adults over 65 are on the platform. This is likely due to a natural aging of the user base, in addition to more tech-savvy seniors.
- Instagram is more popular than ever with young people - 53% of internet adults between 18 and 29 use the platform.
- LinkedIn is most educated, with more than 50% of users having a college education - a first.
For ease of consumption, here's a comprehensive overview of the different social media network's demographic groups - a revealing comparison for travel marketers seeking to refine and improve the efficacy of social media marketing efforts. From age to race to education to income, each social network has its own unique user profile.
The full report can be viewed here.
NB: iPhone social media image courtesy Shutterstock.