The Demographics of Social Media

 

Finding the data that represents the average social platform user demographic breakdown is not a perfect answer, but it provides something of a basic approximate snapshot of how each platform's demographics skew.

 

Considering All the Variables to Gather Insights

In any type of research or data collection, you must identify the variables used to understand what it is that you are examining. This helps you come to more meaningful conclusions gathered from the insights. One such variable is the demographic data that will be used.

 

Demographic Categories

There are many types of demographic data to consider including the following, though not all may apply for your purposes:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Political Affiliation or Values
  • Interests (harder to measure in a general sense with raw data; often too many variables)
  • Locations - Country, City, State/Province, County/Parish, District, Region, etc.
  • Income Level

 

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That’s just getting started. We have now identified some of the possible variables for demographic factors. The next step is identifying each of the social networks that you or your organization is concerned with.

 

Social media consists of hundreds of websites and applications that exist on the world wide web. These include any site or app that connects users to one another to share content. These are communities that exist virtually while connecting individuals around the globe. That content can be displayed in a feed of status updates, a forum thread or a series consisting of relevant or “related content”. Much of this is generated by algorithms provided by social media platforms. 

 

Social Media Platform Categories

There are several types of categories here to consider too:

  • General Social Media
  • Photo and Image Sharing
  • Video Sharing
  • Career Social Media
  • Niche Interests Social Media
  • Help and Support Communities
  • Content Aggregators
  • Messaging Apps

 

You can now see there is a complicated soup with many possibilities to consider. This is why it is important to narrow your target sights and focus only on the data that tells you a story (for example, teen trending content related to Taylor Swift tells us X, Y, and Z about social media platform based on A, B, and C demographic data). Remember, these insights and conclusions are always best guesses for the most part.

 

Breaking Down the Demographics by Platform

We now have a picture of the categories these variables represent for both demographics and platform. Now, let’s identify the major social media sites and applications that fall under these categories. Then we can identify which data is most important to understand or which platforms to be concerned with.

 

In this post, our data will be limited to identifying the specific platform and the percentage breakdown of that platform by demographic.  We will focus on the most used or widely known in our analysis for a more broad outlook on the data. 

 

However, if your product lives and dies within a specific niche demographic, it may be valuable for your company to branch out into smaller platforms - especially if there is significant overlap between the demographics of that platform where your demand is coming from.

 

"If your product lives and dies within a specific niche demographic,  it may be valuable for your company to branch out into smaller platforms -  especially if there is significant overlap between the demographics of  that platform and where the demand for your product is coming from."  Click to Tweet

 

General Social Media

This includes the most popular social media platforms around the world with hundreds of millions or billions of users. They can upload all types of content including text for status updates/notes, photos/images, video, etc. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

 

Photo and Image Sharing

This category includes Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr.

 

Video Sharing (and Streaming)

This category includes YouTube, Periscope and Vimeo.

 

Career Social Media

This category includes LinkedIn, Opportunity and Alignable.

 

Niche Interest Media

This category includes special interests and there are too many to list. A few of them include FoodNiche.me, BlackPlanet and Meetup. These are not major like the others in this list.

 

Help and Support Communities

This category includes a variety of forums and online communities for professionals and enthusiasts of graphic design, computer technology, writing and more. Some popular communities include StackOverflow, Drupal.org and WordPress.org.

 

Content Aggregators

This list includes content from sites and apps like Vine, BuzzFeed, StumbleUpon and Reddit.

 

Messaging Apps

This list probably includes some of the most popular platforms with a variety of users. Popular platforms include Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp and Marco Polo.

 

The Numbers: Social Media Platform Use Demographic Data

There is a story in these numbers if you look at them generally but remember that nuance is everything. The Pew Research Center did the work of compiling this very data. The charts are available at MarketingCharts.com copyrighted in 2018. It measures the following major social media platforms and measured their use by demographic groups:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp

 

Below are the raw numbers:

YouTube

  • 75 percent men
  • 72 percent women
  • 71 percent White
  • 76 percent Black
  • 78 percent Hispanic
  • 94 percent 18-24
  • 88 percent 25-29
  • 85 percent 30-49
  • 68 percent 50-64
  • 40 percent 65+
  • 68 percent <$30k
  • 78 percent $30-50K
  • 77 percent $50K-75K
  • 84 percent $75K+
  • 65 percent high school or less
  • 74 percent some college
  • 85 percent College+
  • 80 percent Urban
  • 74 percent Suburban
  • 59 percent Rural

Facebook

  • 62 percent men
  • 74 percent women
  • 67 percent White
  • 70 percent Black
  • 73 percent Hispanic
  • 80 percent 18-24
  • 82 percent 25-29
  • 78 percent 30-49
  • 65 percent 50-64
  • 41 percent 65+
  • 66 percent <$30k
  • 74 percent $30-50K
  • 70 percent $50K-75K
  • 75 percent $75K+
  • 60 percent high school or less
  • 71 percent some college
  • 77 percent College+
  • 75 percent Urban
  • 67 percent Suburban
  • 58 percent Rural

 

Instagram

  • 30 percent men
  • 39 percent women
  • 32 percent White
  • 43 percent Black
  • 38 percent Hispanic
  • 71 percent 18-24
  • 82 percent 25-29
  • 54 percent 30-49
  • 40 percent 50-64
  • 21 percent 65+
  • 10 percent <$30k
  • 30 percent $30-50K
  • 42 percent $50K-75K
  • 32 percent $75K+
  • 42 percent high school or less
  • 29 percent some college
  • 36 percent College+
  • 42 percent Urban
  • 34 percent Suburban
  • 25 percent Rural

 

Pinterest

  • 16 percent men
  • 41 percent women
  • 32 percent White
  • 23 percent Black
  • 23 percent Hispanic
  • 31 percent 18-24
  • 39 percent 25-29
  • 34 percent 30-49
  • 26 percent 50-64
  • 15 percent 65+
  • 20 percent <$30k
  • 32 percent $30-50K
  • 34 percent $50K-75K
  • 39 percent $75K+
  • 18 percent high school or less
  • 32 percent some college
  • 40 percent College+
  • 29 percent Urban
  • 31 percent Suburban
  • 28 percent Rural

 

Snapchat

  • 23 percent men
  • 31 percent women
  • 24 percent White
  • 36 percent Black
  • 31 percent Hispanic
  • 78 percent 18-24
  • 54 percent 25-29
  • 26 percent 30-49
  • 10 percent 50-64
  • 3 percent 65+
  • 23 percent <$30k
  • 33 percent $30-50K
  • 26 percent $50K-75K
  • 30 percent $75K+
  • 24 percent high school or less
  • 31 percent some college
  • 26 percent College+
  • 32 percent Urban
  • 26 percent Suburban
  • 18 percent Rural

LinkedIn

  • 25 percent men
  • 25 percent women
  • 26 percent White
  • 28 percent Black
  • 13 percent Hispanic
  • 25 percent 18-24
  • 34 percent 25-29
  • 33 percent 30-49
  • 24 percent 50-64
  • 9 percent 65+
  • 13 percent <$30k
  • 20 percent $30-50K
  • 24 percent $50K-75K
  • 45 percent $75K+
  • 9 percent high school or less
  • 22 percent some college
  • 50 percent College+
  • 30 percent Urban
  • 27 percent Suburban
  • 13 percent Rural

Twitter

  • 23 percent men
  • 24 percent women
  • 24 percent White
  • 26 percent Black
  • 20 percent Hispanic
  • 45 percent 18-24
  • 33 percent 25-29
  • 27 percent 30-49
  • 19 percent 50-64
  • 8 percent 65+
  • 20 percent <$30k
  • 21 percent $30-50K
  • 26 percent $50K-75K
  • 32 percent $75K+
  • 18 percent high school or less
  • 25 percent some college
  • 32 percent College+
  • 29 percent Urban
  • 23 percent Suburban
  • 17 percent Rural

WhatsApp

  • 20 percent men
  • 24 percent women
  • 14 percent White
  • 21 percent Black
  • 49 percent Hispanic
  • 25 percent 18-24
  • 31 percent 25-29
  • 32 percent 30-49
  • 17 percent 50-64
  • 6 percent 65+
  • 20 percent <$30k
  • 19 percent $30-50K
  • 21 percent $50K-75K
  • 25 percent $75K+
  • 20 percent high school or less
  • 18 percent some college
  • 29 percent College+
  • 28 percent Urban
  • 19 percent Suburban
  • 9 percent Rural

 

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