Who’s Using Which Social Networks?

December 30, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Digital | Hispanic | Men | Social Media | Women | Youth & Gen X

YouGov-US-SocNet-Adoption-by-Gender-Dec2014Only 15% of US adults say they are not a member of any social networks, finds YouGov in a newly-released survey, with this figure higher among men (18%) than women (12%). Consistent with most research on the topic, women lead men in stated adoption of most social networks, with LinkedIn and Google+ the exceptions among the larger platforms.

The data comes from a screening question in a survey about how social media users react to certain types of posts (such as racist, political, and sexist ones). The survey was fielded online from December 19-22, 2014 among 2,341 adults (18+), with the figures weighted to be representative of all US adults.

The results show that, as expected, Facebook is still by far the largest social network, with three-quarters of adults (80% of women, 70% of men) reporting being members. The second-tier, by penetration, consists of Twitter (31%), Google+ (29%) and LinkedIn (28%). While men and women reported roughly equal use of Twitter, men were slightly ahead in Google+ use (31% vs. 28%), with the gap larger on LinkedIn (30% vs. 25%).

Rounding out the top 5 is Pinterest, with 18% stated adoption (28% among women; 9% among men), followed by the fast-growing Instagram (13%). While Instagram recently said it passed 300 million monthly active users (which would be more than Twitter’s total), its audience leans more heavily towards teens (excluded from the YouGov survey) and it also has a strong international base (also excluded from the YouGov survey).

On an age basis, the YouGov survey results indicate that:

  • Twitter use is highest among the 18-34 bracket (41%), with the 35-54 (31%) and 55+ (23%) brackets trailing;
  • That disparity is even greater for Instagram, with 27% stated penetration among 18-34-year-olds, versus 12% among the 35-54 group and 4% in the 55+ bracket; and
  • The 55+ group leads in LinkedIn use, though, with 31% reporting being members, compared to 28% of 35-54-year-olds and 23% of 18-34-year-olds.


Finally, when looking at race and ethnicity, the results reveal that:

  • Twitter continues to appeal to Black Americans (42%) more than Whites (29%) and Hispanics (26%);
  • LinkedIn is less popular among Hispanics (18%) than among Whites (28%) and Black Americans (28%);
  • Instagram proves more attractive to Black Americans (19%) and Hispanics (15%) than to Whites (11%); and
  • Google+ similarly sees higher reported penetration among Black Americans (35%) and Hispanics (34%) than among Whites (27%).

[Editor’s Note: For an alternative perspective on the demographics of the 5 largest social networks, see MarketingCharts’ Debrief, US Media Audience Demographics, which uses comScore unique visitor data to show the highest-indexing audiences by age, household income and race/ethnicity. The report also contains data – from Experian Marketing Services – illustrating the audience breakdowns of several other major media channels.]

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